GLOSS Volume 2, Issue 7 - 2018 - Page 41

If the UAE knows how to do one thing, it is how to break world records. Tallest building in the world? Check. Largest mall? Check. Largest flower arrangement? Odd, but check! And recently added under its ever-growing list of world records is the longest and highest zip line in the world, aptly positioned over the tallest mountain in the UAE, Jebel Jais in Ras Al Khaimah (RAK). Officially (and legally) pushing people off its cliff edge since January, the line is operated by adventure sports operator Toroverde who coincidentally also handles the previous record-holder, the Monster in Puerto Rico. Although the RAK line, Jebel Jais Flight, does not hold such a fear-inducing name, it still sends a jolt of excitement considering it dethroned such a thing called the Monster. Boasting a length of just under 2.83km, the Jebel Jais Flight stands at a height of 1,680m above sea level (think a 326-storey building). The 'flight' time is estimated to be around three to five minutes and 'pilots' can travel from anywhere between 100 - 150kmph. I had two weeks to mentally prepare for my 'flight' and did my due diligent research before embarking on what could possibly be my last act on Earth. Spoiler: I survived. Considering this was also my first- time zip lining, I was understandably a little wary but the thoughts were soon pushed aside as I realised what a unique experience this would be. The day finally came and I headed out on a three-hour drive from my home city of Al Ain to the set meeting point located 15km up Jebel Jais. You are expected to arrive an hour ahead of your flight time to go through the motions of checking in which includes signing a waiver and leaving the details of an emergency contact (ironically, in my case, my emergency contact had no idea where I was so that would have been an awkward call), followed by a shuttle service up to the Welcome Centre. The Welcome Centre is where you will be first weighed - you must be between 45 and 130kg and over 1.22m in height - before being fitted into the gear you will need which includes a helmet, a harness and a funky hammock-like body harness folded into a backpack. Any items you have with you can be left in the lockers upstairs at the Centre but you can also ask for your phone or camera or any small carryables to be slipped into the backpack. It is worth mentioning that you can also rent a GoPro at the Centre for around Dh130, to be attached to the top of the helmet, but you can also bring your own to strap on, at your own risk. After being suited and booted, it is time for another shuttle, this time up to the launching platform. The drive up gets the adrenaline pumping as you sit unbelted in a van, slowly gaining incline on a rocky road not marred by any barriers. Once on the platform though, you receive a quick and simple safety briefing and then it is time to take the leap. You have the option of riding solo or having a buddy ride alongside as a second line runs parallel to the first. In either case, you will be first fitted into your hammock before stepping on to the edge where you get into a plank position. Your legs are lifted and strapped and then, you hang. Jebel Jais spans seemingly endlessly in front of you as you teeter literally on the edge. It is almost as if the instructor wants you to appreciate the view before he pushes you off the cliff.