Ziplining has come a long way since its humble beginnings as a means of transportation through mountainous terrain. Dating back hundreds of years, many remote Chinese villages used ziplines to complete their daily errands. Taking the kids to school? Zipline. Need meat from the butcher? Zipline. Even today, there are villages that utilize the rope and pulley system to cross raging rivers and steep rocky topography. Slowly, ziplining has become a booming tourist activity with complex systems spanning entire hillsides, creating an interactive maze of adrenaline-producing rides. However, the uses for ziplines don’t stop there! Today the uses for ziplining are only limited by our imagination. Here are a few examples of our high-flying entertainment being put to use in unexpected ways.
NASA, Boeing, and Ziplines
As humans continue to push the boundaries of exploration, space is the great frontier to focus our pioneering efforts. Of course, space travel can be dangerous even before leaving the relative safety of our planet. To keep our brave explorers safe during one of the most precarious moments, the take-off, NASA and Boeing have turned to—you guessed it—ziplining. It comes with a fancy name, the Starliner Emergency Egress System, but for all intents and purposes it’s a really cool, albeit expensive, zipline.
Attached to the top of the launch site, the system is designed to get astronauts as far away from the rocket as quickly as possible in the event of an emergency. The Emergency Egress System deposits our fearless space travelers roughly 1,300 feet away from the launch site and reaches speeds up to 40 mph! Biologists have famously used ziplines to study the highest treetops in rainforests; it would seem other scientists don’t want to leave all the fun to them!
A Less Sophisticated Means of Transportation
This next example of odd uses for ziplines falls under the header of “Don’t try this at home.” A group of intrepid travelers was faced with a roaring river with no means of crossing the raging white water. Instead of turning tail and looking for another crossing, they decided ziplining was the best means of continuing on their journey. That may not sound all that crazy until you realize the plan included their car! The Russian (of course, they were) travelers suspended their station wagon above the river and proceeded to slide it across.
Clearly, we haven’t seen the limits of ziplining. Whether it’s saving the future Marco Polos of space exploration, or stubbornly suspending your car over a river, ziplining will have even more uses in the future. While we wait for these new and exciting breakthroughs in ziplining operations, be sure to check out ziplining in our Hawaiian paradise. Experience ziplining’s most popular application – pure fun!