The CLIMB of my Life!

Jeremy Novak, my dear friend and the reason I write these articles, drives me up the wall sometimes with his kooky suggestions and harebrained subject ideas for my column. Do we all remember when I went zip-lining last year and almost peed my pants 40 feet up in a birch tree? I am sure we can recall his idea of my going up in a hot air balloon or hitting the rifle range. Well, this past week I finally caved and Jeremy literally drove me UP A WALL, because I tackled the new Adventure Climbing Gym in Greenwich!

Now that I go to the gym and I’ve become more fit over the last year, I can say that I had a blast climbing the walls at the ACG. A year ago, if I’d tried to tackle them, I would not have been as successful or confident. Having said that though, ANYONE can go and participate and get something out of this unique workout experience. And it IS a workout, but what a brilliant place for kids to play and be active with each other. More on that in a second!

The Adventure Climbing Gym is located at 38 Highway 358 in Greenwich, as part of the Abhaya Martial Arts Building; the ACG is at the back. I heard about this place when they opened in September 2013 and I have been trying to get there ever since. However, I will be sure to frequent the ACG next winter, because it’s a wonderful and handy indoor workout.

The appearance is very rustic but completely appropriate. It’s the only public climbing wall in the Annapolis Valley and it boasts a variety of challenges for all ages, body types, and abilities, from beginners to serious climbers. You can visit the website to see photos of the wall and check out their hours of operation and pricing. But first, let me tell you about my experience on the wall.

I arrived with my partner (and coach) Ian, who has climbed many a wall before this. We stayed for over an hour and were not timid to traverse all areas of the gym. I am sending a huge shout out to KYLE, the coolest climbing-gym worker EVER! There is nothing better than an employee who loves what he does and exudes that love onto his clientele. Kyle was terrific. I am not the easiest client in the world, especially the fitness world, but Kyle made me feel at home and fully confident to tackle the wall. Kyle fitted us into these awesome shoes, specific to the activity because they sort of squeeze your toes and make your feet better for gripping the wall projections. He then showed us the different courses they’ve mapped out on the wall and he really took charge of showing us around and making us feel safe. And why would I need to feel safe? Because I have a fear of heights! There’s no harness on your person and after an hour of climbing, when I could barely feel my fingers, Kyle was encouraging and enthusiastic when I was stuck up on the wall like a panicked housefly!

BUT I DID IT!!!! I climbed all the walls, went in all different directions, made it across the bridge and I even conquered the sloped wall. I rocked it! It was fun and challenging. I had to use my brain, my muscles, a lot of willpower, and a bit of prayer! I was so proud of myself for going the distance and not chickening out on the harder spots of the wall. At one point I did get so tired that I just let go and dropped to the crash mat, but in all honesty, that was a blast too!

Now, back to the kids! I am 35 years old and was quite entertained for over an hour while I climbed the wall, so when Kyle mentioned that they got a lot of kids who come in, it dawned on me how perfect this place is for youngsters. You can schedule birthday parties (complete with a side area for rest and cake and gifts) and make a memorable day of it. And all of you ladies can have a girls night out at the ACG, because Tuesday night is Ladies’ Night (ladies only) and trust me, it would be a blast, with many a photo op for you and your friends!

Mike Butler