Upgrades on the Marine Military Academy Rappel Tower
Maj Harold Compton
The Marine Military Academy LEAD Complex saw a flurry of activity as work on the Rappel Tower began shortly after Spring Break began. No sooner had the cadets departed than a team of workers from Seal Construction arrived to replace the west wall of the rappel tower. The planned upgrade of all the walls of the rapel tower began last year with the demolition and replacement of the north wall and continued with the second phase this week. The final two walls are scheduled for replacement over the next two years to complete the project. The Rappel Tower was originally constructed in 1999 and over the last 13 years has seen thousands of cadets and visitors. Unfortunately the weather and continual usage has taken its toll and for safety reasons it became necessary to replace all of the lumber on the exterior. Due to the need to have the rappel tower available for use by cadets and visitors throughout the school year and Summer Camp it was necessary to conduct this upgrade over a number of years.
Changes to Rappel Tower
The new wall will incorporate a change from the previous wall in that the opening at the 20′ level will be closed off to provide additional rock climbing area. This change will provide almost 150 square feet of additional area for the Climbing Team to use and will also provide two additional climbing points for summer camp. In conjunction with this change the Facilities Department has also replaced all of the safety chains on the tower with new, heavier chains for added safety. The wall will finally be painted to match the rest of the rappel tower and all work is expected to be completed prior to the return of cadets. One of the biggest advantages of this upgrade is that it will provide a solid wall against rain and help to preserve that steel structure.
Rock Climbers to work on Rappel Tower
The final step in all the work to be done on the rappel tower will be for the MMA Rock Climbing Team to install all of the climbing holds on the new west wall. Prior to departure of Spring Break the team was advised about the upcoming wall replacement and is anxious to get started on setting new routes for climbing. In addition to the new climbing routes that will be set, the rapel tower will receive a new zipline cable in preparation for Summer Camp 2012. This will complete all the upgrades planned for this year.
To learn about rappelling at the Marine Military Academy read our recent article “Rappel Training“.