Published on March 30th, 2015 | by Gavin0
Abseiling the ArcelorMittal Orbit
I try to live my life without regrets and this means I almost always say yes to new experiences. However, my most recent endeavour thoroughly tested my resolve- abseiling from the top of the ArcelorMittal Orbit in the Queen Elizabeth II Olympic Park.
To many, this wouldn’t be a big deal, but I have a crippling fear of heights and in the lead up to the big day I started getting that feeling in the pit of my stomach. The more I read, the deeper that fear grew; 80 metres tall, 2000 tonnes of steel, higher than the Statue of Liberty, and the UK’s highest freefall abseil *gulp*.
I have never been to the Olympic Park and while approaching Stratford City I get a real sense of the scale of the task at hand; in any other circumstance I’d be in awe of the beautiful structure. Up close, it’s clear to see why the Orbit became such an iconic symbol that helped make London 2012 one of the greatest Olympics games of all time and it’s an honour to finally be part of the history. My journey begins with a quick safety brief before getting in a lift up to the Orbit’s viewing platform, where the public are enjoying the view from inside (aka the smart ones).
I go out onto the ledge and my vertigo sets in; my heart is pumping, I can feel my back getting wet with perspiration, and my breathing is short and purposeful. I want to jump through the window and back to safety, but I’m a stubborn so and so and refuse to let fear get the best of me. There are two people in front of me but their descent seems to over in a matter of seconds and I’m ushered forward to begin my epic journey.
Now’s the point where I’d normally describe my experience, but there are no words in the English language to accurately depict my terror, so luckily I had a GoPro on my helmet and I’ve edited the footage to show the highlights. Warning, there is some ‘colourful’ use of language:
Once on the ground, the adrenalin was still pumping and despite my reaction, I felt thoroughly exhilarated and richer for the experience. As far as London experiences go, this has to be up there as one of the most thrilling around. Experienced adrenaline junkies may find it a bit tame, but for everyone else, it has to be on your London ‘to do’ list.
The experience will be open to the public on 17 April, 24 May, 14 June, 18 July and 30 August and groups can book privately on selected dates, subject to availability. The exhilarating experience will cost £85 per person or £130 per person to include a GoPro to record the descent and a t-shirt. Booking in advance required.