Friday, October 4, 2013

Stratos-fear

The view of the Vegas strip from the Stratosphere Tower...
The view of the Vegas strip from the Stratosphere Tower...
I have always had an intense fear of heights in my life, probably related to some negative experiences as a child. Several years ago, however, I decided to face my fears starting with a bungy jump on Vancouver Island. That eventually led to a challenge to myself to jump from the Stratosphere Tower in Las Vegas.

From Arizona, we drove up to Vegas especially to do the jump. Initially the jump attraction was closed due to the storm activity that you can see to the left in the photo above. We went for dinner and by the time we finished, the attraction had re-opened.

Yikes! Now I was committed and there was no turning back.

Nearly 900 feet over the streets of Vegas...
GULP! 880 feet over the streets of Vegas...
The jump is the highest controlled freefall in the world. You step out onto a small platform 880 feet above the streets of Vegas. The view straight down is unnerving. See the small blue square with the white dot in the middle in the photo below? THAT's the target where you land.

Don't look down...
You step off the platform, freefall for a couple of seconds and then fall at 40 mph all the way to the ground, landing about 17 seconds later.

I'm not going to be humble here. This jump took every bit of my willpower to follow through and I did it through a combination of self-talk and meditation techniques. If you watch the video on YouTube, you'll notice that I don't appear overly afraid, but I have the most intense look I've ever seen on myself.

My wife also did the jump. In fact, she jumped before I did. Just as I was about to go, she stepped forward with an almost maniacal gusto. I'm not sure what her motivation was to go first but it seemed important to her so I figured it was best to let her take the lead.

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