Learning the Ropes

Learning the Ropes

The UCF ropes course challenges students to reach new heights.

Located near the Barbara Ying Center, the Challenge Course may look like fun and games, but it serves as a way to determine how people face difficult tasks, communicate in groups and solve problems in real time.



“Out here, people learn that there are different types of leadership skills. Not everyone leads out front, and that’s OK. Some people like to lead by example, others like to lead from behind the group.”
Nathan Vink, outdoor adventure assistant director for the Recreation and Wellness Center

Four people in helmets hold onto ropes as they try to cross wires suspended in the air to complete a high-elements climbing course.

With the high-elements course, which combines climbing and balancing, participants learn to work together and face their fears while developing physical and mental problem-solving skills.


A woman wearing an orange helmet speaks to a small group of people as she provides instructions for completing the high-elements course.

These same skills are honed with the low-elements course — for those wanting a challenge, minus the heights.


An empty rope net stretches to the base of a wooden platform.

The Challenge Course uses the Odyssey III high-elements course, which starts with a climb up a rope net and finishes with a zip line.


A student anxiously waits to start of a section of the high-elements course as a staff member watches while laughing..

About 1,200 students use the Challenge Course each semester.


An entire high-elements course shows the four platforms with various wires and a rope net.

The high-elements course takes an average of 3 hours to complete per group and has a maximum height of 40 feet


A man in a white helmet climbs a rope ladder to the wooden platform while four people watch from the ground.

A student climbs up a rope net onto the first platform of the high-elements course.


Four people wearing helmets try to cross wires suspended in the air.

A group of RWC staff members in training try to complete the high-elements course to test their abilities to work together as a team.


Helmets hang on the side of an empty high-elements climbing course made of ropes, wires, and wooden platforms and support beams.