Repelling down 120-foot shear cliffs became one of the main activities we managed to do on Saturdays. One special Saturday we were training new recruits in the repelling events. The training cliff was only 60 feet high and not a steep as the other cliffs. The process consisted of many previous weeks of knots, safety instruction and discipline procedures for the recruits. So today, the recruits were on the rope. We had a partner system with the rope rigged so the lead Ranger could repel down the cliff beside the new recruit. I was the lead Ranger.
Otis was a pretty good fellow and most of the Rangers liked him. As Otis started over the edge with me he look pretty scared. We just past the point of no return, meaning Otis had to go all the way down when he said, “I have changed my mind, I don’t want to do this.”
Otis decided to stop descending. He froze right there at 50 feet up. Beads of sweat popped out on his face, his grip so tighten on the rope so tight his knuckles were white and fear flushed his face.
That's why I was there, to help Otis. The safety team at the bottom locked down the rope so Otis could not fall. Otis was safe, but still on the cliff refusing to move.
The fear in the heart of Otis defeated the faith he had in his training, the equipment, and in himself.
I stayed there with Otis, cracked a joke and helped him to relax. I corrected his stance a little by getting him to lean back correctly. I talked him into ...
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