The AC Hub brought 26 Algonquin students to the Coyote Rock Gym on St. Laurent Boulevard on March 19 to enjoy a different kind of experience – rock climbing.
“It’s awesome, it’s stretching your boundaries, it is something new, something that you have never done…, I love it,” said Adolphe Hirwa, a first-time climber and construction engineering student at Algonquin.
The experience was free due to every Algonquin student paying a $17 experience fee as part of their tuition each semester. Susan Pridmore, who organized the event, said AC Hub engagements are a great experience for students because it allows them to get off campus.
“Especially this one because it takes people out of their realm if they haven’t rock climbed before,” said Pridmore.
The Coyote Rock Gym is Ottawa’s first gym of its type, and it is built in such a way that everyone can enjoy the experience. There are different walls geared too different climbers’ abilities.
“It is something for everyone, because anyone can do it regardless of how old they are, or how fit they are because we have climbs for all levels,” said Andrew Noel, instructor for the adult programs at the gym. “Because it is indoors, it gives people a chance to do it in a safe environment without having to know anything beforehand.”
Before they were allowed to begin, the participants has to listen to Noel for a tutorial on how to properly put on the gri-gri belay, which fastens the climber in, and be able to attach it to the rope using a figure-eight knot. Everyone succeeded in being certified, and were off to climbing in no time.
Although it is indoors, and less extreme than outdoor climbing, some of the participants think it is essential to do it first – and tiring nonetheless.
“It was a good workout for everyone and rock climbing is a good sport,” said Klyne Sage, a first-year aviation management student. “You practice indoors and, after that, you apply everything you have learned indoors to go outdoors.”
For the people who had experienced rock climbing, they decided to take on the toughest wall in the gym. It is called the “black course,” which is a yellow wall where you begin by fighting gravity with your back to the floor. From there, you travel up the wall and onto the ceiling. No one was able to accomplish the feat.
“I want to come here more often but I need to work on my upper body strength which is apparent from today,” said Kim St-Amour, a second-year police foundations student. “I’ve been trying to tackle the black course on the yellow wall. I’ve been here a couple of times before so I know what to expect.”
Overall it was a great experience for the students who participated, and both the organizer of the event and the participants are eager to go rock climbing again.
Pridmore says she would love to do it again because of how well it went and she enjoyed the fact that experience didn’t make a difference when it came to having fun. Some people are coming back as soon as they can.
“I’m coming next week actually, I have to bring my friends here. It’s awesome,” said Hirwa.