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Ropes Course
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A ropes course is a challenging outdoor personal development and team building activity which usually consists of high and/or low elements. Low elements take place on the ground or only a few feet above the ground. High elements are usually constructed in trees or made of utility poles and require a belay for safety.
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**Those interested in participating in a Ropes Course  or related activities should obtain professional instruction from a licensed, reputable source, such as a guide, a school, or service.**


Ropes Courses have been around for quite some time.  It is believed that they date as far back as ancient Greece, where they were used to train soldiers.  Today's Ropes Courses are far more sophisticated  compared to the ones believed to be used by ancient Greeks.

George Herbert, a French Naval Officer, is cited as the originator of the modern Ropes Course.    In the early 1900's, Herbert developed his own method of physical education, apparatus, and principles to train in what he called the “Natural Method,” which included the development of physical, moral, and “virile” qualities in an outdoor environment. Drawing from his naval background, Hebert patterned some of his obstacles on obstacles found on the decks of ships.

Wikipedia has this to say about the modern Ropes Course:

Since the 1980s, ropes course sophistication has evolved considerably. Modern ropes courses incorporate sophisticated belay and safety systems using wire rope, friction devices, and climbing harnesses to manage what before were unmanaged risks. Recent technological advances in pole hardware and climbing equipment along with industry-accepted installation and design practices have greatly reduced the risk to end users and to the natural environment. Modern courses make use of a variety of materials other than trees, including utility poles and steel structures. Today’s courses can be found in a variety of locations, including wooded areas, open fields, or inside heated buildings.

The popularity of Ropes Courses has reached such a state, that there are some 7,500 estimated courses in the USA alone, with nearly 200-400 courses being added each year.

Ropes Courses fall into two basic types, and for the purposes of this Category either will suffice: High Courses, and Low Courses.

High Course can be a pre-fabricated course, built of utility poles, cables, and bolts, that is built by a contractor, or it can be a course that is hand built in a wooded area, where ropes and wire are attached to different trees. Whether constructed by a contractor or personally, to make the course open to the public, strict regulations set in place by the Association for Challenge Course Technologies (ACCT) must be adhered to and the course must be inspected regularly to ensure its safety.

Low Ropes Courses consist of a series of real and imaginary obstacles designed to challenge groups and individuals to work together to accomplish a task.

Ropes course programs can be designed to meet a number of educational, developmental, and recreational goals. High ropes course and climbing programs generally focus on personal achievements and ask participants to confront their personal fears and anxieties. Challenges may be physical and/or emotional.

For the purposes of this Category, we are only interested in Ropes Courses that can be legally accessed.  Examples of a Course that would be considered accessible:

California State University Monterey Bay Rope Course

Mount Hermon Retreat

For the most part, Ropes Courses at Summer Camps or similar facilities are not accessible to anyone but the camp participants, and will not generally be accepted without some clarification on access to the Course.  An example of a Ropes Course at an inaccessible Summer Camp would be the following:

Camp Kennolyn Ropes Course





Instructions for Posting a Ropes Course Waymark:
Please post as much information about the Ropes Course as possible. There is an optional field to include any website information of the group or agency that is responsible for the Ropes Course.

At least two photos of the Course from different vantage points is required.

Some Ropes Courses are located on Private Property, such as Summer Camps and so forth. Please do not post any Ropes Courses that cannot be legally accessed by the general public. The option to refuse a submission is totally up to the discretion of the Category Officers. When in doubt, include as much information about the access that you can, either as a Note to the Category Officer or in the Description.
Instructions for Visiting a Waymark in this Category:
No specific requirements are needed to post a Visit Log in this Category. Picture are always appreciated however.
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Image for Bays Mountain Park Adventure Course - Kingsport, TNview gallery

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Ropes CourseBays Mountain Park Adventure Course - Kingsport, TN

in Ropes Course

Brand-new ropes course opening at city nature preserve - opened in 2011.

posted by: Groundspeak Premium Member vhasler

location: Tennessee

date approved: 12/8/2010

last visited: never

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