Vertigo – MIT’s Adventure Weekend
If you were anywhere on campus during October 23rd, there’s a good chance you caught a glimpse of Red-X’s ‘Vertigo’ – a series of blood-pumping activities to make your weekend a little more interesting. The official socio-adventure club of Manipal conducted its flagship adrenaline fest last week, and in it put up five events that were monitored carefully by experts and diligent organizers. Above everything, ‘Vertigo’ gave students a chance to feel something new – and to be the daredevil on the parapet.
Students volunteered as tribute as they picked up the bow and arrow to prove themselves a worthy ‘Girl on Fire’. ‘Archery’ was held on a lazy Sunday, with the organizers setting up a target in front of the MIT Food Court. The event attracted participants as well as curious onlookers – few from the audience even wanted to indulge themselves in what was proving to be an inspiring contest. Quite a lot of them, however, were discouraged by the registration fee of Rs.60 for members of Red-X and Rs.80 for non-members. It wasn’t a Cheap Thrill for them after all.
All participants were given a bow, arrow, and a protective arm pad – and were allowed six shots at the target. The organizers gave out free cans of Red Bull to the ones who could score 35 points or more. Each participant was taught how to hold the bow & arrow along with the correct posture required to fire the arrow in the right direction. You know, so that no arrow sees itself lodged in the window of a girls’ hostel – familiar turf for the multiple participants with no aim or ability to score, regardless of Red-X’s crash course. When the audience wasn’t busy fearing a swift death at the hands of an archer(?), one of them wryly remarked that perhaps the safest place to stand would be right before the target.
“It is a lot harder than it looks, but I got the hang of it after a few shots. If I go again, I’ll have a much better chance at winning a Red Bull”, said Reuben, a first year student. Clearly, Red-X knows its incentives well.
An activity for daredevils, rappelling is a controlled descent from a great height with the help of a rope. The Innovation Center, a place for soaring startups, had its face occupied by Vertigo’s ‘Wall Rappelling’.
Under the watchful gaze of professionals, the participants were provided with helmets to prevent injury and tried and tested gloves to avoid a throwback to Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol. The rope and the harness underwent a trial run before the participants were allowed on the wall. The safety checks were done by 8:30AM, and the event received a response unseen in morning class.
Once all the safety checks were complete and participants prepped, all that remained was a backward drop from a parapet in the clouds. The tense flop-sweat of the daring few became easier with the descent – aided by cheers from organizers, and the relieving visual of the ground reaching them at a reasonable speed. The abseilers were even advised to let go of the ropes and just hover – to drink in the feeling of near-free suspension. “It was my first time rappelling, and although it was scary, I found it quite exhilarating”, said Arushi, from freshman year.
Around 70 people had registered for this event, almost all of them first timers. Rappelling down the imposing Innovation Centre was a novel rush for many of the adventure enthusiasts who showed up, and is sure to see a bigger flock of students next time.
From a wayward wildling to a determined Mance Rayder, many have looked upon The Wall and dreamt of scaling it. Red-X managed to cater to such ambitions with their event ‘Cliff Hanger’. Of course, this wasn’t a sheer icy wall with an army guarding it.
The members of Red-X set up an inflatable cliff with cubes protruding from the structure to serve as grips. A pink line had been drawn around the cliff, and any person who managed to reach it was rewarded with a can of Red Bull. (We see a trend here.) The rules were such that two people would have to climb from opposing sides of the cliff, and would rely on teamwork to reach the top. Co-ordination was thrown to the winds when some participants climbed higher than their partners – causing the cliff bending over and throw both off balance. This promptly left the crowd in splits.
As the event drew to a close, the organizers let out the air from the cliff and breathed sighs of relief from a job well done. If there was one let-down, it was Red-X missing the opportunity to leave a free-for-all bouncy castle in front of the food court.
On a day when AB5 should have been quiet and peaceful, its lawns were playing host to something truly exciting. A taut cable hung end-to-end across the ground, and participants had to zipline across the building on it. Volunteers worked double-time to ensure a smooth flow of events.
Red-X members Sharanya Reddy and Shourya Agarwal eased the nervous jitters by ensuring, “Red-X has conducted the adventure weekend for people all across MU. Vertigo is one of our most important events and we do expect a good number. All safety equipment will be provided to you. Have faith in our members and the experts present here.” Contestants did show that faith, making Vertigo quite a success.
The participants were given a fresh taste of perspective when they saw AB5 while suspended high – and sometimes even upside-down. When they did make it to the other side, all they could do was thank Red-X for conducting such a hair-raising event in a place where most hair-raising is associated with sessional marks.
Out of the many events in Vertigo, the one that perhaps created the most apprehension and crowd-appeal was ‘Guerilla Walk’. An event that started at 10AM and lasted the entire Sunday, ‘Guerilla Walk’ needed less square footage in AB1, and more guts. It promised to send each participant’s senses into overdrive.
The setup was simple – one rope tied between two adjacent sides of the building, with multiple ropes hanging from above. In addition to that was the harness – a long rope attached to a hook placed above the participants. Despite the fact that all sorts of protective gear was provided, the very thought of walking the tightrope was daunting.
“Guerilla Walk is the most difficult yet most adventurous event of Vertigo and we applaud everyone who wanted the experience. We have professionals who will supervise everything that takes place. Apart from that, we have a lot of RedX members who will be there. There is no need to worry”, assured Shreya Saxena, one of the organisers.
“It was scary! It was exhilarating! This is the first time I got myself involved in adventure sports and it couldn’t have been any better. At times, instead of holding on, I used to let go of the harness just for the adrenaline rush!” blurted out Gayatri Punyamurtula, who genuinely loved the event. If Red-X wanted participants feel the thrill of letting go, needless to say, they were successful.