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2-Day Rope, Rappel, and Climb

Front Sight Course Review

April W. (Taken December 2011)

Editor's Note: This is a review for the 2-Day Rope, Rappel, and Climb Course class offered at Front Sight.
  • 2-Day Rope, Rappel, and Climb

  • Student: April W.
  • Occupation: Scientist/Search and Rescue Candidate
  • Weapon: N/A
  • Ammo Used: N/A
  • Number Course Taken: First time taken
  • Student Rating: 10/10
  • Course: Front Sight Course
What were your reasons for taking this specific course?

I am a search and rescue candidate for San Diego County and the rappelling portionof my training is next month (March 2012). I didn't want to start this portion of the training at the academy totally unprepared. Prior to this class, I had not participated in any rope, rappelling, climbing, knot tying, etc. type activities for approximately 20 years.

What are your general comments regarding this course?

Considering that I had not participated in this type of activity for approximately 20 years, the class was a great review and provided an excellent opportunity to experience new material. For example, I had never been on a zip line like the one in this class. In the class, I was able to practice properly tying knots that I had not tied for years and was also taught a great amount of new material. I now feel very prepared for what I will have to do in the academy.

One of my favorite parts of the class was the scenario that we were swinging in and out of balconies, such as in a city setting, as apposed to just down a slope. I also liked the tower portion of the class. In addition, I liked that there were plenty of instructors. I almost felt that the ratio of instructor to student was 1:1. There was always someone there to make sure that you were safe at all times. I never felt that the instructors were rushing me to do anything until I was mentally and physically prepared. I very much appreciated this, especially considering that in many situations, we are dealing with potential fear of height issues.

The class was also comprised of students with a wide range of experience and abilities. Some students had more professional type experience, while others were there to overcome fear of heights. I also made a lot of friends in this class of 15 – 20 students and was able to collaborate with them as far as tips & techniques.

The only suggestion for improvement that I could make is more climbing. There was a rock wall present that I would have liked to spend some time climbing on; and there was very little time, if any at all, spent in the class on actual ascension-type scenarios. Maybe this material is covered in the 4-Day class, but it was not covered to any great degree in the 2-Day class that I took. After taking this class, I feel like I can descend anything. However, as far as getting back up, I do not feel secure in that area.

Some of the equipment used in the class was of the older variety; but we were also exposed to some equipment of newer varieties. I do wish that we more exposed to some of this newer equipment.

In addition, I would like to add that it would have been extremely helpful, if, like the other classes at Front Sight, they had a manual of the course including pictures of all of the knots and how hardware should be lined. I have bought the books for most of the other classes; but one was not available for this class, and the stuff is easy to forget.

The class met all of my expectations, but I did leave with the desire to learn more and to become more proficient.

Do you have any tips for first-time students of this course?

For new students, I would strongly suggest that they have good gloves. Be certain that these gloves fit very well, because if the fingers are too long they can get caught in the equipment. Also, be prepared to wear layered clothing; because the temperatures can vary widely from morning to late afternoon.

I wore nylon "511" rappelling pants. However, I wish that I had worn tactical pants made of cotton because the nylon pants in combination with the harness gave me "rub-burns" or a rash because I rappelled so much. I actually had to go out and get bandages for my legs because of the rash. Hence, I strongly suggest tactical pants made of 100% cotton to help eliminate this problem.

I also suggest that people wear very padded socks or two pairs of socks, so they won't have foot problems on the gravel surfaces that are prevalent at Front Sight. I also suggest that students bring kneepads; because a portion of the class involves climbing over a concrete wall, which is very hard on your knees.

Would you suggest this course to others?

Yes, I would suggest this course to others.

How did you get there?

I drove from the San Diego area, which took approximately 4-5 hours.

Where did you stay?

I stayed at the Saddle West.

How did you handle the lunch situation?

I packed my lunch each day and took it in an ice chest.

What other classes have you taken at Front Sight?

4-Day Defensive Handgun Course
1-Day 30 State Concealed Weapon Permit Course

What other classes are you planning to take in the future?

4-Day Defensive Handgun Course