Suspended between the rock and the precipice, nothing seems to reach us. Except for perhaps unforgettable emotions, the mix of adrenaline, wonder … and anxiety! A good way to look at our concerns from above.
Sitting in the air, on fine carpet mats hanging on a cliff face, how (without irony) do not feel light? The waist and top of the thighs are clasped in a harness from which a rope is tied to the wall. Under the legs, a hundred yards of empty space. Above the head, the sky. In the eyes, stars: the lights of Annecy that awaken sparkle in the lake.
Strangely, in the morning, the mind is quiet. “How can you explain? stammered Yannick, 29, who tried this incongruous experience. This place, this height, this emptiness have become familiar. After about fifteen hours, the body became accustomed. Yesterday, however, no one escaped a surge of adrenaline! Rewind the film. Guillaume Avrisani, a founder of Inax adventure, makes an appointment at 5 pm at the start of a trail. This high mountain guide wishes to convey the unforgettable emotions of a night in porta-ledge, a fabric platform surrounded by a metal frame and held to a wall by straps. Usually, they are the big wall climbers which nomadize on a vertiginous climbing route with this bivouac. “My clients are not experienced. Some are just lovers of walks, “says Guillaume.
Trust is master word
After thirty minutes of walking in the forest arises the top of the cliff. Contortions for putting on the shoulder harness, clicking of the carabiners, tightening of the tying nodes: the tension rises. “Trust the equipment …” repeated Pascale, 39, on the loop. The adventure begins with a forty-meter recall. “I clung to myself by stiffening my arms instead of giving ballast to the rope and letting myself go back,” she says. “Being afraid of the void is normal,” reassures Daniel Mestre, a psychologist who treats acrophobia (fear of heights) at the Virtual Reality Center of the Mediterranean, in Marseille. This reflex of apprehension serves not to put oneself in danger. Guillaume gently brings back those who tremble. Progress step by step. Breathe. Focus on his gestures. And to think that the hyper secured material can withstand two and a half tons.
The fear of the vacuum leaves room for the inner calm
The adventure is not intended for the more phobic, unable to advance on a balcony. The balcony here is a vire about three meters wide by six long. This natural terrace gives the impression of having landed in a reminder on an inaccessible promontory – unless it is a bird! To reach its “nest” hung higher, it is still necessary to hoist with the aid of a rope. “You are not only physically suspended: nothing seems to be able to reach you. Above the mountains, cut off from the hustle and bustle of the city, you forget your worries about “life from below,” the guide describes. And the Savoyard fondue served at dinner is creamy as never before. “The adrenaline discharge makes everything seem more intense. I watched the sunset with child’s eyes. An indescribable happiness, “remembers Luc, 54 years old. This immobilization time allows exploring the surrounding matter: to touch the rock that has stored the heat of the sun, to spot a clump of grass in a crack. Attention is also paid to what could fall, the toothbrush or … self! How can one tame his fear of losing balance by moving during his sleep? “You have to trust your body: it is capable of reacting,” reminds psychologist Daniel Mestre.
Coping with fears like a catharsis
“Facing the void is not a morbid urge. It is a questioning of its certainties and a way of taking back hold of its life, its body, and its environment “, explains the anthropologist Olivier Sirost. Safely ! “The rope,” line of life “hanging on the cliff, symbolizes the umbilical cord. As for the wall, it represents the shelter reduced to its bare minimum and marks a return to an archaic situation inscribed in the collective unconscious, “he adds. Sleeping on a rocky side, as the men of the caverns, indeed, return to a sort of stripping. “Wow, we just hold with that? Exclaimed Yannick, waking up in the middle of the night, disoriented. “It was not until the next morning that I looked at the void,” acknowledges Pascale. Denying reality helped me sleep well. The “bed” for two is incredibly stable and atmosphere, safe. “She felt more at ease during the great rappelling down to the mainland. And proudly above all. “It’s not my element, but I was surprised,” she said. This escape “elsewhere, on another planet”, according to some, definitely offers new perspective.