I’ve jumped out of a plane from 13,000 feet. I’ve ridden 400-foot-tall roller coasters that top speeds of 100 mph, and I once found myself using my fingernails to clutch the side of a rock face way too steep to climb without gear.
Heights have never fazed me. Until the Skyslide, a terrifying glass tube on the outside of the U.S. Bank Tower in downtown Los Angeles. It’s open to the public Saturday, and journalists were given an early chance to try it out.
Perched 1,000 feet above the ground on the side of the tallest skyscraper west of the Mississippi, the 360-degree glass slide is utterly terrifying. It’s is nearly a straight shot down, except for a small turn at the beginning that causes riders to bump against the side of the glass, much to their horror.
I tried not to pay attention to the screams from other people riding the slide as I waited in what seemed like an interminable line. I tried not to think about the fact that just 1¼ inches separated me from a 1,000-foot drop.
My heart thumped as I approached the top of the slide. I could see the streets below me and the infinite city straight ahead.
As I hooked each foot into a little mat that helps riders pick up speed and avoid skidding on the glass, I felt my hands trembling. And when I scooched slowly toward the point of no return, I thought strongly about turning around.
I forged on, unable to contain a terrified squeal as I flew down. “Oh my God, Richard!” I yelled to my friend, an AP photographer at the bottom of the slide.
All I wanted was to see him again.
I shot out of the bottom and am proud to say I stuck the landing. Others have tumbled nearly head over heels.
Was it one of the scariest things I’ve ever done? Absolutely.
Would I do it again? I just did.