When you get to the top, you rappel down. As climbers, we know this.
But there was a couple hundred feet of difference when “the top” was the Hyatt Regency in San Francisco, and our staff and a member rappelled with Outward Bound for their annual fundraiser that’s sponsored in part by the Planet Granite community.
“It was a pretty big vertical drop, and it was free-hanging which was a little nerve-wracking at first,” said Jesse Schouboe, lead supervisor for PG Belmont. “When I’ve rappelled down vertical spaces before, it’s not one long hanging in space..your feet touch the wall or the rock.”
Outward Bound’s City Skyline Challenge event normally requires participants to raise $1,800, but because Planet Granite donated $20,000 on behalf of our members through our PG Gives Back program, we had four spots to give away! We auctioned off one to psyched members and rewarded three staff with the chance to rappel.
PG member Feifei shared a tweet raising awareness of Outward Bound California’s mission to help youth experience the outdoors, which earned her the invite to join PG staff Jesse, Cam, and Charlie in the rappel.
Outward Bound California’s mission is a worthy one: help underserved students in the Bay Area and throughout California go on outdoors trips that build leadership skills, paving their way to greater confidence, leadership, and an ethic of service.
Over the years we’ve donated more than $80,000 to Outward Bound California, offering support so that low-income students can attend their life-changing programming. We also donate gym time so that rappellers in the annual fundraiser can train for the event, and welcome Outward Bound to bring school groups during rained-out days.
Many of Outward Bound’s instructors are climbers, both indoors and outdoors, and are members of the PG community. We’re thrilled to work with them to share our love of climbing and the outdoors with the kids they serve, who wouldn’t otherwise have a chance to have these experiences.
“After we put our gear on they took us up to the roof. It felt like Oceans 11 or something, walking through the fancy hotel with all the gear,” Jesse said. “We got really excited because it was a beautiful day, we could see the Bay Bridge, the Marin headlands, the land across the bay from Planet Granite.”
“You don’t often get an urban view from high up,” said PG member Feifei, who’s worked with a non-profit with a similar mission of getting kids active outdoors: Girls on the Run.
PG Belmont’s Jesse
“There were two scary parts—the first was leaning out over the edge, trusting and committing to it. The other was, because of the way the rappel system was set up, you could take your hand off the brake,” Jesse said.
The rappelling itself took about 10 minutes and involved yoga poses in midair, selfies, high fives and a cheering crowd below.
“It was cool to see the setup of the rappel,” Jesse said. “It was pretty much the same as what I’m used to, it was just beefier for safety reasons.”
Thanks again to Outward Bound for letting us share in their annual fundraiser! And remember, contributing to Outward Bound California doesn’t necessarily mean opening your wallet! They also need volunteers and donations of outdoor gear to run their valuable programming.
Thanks to you, our members, for your passion for climbing, our community, and the good works we help enable through the PG Gives Back $1/member/month program. Your support is deeply appreciated by Outward Bound, the kids who participate on scholarships, and by PG! Look for ongoing news about the work that PG Gives Back supports, and how you can get involved further.