Are you ready to rock? Rock climb that is…
Have you ever gazed upon a long, jagged mountain of rock and got so scared about what it would take to reach the top of it, that even climbing a flight of stairs afterward seemed like a daunting task?
Well, fear not amateur adventurers; rock climbing is a safe, invigorating sport that can be done by anyone looking to tackle a new challenge. The best part about this activity is that it’s no longer such an intimidating endeavour. Why, you ask? Because you no longer have to drive out to the middle of nowhere and deal with Mother Nature’s temper tantrums, all you have to do is search the internet for one of many indoor rock climbing facilities. Within such buildings you’ll find numerous climbing apparatuses set up for anyone, from experts to those who are looking to strap on a harness and a helmet for the first time ever.
“We teach teens the same introductory lesson as adults,” explains Karen McGilvray, owner of The Rock Oasis in Toronto, and rock climbing instructor of 12 years. “We teach the basic safety techniques required to climb in the gym — putting on the harness, tying into the rope and belaying (holding the rope for the climber). After the lesson, climbers get to climb anywhere in the gym and try harder routes as they progress,” she says.
Most facilities offer a variety of lessons, including Introductory Lessons, Climbing Techniques, Lead Climbing and several other diverse programs depending on your needs. Which means, even if you know absolutely nothing about indoor rock climbing, you too can participate — and for an affordable rate.
While each lesson itself usually has a separate fee from the membership costs, don’t be too concerned, because if you’re a student and you possess a valid student ID card, you’ll often receive a discounted rate. (At The Rock Oasis one visit will cost you $12, ten visits cost $107, or if you choose to stick it out for 365 days, it’ll run you $404.)
Prices and such aside, the true benefit of indoor rock climbing is the experience of it all. Not only will you be the talk of the town for your willingness to scale tall walls, but you’ll also become mentally, physically and psychologically sharper.
“Rock climbing is a great form of exercise that is actually fun. It develops strength, flexibility and balance. Rock climbing is challenging, but manageable for everyone,” says Karen.
“Rock climbing is (also) great for self-esteem. Especially if you’re not great at team sports such as soccer or football, climbing is a great alternative. It does not require brute strength or a large body. It requires thought and finesse as much or more than strength.”
If you have the time, energy and a risk-taker within you, why not get your workout from climbing some walls? It’s either that or shovelling the driveway — which would you rather do?