Dave Diamond Goes Over The Edge and Drops 12 Stories For a Cause [VIDEO, PHOTOS]
This has to be the craziest, most dangerous, and flat-out scariest thing I think I’ve ever done in my life. Except maybe asking the red haired girl on a date. No, this was scarier. And it kind of snuck up on me.
The whole thing started when Jennica Lambert invited me to go Over The Edge for River Bend Nature Center and rappel down the outside of Big Blue in downtown Wichita Falls. Jennica can be very persuasive when she wants to be and she is incredibly passionate in her support of River Bend, so it was impossible to turn her down. Then the idea of rappelling down a 12-story building started rolling around in my mind and I started getting excited about it. Excited, yes, but a little apprehensive, too.
Then the big day arrived. I showed up and signed all of the waivers, left the contents of my pockets in a zip-lock bag with the volunteers in the lobby of the Big Blue building, and proceeded to climb into my harness.
That’s when it really started to sink in that I was going to step off the roof of a 12-story building and lower myself down on a rope. No safety net. No big inflatable pillow at the bottom to soften the landing. Just me and the rope.
We took the elevator up to the roof of the building and the amazing Over The Edge staff explained everything to us. How we would have not one, but two ropes attached to our harness. The first one was the one that we used to control our descent; the second one was the safety rope to prevent us from descending too quickly.
I was the third person to descend. First up was Scott, a young meteorologist from KFDX, then Mayor Stephen Santellana, then me. From the top I really couldn’t tell how quickly they descended, but I’m pretty sure I set the record for the slowest descent of the entire event.
After connecting both ropes to my harness, Matt, the safety tech from Over The Edge, had me climb over the two pole railing on the scaffolding at the top of Big Blue. Climb over it BACKWARD!
From this point on almost nothing existed beyond about 3 or 4 feet from me. I listened to Matt’s instructions and tried my best to remember them, lowered myself down one rail at a time and there I was … Hanging by a thread from the top of Big Blue, 12 stories above the ground.
It was all downhill from there. Straight down. As I mentioned earlier, I think I set the record for the slowest descent, but I was in no hurry to fall and was making steady progress. I remember seeing myself reflected in the window glass about 10 stories up. I remember seeing where someone had written “Big Blue” on the inside of one of the windows with some sort of white marker. I remember looking out at the rooftops of other buildings around me. I remember wondering how far I had come. I looked up. I looked down. I was only about a third of the way down. Breathe, Dave, Breathe.
Slowly, steadily, completely under control, I continued my descent and eventually made it down to the street façade trim at the top of the first floor, then to the waiting hands of the volunteers at the bottom to help everyone get their feet on the ground and release the ropes from the harnesses.
Kudos to River Bend Nature Center and Over The Edge for organizing this amazing event, kudos to the volunteers and everyone who donated to River Bend to allow all of the other “Edgers” to make their descents on Saturday, and a big thank you to the owners of Big Blue for allowing this event to take place on their building.
Was it scary? You bet it was! Anyone who tells you otherwise is either lying or an adrenaline junkie.
Am I glad I did it? Darn tootin’!
Would I do it again? Heck, yeah!
For a little while, though, I think I’ll keep my feet firmly planted on the ground.
Check out video of my decent above and photos below.