According to Bridge Day™ rappel coordinator Benjy Simpson, 22 teams will rappel off the Bridge’s catwalk at this year's Bridge Day™
The majority of the rappellers are either cavers, firemen, EMTs, rescue personnel, climbers or rope instructors. This year’s rappellers will hail from West Virginia, Ohio, Tennessee, Georgia, North Carolina, Virginia, Maryland, Alabama, Pennsylvania, Michigan, Kentucky, Indiana and Florida. There are two teams from Canada.
The teams will rappel distances between 700 and 850 feet, depending on their respective anchor spot on the catwalk. The team chosen first, Extreme Rappels, is given the anchor spot farthest from the bridge’s south side and, therefore will have the longest rappel. Members of Extreme Rappels will again be raising and lowering the American and West Virginia flags to open and close Bridge Day™ 2012.
The New River Gorge Bridge is the third-longest single-arch bridge in the world. It is the longest single-arch bridge in the Western Hemisphere. The bridge, 876 feet above the New River, is the third-highest single-arch bridge in the United States; thirtennth in the world. Bridge Day™ is recognized as the state’s largest one-day festival and also one of the top 100 festivals in North America. It has been estimated that Bridge Day™ directly contributes $1 million directly to the local economy of southern West Virginia.
Simpson and his whitewater rafting company, Passages To Adventure, have been coordinating the Bridge Day™ rappel since 1992.
Glen Kuehner will be the safety officer for this year's Bridge Day™ rappel.
The high line will also return to Bridge Day™ this year. Larry Smith and his team of experts will rig the high line.