The last few years have seen a major rise in the popularity of ziplines across the World, but this adventure has roots stretching back hundreds of years.
Called a Flying Fox, a Slide For Life, or a Tyrolean Traverse in certain applications and in certain places, a zipline is basically a rope (more recently a wire rope or cable) stretched horizontally between two points. In order for it to properly function a gradual slope is required since ziplines work using only the power of gravity.
In the 1730's Robert Cadman, an British stuntman, earned the nickname “Icarus of the rope”, when he slid down a rope attached to the top of St. Paul’s Cathedral in London while blowing a trumpet throughout the flight.
Today there are hundreds of commercial zipline operations. Safety is a primary industry focus, and third party safety inspections, as well as solid engineering, are part of many zipline safety programs.
The use of ziplines continues to grow as an adventure activity. However, as always, new uses for ziplines continue to crop up, including as a means of transportation through flooded areas in Pakistan or as a way to evacuate from buildings.