I have a newfound respect for the carabiner. Wikipedia gives the definition as: “A carabiner or karabiner is a metal loop with a spring-loaded gate used to quickly and reversibly connect components, most notably in safety-critical systems.”
Early one Saturday morning in October, I was being strapped into a harness that secured my thighs to my lower back. My guide, Mario, who was patient, funny and supportive, gave me and my fellow adventurers a briefing on safety, and then it began. Ten minutes later, I was being attached by the carabiner on my harness to a rope being held securely by the guide at the bottom of the waterfall. I was preparing to descend. Shoes slipping off wet rock, calls out of encouragement, me glancing downward at the pool of water that was my destination, and finally, I felt my waist being held tightly.
Standing in water to my knees and soaking wet, I waited as the carabiner was detached from the rope. I then stumbled out of the small lagoon to join my group. Next, was a short hike to a platform where my carabiner was attached to a metal cord, and I was told to sit back and enjoy the ride.
Beneath me was the flora and creature inhabitants of the Costa Rican rainforest. I ziplined my way to another guide. Again, my waist was grabbed to reinforce the safety of my arrival. In all, I rappelled 4 waterfalls and ziplined 4 canopies. The finale was a 132 foot hanging bridge. It was made of slats of wood, alternating with a perfect view of the forest below, like a piano keyboard.
My carabiner was hooked to the rope that I grasped on my left side. I balanced, breathed, looked down, and suddenly felt someone holding my waist. My carabiner was unlatched.
It was noon. The group headed to a lodge where we cleaned up, ate a wonderful lunch, and watched a slideshow put together by the photographer who followed us on our journey. I bought the CD of my triumphs.
My sincerest thanks to Explornatura in Turrialba , Costa Rica for helping me to understand what can be accomplished with a lot of reassurance, and a carabiner.
By Elizabeth Dickinson
The Costa Rica News (TCRN)
San Jose, Costa Rica