I’ve been working in the outdoors over the summer. I have three different jobs. In my first job I take kids for walks through the forest. They play team games and finish with a 15-20m abseil. We have two spots where we do this. One is in Oberstdorf and the other is in the Starzlachklamm (a little gorge not far from Oberstdorf). The walk is called an Orientierungs Rallye (yes, the y before e does look odd) and the kids navigate with a compass and instruction sheet through the forest. The rallye at the Starzlachklamm also involves a bit of climbing as the track weaves up the hill before descending back through the gorge. This can be quite strenuous for some of the kids. On a particularly hot day one of the girls passed out from the heat. Thankfully once we got back into some shade she came right.
Above left: An “Orienterungs Rallye” in the Starzlachklamm. Above right: A school group after playing team games.
The second job is working on a high-ropes course in Bolsterlang, near Oberstdorf. The groups I’ve had have been mostly school kids. They spend some time about 10m off the ground in a little rope setup where they are self-belayed using two carabiners that they clip into steel ropes above their heads. Then we have two challenges on the ground. One is the “pamper pole”, a pole with metal rungs attached which they climb to the very top and stand on. The other is a giant swing. This is usually the most fun. Here the person in the swing is raised off the ground, high into the air. A little release cord is pulled and the person is in free-fall to a maximum speed of around 70km/h. They swing backwards and forwards in a giant version of the swings built for children in parks.
My third job is at another ropes course built into a forest near Immenstadt, a town near Oberstdorf. The ropes course is really large with around 160 rope elements. I spend my day checking that people are using the park safely and rescuing anybody who has run out of strength or is scared. That’s usually the highlight of the work day as it means I get to use my climbing equipment. We use Grigris, ascenders, carabiners, and figure 8’s to do a rescue. The best part of this job, however, is the way in which we leave at the end of the day. There’s a fixed track that runs down from the rope park to the bottom of the mountain and they run little carriages on the track (a bit like some sort of roller coaster). After a days work I leave the mountain on the roller coaster. I don’t think I’ll ever find a better way to leave work after a long day in the office!
Above: At work in the high-ropes park.
Below: What better way to leave “the office” than on a little roller-coaster. Recently, the four of us finished work together and raced down the mountain. Halfway down we caught up to some slow-pokes and had to wait. The roller-cars have brakes but it’s more enjoyable if you don’t use them.