Climbing a 60-foot wall didn’t seem to scare 24-year-old Matthew Rygus, until he looked down.
“I’m afraid of heights,” Rygus says embarrassingly.
The Rock Oasis, a haven for rock climbers and first-timers alike, is a downtown Toronto facility that boasts 60 different climbs in different degrees of difficulty.
“Whether you’re a beginner or a pro, there’s something here for you,” Sam Patenaude, manager of The Rock Oasis, says. “We have short walls that are 25 feet; if you want to go higher, there’s 40 feet, then there’s 60 feet. All walls have a degree of difficulty for each height: easy, medium, hard and really hard.”
For Rygus, who has never rock climbed before, a 5.3 difficulty on a 40-foot wall wasn’t out of reach for his first time.
“I’m scared of heights, but when Sam (Patenaude) was guiding me through the climb, I reached the top and didn’t realize it,” he says. “I had a lot of fun. I could see a close group of friends enjoy an evening of this.”
New climbers get trained on harness use, safety ropes, climbing and belaying.
The Rock Oasis prides itself in having something for every climber that comes in. They’re accustomed to having beginners, like Rygus; go for the shortest and the easiest.
The difficulty depends on the way the ‘holds’ are placed and how far apart they are. Each wall is marked clearly with a number that represents the difficulty levels. For example, a three is like stairs and five and over is anything vertical.
Katelyn, a Rock Oasis regular says she likes “climbing here because the climbs are more interesting and more challenging; the difficulty levels here are more about technique than strength.”
Patenaude agrees: “You don’t really have to be physically fit to do rock climbing.
"It doesn’t really matter how big or small you are; if you want to do it, you can do it. You’re not restricted to your weight or height."
Rock climbing isn’t out of the question for bachelorette parties. “Women really love it. Some of them actually come back for more.” Patenaude says.
Rock climbing isn’t just a workout; it’s a social activity. It’s perfect for bachelor/bachelorette parties because “sometimes, this place is louder than a bar,” Patenaude says. “You’re having fun, you’re exercising and you don’t even know it.”
What you need to know:
- Biggest climbing shoe at Rock Oasis is size 16. You can still climb, but you have to use your own running shoes.
- In a group, half climb while the other belay.
- Climber to trainer ratio is 6 to 1.
- Rock Oasis values its existing members; they do not close the facility for private parties.
- The lessons are one hour long; you can climb for as long as you want after that.
- Wear thin socks and loose clothing for comfort and flexibility.
- It’s recommended to book ahead of time.
For more information visit The Rock Oasis or call # 416-703-3434 to book your bachelor(ette) party now.
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