The fad of taking wefies on top of bridges and buildings may be a dangerous one, but the guys at Ropequest do it for a living.
They are the largest group of professionals that provide rope access services in Malaysia for various commercial projects — you might know them as the guys who took an epic wefie from the top of KL Tower:
Now, before you grab your selfie stick and start climbing towers with a bunch of your drunken friends, think twice: you’re probably overweight, and you’re not a professional.
These real-life spidermen spend plenty of hours training in-house before they start getting up on tall buildings. They go through training that equips them with skills such as knotting, basic rope access techniques, and simple rope access protocol.
While I do find their act (the wefie) and their day jobs exciting — exciting because I can’t do it — I was more curious about whether any of the team members are plagued with a fear of heights.
I personally struggle with the fear of heights, and by fear, I mean I cringe every time I look down from my balcony (I live on the third floor). So I decided to ask the Ropequest team about how they deal with their fears.
This is what they had to say:
“Everybody has the fear of heights to some degree. It would go away if you could trust your equipment, the safety systems and the provided training. We are not daredevils, we do our work in the safest manner possible so that everybody gets to go home to their families safely.
If one has acrophobia, I suggest they should first understand the limits of the safety equipment and they need to take things gradually. At the end of the day, it’s all in the mind.”
Most of the time, they tend to favor rock climbers like Rambo — he isn’t really a rock climber, but I’m sure he could climb a couple of rocks — and they also look at professional credentials like IRATA, IRATEC, PJRM or SEACF. That said, none of these criteria promise you a career as an expert rope technician.
The Ropequest team pointed out something that’s very essential when working for Ropequest:
“You could have the tools, the best equipment, the best fitness, the best skills, but above all, you need to have the balls.”
Legend has it that one day, while one of their team members was on a bridge pylon 150m up in the sky, nature called. So he (assuming it was a he) requested a small bottle — he then acrobatically proceeded to put his bladder at ease.
Now, that’s something that takes balls.
So essentially, all that’s needed to be a real-life Spiderman at Ropequest is some sort of experience as a rock climber, a couple of professional certifications, and most importantly, a pair of balls.