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Canopy Colin

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About Canopy Colin

  • Rank
    Cool Cruiser

About Me

  • Location
    Northern California
  • Interests
    Travel, Ecology, Language, Music
  • Favorite Cruise Line(s)
    My favorite cruise line is a small backpack and a wad of cash
  • Favorite Cruise Destination Or Port of Call
    Anywhere where American tourists are the minority
  1. Canopy Colin

    Roatan Zip Line Death (MERGED THREADS)

    When a tragedy like this occures in the tourism industry, it sends a ripple effect through the entire industry. I am a High Ropes Course Director and builder, and was previously working as a Canopy Tour Guide in Puerto Vallarta. I have years of ropes course and climbing experience, a degree in Outdoor Persuits from the leading Adventure Education school in the US, and am a member of the Association for Challenge Course Technology, or ACCT. The ACCT recently (February) brought Canopy Tours into their spectrum of oversight. I'd like to make a few observations, and gather some information in hopes of helping to create a safer atmosphere for Canopy Tours. This said, I'd like to clarify some misunderstandings that may be circulating among people outside of the climbing industry. First off, harnesses rarely fail. In fact, true harness failures are almost unheard of outside of strenuous, controlled tests. A number of years ago, the movie Cliff Hanger brought about huge law suits because of their portrayal of a breaking climbing harness. MOST are designed to break at a minimum of 5,000 lbs. There are, however, cheap knockoffs of anything, including climbing gear. Secondly, cables rarely fail. Most cables in the industry are steel airline cables, rated for a breaking strength of nearly 12000 lbs. If you believe that the combined weights of someone who "lied" about her weight, and a canopy guide weighing at maximum 200 lbs had enough force to break a cable, you may wan't to do a bit more research. Other cables that are used are plastic sheethed "Vectra" rope, with a 30,000 breaking strength. Third, if the cable did break with both of their body's on the line, what happened to the guide? Fourth, canopy tours often use a divice called a "Cola de vaca" or Cows Tail. It is basically an extention of climbing webbing stitched together to create a back-up device designed to hold the participant on the cable or pullies. It is attached between the harness and the pullies/cable with high-strength caribiners. Fifth, in the Challenge Course world, 90% of all accidents happen because of facilitator (guide) error, and most happen to the guides themselves. I'm certain that this is true in the canopy tour world as well. Some suggestions before you go on a Canopy Tour. 1. Always take responsibility for your own safety. If you are touring internationally, especially in developing and underdeveloped nations, be aware that levels of safety may differ significantly than in your own country. 2. Find out if they follow the guidelines of A.C.C.T. , UIAA (United International Alpine Association, and/or the European Standards of Operations. If not, forget it, unless you are an experienced climber, guide, etc. yourself. 3. Investigate, inspect, involve yourself. Look at your gear and your families gear. Are the harnesses freyed and worn looking? Are the stitches coming undone? Are caribiners dented, cracked, rusty? Are the cables/connections rusty? Do things look professional? Are the helmets in relatively good condition? 4. Know your guides. Are they stoned? Do they smell like drugs/alcohol, or are they fatigued from partying all night before? Are they concerned about your safety, or about making tips? 5. Follow their guidelines, and pay attention to the training. They should be clear and deliberate. If you don't understand something, ask until you are clear. Hopefully, these tips and tid-bits can help all of you enjoy a safer experience in the canopy tour world. It's an amazing, thrilling and enlightening experience, but it has inherrant risks. Peace to the family...
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