Frequently Asked Questions about the O.A.C.

What is a ropes course?
Ropes courses are used for activities that challenge individuals and groups physically and mentally in various new and exciting ways. Ropes courses are usually include a low course, where accomplishments are ground based or only a few feet from the ground, and a high course, which is located 20- 30 feet in the air built with cables and held by trees or by utility poles. There are many miss conceptions that ropes courses use only ropes for activities. Ropes courses use ropes for some activities but also include different platforms, logs, cables, walls, and imaginary obstacles to challenge participants. For safety purposes, the high ropes course requires participants to be harnessed and belayed with helmets. Virginia Wesleyan University offers each of these courses in the Outdoor Achievement Center.

What is an Alpine Tower?
Like ropes courses, alpine towers are used to challenge individuals and teams mentally and physically except for the challenges can take place nearly 5 stories high!   Alpine towers are structures made of utility poles with obstacles such as ropes, ropes ladders, swinging logs, and swinging ladders to challenge participants. Objectives of teamwork, cooperation, trust, communication, adventure, and compassion are all highlighted aspects of alpine towers. Alpine towers have many similar aspects to that of the high ropes course, but challenges take place on this unique 50 foot structure!

What types of groups can benefit from the Outdoor Achievement Center?

  • Business/ Corporate Training Programs
  • Retreat and Conference Participants
  • Camps
  • Youth and Adult Recreation Programs
  • Schools
  • Outdoor Adventure Programs


What ages can participate?
The Outdoor Achievement Center can accommodate participants ages 8-80!

How many participants can participate at the same time?
The alpine tower and low ropes course can work with groups up to 12. 3 groups or 36 participants max can participate during a single visit! The high ropes course can have 1 group at a time up to 12 participants. The normal ratio is 12:1, participants to group facilitator.

Is it Safe? What safety precautions are followed?
Ropes courses are extremely safe. Professional facilitators are trained and experienced to ensure that all participants are kept out of harm's way. All parts of the Outdoor Achievement Center are inspected after each use, as well as receive annual inspections by an independent inspector. All participants complete a health history form which is reviewed to assure their safety. Lastly, all staff are certified and receive annual training.

How long do to the experiences last?
Participants can enjoy their time at the high and low courses by scheduling a half day or full day.
A Half Day can last up to 4 hours, and a Full Day can last up to 6-7 hours.

How often are programs offered?
The Outdoor Achievement Center is open year around.

When should I schedule a group for the Outdoor Achievement Center?
A group should be scheduled at least one week before your requested time and date.

What type of clothing should be worn during activities on the ropes course and alpine tower?
Footwear- Closed toed shoes are required for all participants. Shoes should be low heeled and comfortable. Running shoes or sneakers that are able to get wet or dirty are advised.
Clothing- appropriate clothing for activities during your experience should be loose, comfortable, casual, durable, long pants or sweats are preferred. You may wear shorts, but you increase your chances of getting scraped.

Accessories such as; Jewelry, watches, and non-prescription sunglasses: are not allowed on the course so please do not wear or bring these.

Glasses and contact lens wearers: please take any precautions you would normally during participation in outdoor activities. If you wear glasses consider using a restraining strap so they do not fall off.

Tobacco products, gum and candy: are not allowed on the ropes course.

What forms are required in order to participate?
All participants will be required to submit the Medical History and Consent Form.