Habitat Challenge FAQs

On September 8th, 75 brave souls will step over the edge of the Hotel Murano and rappel down the face of the hotel – in the name of affordable housing and in support of Tacoma/Pierce County Habitat for Humanity.

When you take the Habitat Challenge, you make a difference. 


The Habitat Challenge is a thrilling fundraiser for Tacoma/Pierce County Habitat for Humanity in which individuals rappel down the face of the second tallest building in Tacoma in the name of affordable homeownership.


Completely! Our event partners, Over the Edge (OTE), supply the equipment and expertise for the Habitat Challenge; their technical staff are highly trained, certified industrial ropes specialists. Each event site has a comprehensive Site Inspection & Safety Plan prepared by one of OTE’s senior technical staff. This is Habitat’s third year rappelling off the Hotel Murano and the OTE technical staff is very familiar (and comfortable) with the building. Globally, OTE has a history of over 45,000 descents at 267 buildings with no safety incidents.


No rappelling experience is necessary. There is, however, a weight limit. Edgers (participants) must weigh between 100 and 300 pounds in order to safely rappel.


Our partners at Over the Edge have vast experience coordinating successful rappels for individuals with special needs. However, roof egress by wheelchair is not possible at Hotel Murano as participants must be able to go up two flights of stairs and climb a short ladder to get to the rappel site. We are eager to work with you to create a successful and safe experience and appreciate advance notice of any needed accommodation so we can coordinate your rappel with the OTE technicians.


Over the Edge (OTE) uses a unique two-rope system of rigging and harnesses, very similar to that of professional window washers. As an Edger, you will wear a full-body harness and use an industrial descender. Getting your weight off the roof and into the harness is the hardest part for most people. Once you’re over the edge of the roof, you can breathe easy, knowing that the technicians above and below are there to help and can give you directions over the walkie-talkie attached to your harness. Pulling a handle makes you go down; letting go makes you stop. To a certain extent, you can control your speed. Should you go too fast, or should the equipment fail, the back-up device will engage. You can stop to rest, or switch hands, if you need a break. If you find yourself unable to finish your rappel on your own, a technician can lower you to the ground. Once you’re within 20 feet of the ground, an Over the Edge staff member will assist your landing.


A non-refundable $50 registration fee reserves one of the 75 Edger spots for the Habitat Challenge. Your registration fee applies toward the $1,000 fundraising minimum every Edger must reach in order to get harnessed up on event day. While Edgers have until October 31 to submit their donations, everyone with balances below $1,000 will be asked to self-pledge the difference by August 6, 2018 – ensuring that all participating Edgers have (or will) fulfill their $1,000 commitment to Tacoma/Pierce County Habitat for Humanity. All funds received by Tacoma/Pierce County Habitat for Humanity are non-refundable.


Donations for the Habitat Challenge will help Tacoma/Pierce County Habitat for Humanity continue to make affordable homeownership an attainable dream for hardworking families in Pierce County who earn between 30-80% of the area median income. Learn more about Habitat at tpc-habitat.org.


Edgers should allow at least a 90-minute window for their rappel. Check-in times are scheduled every half hour from 8am to 3:30pm, with your actual rappel time occurring within a 30 – 75 minute window following. For example, if your check-in time is 10:30am, you may rappel anytime between 11am and noon. Rappel spots are assigned in the order fundraising is achieved. Once you raise $500, you will have your pick of available rappel spots.


The Habitat Challenge has two ropes – one blue and one orange. The time it takes for someone to rappel varies widely by person and can take up to 15 minutes. While it is possible that you and a friend will be scheduled to rappel at the same time, we cannot guarantee that you will start your rappel together. It all depends on the flow of the day and how actual decent times align with the schedule. While we will do our best to accommodate your request, we will not hold up a rope’s schedule to accommodate side-by-side rappels.


At your check-in time, you will be escorted to the 26th floor of Hotel Murano to the staging area. There, you will get in your harness, gloves and helmet before moving to the training area. You will have the opportunity to test the equipment – to get a feel for hanging in the harness, allow you to find a comfortable position, and practice using the descender.


Wear long pants and a long sleeved shirt; athletic pants, tights, and jeans are suitable. Well-fitting sneakers, light hiking boots, or other closed-toed soft soled shoes are recommended. No sandals, slip-on shoes, slippers, flip flops, high heels, or steel toed boots will be allowed. The harness goes around your legs, waist, and shoulders, so it is best to avoid anything too bulky. Shirts should be comfortable and without draw cords or embellishments that could get caught. Long hair should be tied back. You will be required to leave droppable items like keys and cell phones or jewelry at check-in, either with a friend/family member or with the Edger belonging check in the Landing Zone.


No. All pockets are emptied at check-in and no phones or cameras are allowed on the roof. (The only exception is a helmet-mounted GoPro.) However, there will be a professional photographer on the roof to capture your big moment and the spectacular views and another in the Landing Zone.


We LOVE costumes! However, costumes are subject to safety guidelines limitations. Every attempt will be made to safely fit costumes around harnesses and helmets, but it is ultimately the decision of the Site Safety Supervisor. Stringy, loose, or excessive costumes must be avoided. Head pieces that will not accommodate a helmet, obscure your vision, or are notably large or heavy may not be allowed. If you have a fabulous costume planned, let us know in advance so we can help troubleshoot before the big event.


Absolutely! The Landing Zone is a happening place and we encourage you to invite your friends, family and co-workers to join us. However, only Edgers go to the roof. Once you check in, you’ll say good-bye to your fanbase and go up to the 26th floor on your own. But the Landing Zone has a beer garden and lots of things to keep everyone entertained while they wait for your big moment.


You bet! There will be one professional photographer on the roof and another assigned to the Landing Zone, in addition to volunteer social media ambassadors taking pictures and videos throughout the venue. Following the event (within 5 days), Edgers will have access to the online photo gallery of professional images and will be allowed free downloads for a two week period.


Contact Beth Brooks at Tacoma/Pierce County Habitat for Humanity (bbrooks@tpc-habitat.org or 253-627-5626 x 130) with additional questions.


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