See How Easily You can Conquer Your Fear of Heights

by AbbyFitz

I've always said, "I don't have a fear of heights, I just have a healthy respect of falling." However, one day I overcame that fear on a cruisetour to Alaska.

I like to call myself a closet acrophobic, because not many people know that I really do not care for heights.

I've kept it that way for several reasons. One, well-meaning friends want to help you face your fears. Thank you, but a lecture and a shove just doesn't do it for me.

Two, if certain people (you know some, too) find out you're afraid of something, they'll never let you live it down.

So it was until I took a cruisetour in Alaska a few years ago, and it was there I made up my mind I would conquer my fear.

Planning the Vacation of a Lifetime

I'm a control freak, so I had everything planned months ahead of time.

I started planning my Alaskan vacation a whole year before I was scheduled to go. I meticulously researched every excursion there was on each of my stops, and chose activities that I just could not pass up when I was in Alaska.

I remember thumbing through my cruise book and seeing the tram car suspended in front of a tree-covered mountain.

It Didn't Look That High in Pictures!

Juneau Tram

I'm not sure what drew me to the tram. I looked so peaceful, so pretty, and, well, fun. I decided that I was going to ride the tram when our ship docked at Juneau.

Now, you're probably thinking, why would someone who has a problem with heights even contemplate riding such a thing? Well, I'm not too sure either. Maybe it was the scenery. Maybe it's the fact that I'm from Florida and I didn't have a clue how high real mountains are.

At any rate, I had made up my mind that I was going to ride that tram once I got to Juneau, Alaska.

Everything's Bigger in Alaska

Especially the mountains.

My vacation started in Fairbanks and went southward. I saw breathtaking scenery everywhere, which was nearly all mountains. I happily snapped picture after picture. Naturally, for this Florida girl, my favorites photos were scenes of beautiful mountainous landscape.The Cruise Ship Docks at Juneau, Alaska

It still hadn't sunk in yet that that's what was waiting for me in Juneau.

Early on a Thursday morning, I went up to the ship's restaurant to eat my breakfast. I chose a seat next to a window so I could look outside and see what the city had to offer.

From my view in the ship, Juneau was a pretty place and I liked it immediately. The city seemed crammed in between jagged green peaks. I went back to my room and grabbed my camera so I could take more pictures of mountains.

I couldn't wait to disembark, snap some really good photos, and find the tram station for my cable car ride.

Then, as I was walking along the docks, I saw a tram car go up. And up. And up. I thought, oh, my gosh, what had I been thinking?

Back: I don't have a fear of heights...

Front: I have a healthy fear of falling

Face Your Fears Head On or Never Conquer Them?

Do I go up the mountain, or am I a chicken?
Downtown Juneau, Alaska
Downtown Juneau, Alaska

I had came to Alaska on vacation with a group of friends. Before we left Florida, three others in our group had agreed to ride the tram car with me after I told them how great it would be. There they were, happily running towards the tram station. And there I was. Walking. Very. Slowly.

My mind was spinning wheels as I was walking towards the station. I have to admit, it would have been easy to just say forget it. I don't think anyone in my group would have bothered me about changing my mind.

I had been wanting to ride up that mountain for so long, 1 year and 4,500 miles to be exact. In fact, it's that time and distance that had inspired everything I'd done in Alaska up to that point. My vacation motto had been: "do everything you want to while you're in Alaska, because you may never have the opportunity to visit again."

Man, why had I ever thought this was a good idea?

Making Up Your Mind to Just Do it

After all, it's Alaska. Go big, or go home.

My son is also fearful of heights, and he let me know in a hurry that he wasn't riding in that thing.

I nearly decided to stay on the ground with him, but then I thought, what am I teaching him if I refuse to face my own fears?


Tram Car at Mr. Roberts Tramway. Juneau, Alaska
Tram Car at Mr. Roberts Tramway. June...

Also, my curiosity was piqued. I really wanted to see what was at the top of that mountain.

Would I be 90 years old wishing I had ridden that cable car up Mount Roberts? Who knew? But I didn't want to spend the rest of my life wondering what it would have been like and regretting my decision to stay planted on the ground.

So I took the plunge, bought a ticket, and hopped in the tram car before I could change my mind.

It's Scary and Exhilerating to Face Your Fears

Does it matter I had my eyes shut part of the time?

View of the harbor from Mt. Roberts Tramway Cable CarThe tram car went very nearly straight up out of the station, and there was no time to think. Before I knew it, I was halfway up the mountain. I gingerly looked out the window. My cruise ship looked like a toy.

Was I nervous? Heck, yeah. But then suddenly I realized we were at the top.

As I stepped out onto the landing platform and looked out, it seemed as if I could walk out onto a cloud there at the top of Mt. Roberts. It was absolutely stunning being this high.

In all my pre-vacation research and planning, I hadn't known there was also a community theater at the top of the mountain. Local musicians were having a concert that morning, and they were great!Alaskan Bald Eagle

One of the animals that I had wanted to see on my trip to Alaska was an eagle, and I hadn't seen one yet on my journey. After the concert, I wandered outside to explore everything there was to see. Inside a small building I found an eagle! It had been injured and was recuperating at the shelter. It was in captivity, not in the wild, but, still, I got to see my eagle. Also, I got a better picture of him than I ever would have if he'd been flying free.

Do I still get nervous if I'm up high? Sometimes, but I know that I'll be fine.

By sailing up Mt. Roberts in a cable car, I was rewarded with a lifetime of great memories, and the satisfaction of overcoming my fear of heights.

Are You Afraid of Heights?

Shhh....I won't tell.
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How to Overcome Your Own Fears

There's many roads that lead to the same destination


People can overcome their fears in very different ways. I'm an all or nothing type of person. I jumped right off and took the cold plunge.

But for other people, that course of action may have traumatic consequences and shouldn't even be considered as a means to conquer their fear and anxiety.

For some individuals, their best treatment would be talking with a counselor about their phobia. It's every bit as effective as the sink or swim method I employed.

Instead of taking physical action, counseling is the means by which you talk and work through your fears. Talking about what you're afraid of the most, and exploring all aspects of that fear, can help get to the root of your anxiety.


Other individuals respond well to self-hypnosis. While I haven't tried this method as it specifically relates to acrophobia, I've read where it has helped a fair amount of people with their fear.

I think hypnotherapy would be a good alternative if you either do not want to talk to a stranger, or it is simply too expensive to seek counseling.

Whichever method you choose to help your anxiety, I want to encourage you and let you know that it is possible to be free from fear.

It's a magnificent view when you're standing atop your fears and looking out into the bright future.

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Updated: 03/01/2014, AbbyFitz
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AbbyFitz on 01/28/2014

Thank you! It's a good place to test your nerve, that's for sure

ologsinquito on 01/28/2014

This is also going on my See the World board. It's a great story. I'm not sure I would be as brave.

AbbyFitz on 01/09/2014

Thank you!

ologsinquito on 01/09/2014

I'm pinning this to My Wizzley Writing Board.

AbbyFitz on 12/03/2013

I know! I was so glad I didn't chicken out. It just goes to show you that it's worth conquering your fears.

DerdriuMarriner on 12/03/2013

AbbyFitz, All the extras you received by facing your fear --- unexpected concert, spectacular vista, an eagle closeup!

AbbyFitz on 11/18/2013

Thank you! I think they're pretty amazing.

Mira on 11/18/2013

Nice piece. I can see you were rewarded for going that high. Mountains are, indeed, wonderful.

AbbyFitz on 11/17/2013

You really ought to go. I've never seen anyplace like it. It's really breathtaking.

ologsinquito on 11/17/2013

The scenery is beautiful up in Alaska. I'd love to get there sometime.

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