Who Needs The Beach?
I spent this past weekend visiting family in South Carolina. We were all set to go to the beach on Sunday when my little sister Meredith said "Hey have you heard of these obstacle rope courses? There's one around here". I had seen one of these courses before on a trip to the Palisades Mall in New York and was pretty excited to give it a try. After twenty minutes and a google search we scrapped our plans for the beach and headed out to the Wild Blue Ropes high ropes course in Charleston South Carolina.
Wild Blue Ropes is split into two courses - one for beginners and one for more advanced athletes. The beginner course is filled with simple obstacles that appear to be designed for children or people with a fear of heights. The advanced course is broken up into green, blue and black sections that get increasingly higher (and harder!) as you advance. The highest level of the course is approximately thirty five feet in the air and contains some very physically demanding obstacles.
What's The Damage?
Prices were $19/person for the beginner course and $49/person for the advanced course. The $49 price tag for the advanced course is pretty steep, but it allows you to stay on the course for up to four hours. You can also call to see if there are any discounts for larger groups. We did a google search and these prices seem to be roughly in line with other high rope facilities.
Learning The Ropes
After signing a waiver, participants are fitted for a helmet and harness before walking out onto the course. There is a ten minute intro where an instructor teaches you how to use the double clip system on your harness and the general rules of navigating the course. Having some rock climbing experience, I was pretty impressed with the system they put together to ensure that you were always connected to one of the steel cables on the course. It is simple yet effective.
On The Course
The intro (green) obstacles were actually pretty easy and a good way to get acclimated to the course. Once we moved up to the intermediate (blue) obstacles on the second level things got pretty intense. This level had less things to hold onto and the footing was much more wobbly. After navigating the second intermediate obstacle, Meredith yelled "I forgot to tell you that I have a fear of heights" from the other side. Fortunately she was able to gut it out and get through most of the intermediate obstacles despite being terrified.
I completed some of the advanced obstacles but they were much more physically demanding than I was expecting. Most of the elements on this section of the course require you to actually swing from one section to another. On the third advanced obstacle I had to hang on the element for a few minutes to let my forearms stop burning before I could advance. There was also a mental component to the challenge because you had to figure out the most efficient way to navigate the obstacle.
After an hour and a half navigating obstacles Meredith and I decided to call it quits and head home.
We both loved the experience and thought it was a cool and challenging way to spend a few hours in Charleston. The advanced obstacles were physically demanding, but they didn't leave me as worn out as a rock climbing session. I imagine that completing the entire circuit of obstacles would be an awesome workout though.
The relatively high price tag means that for most people this type of activity is more of a two - three time a year event rather than an ongoing training activity. This is a great activity to experience with friends, but make sure that everyone knows what the price is before they show up. Nothing worse than that awkward moment where people realize they have to shell out $50 when they were expecting to spend $20.
Have you had any experience with high rope obstacle courses? Let us know how it went in the comments!
Some Rope Obstacle Course Locations
Charleston, SC: Wild Blue Ropes
Nyack, NY: Palisades Climb Adventure Rope Course
Flagstaff, AZ: Flagstaff Extreme