Innovative date idea: Rock climbing

By: Natasha Archary 



I seriously hate uninspired dates. Coffee? Nah, spending an hour over a burnt cup of java is not my idea of fun. Dinner? Unless you’re cooking me a meal at your place, and impressing me with your healthy vegan prowess, thanks but I’ll pass. Movie? Why? So you can attempt to have a whispered conversation with me during a movie? Don’t do it.

Read: Ssshhh: Cinema etiquette

As much as I can see the appeal in making out in a cinema, if you’re taking me to a movie, you can be sure I’m going there to watch the movie.


I’ll admit I’m not the typical dinner and a movie kinda girl. I’m drawn to a guy who thinks outside the box and has surprises up his sleeve like a dating magician. Which is why I love “Innovative Dating Ideas” like these: River Rafting on the Jukskei , Extreme Indoor Karting and Hot Air Balloon Safari


Lately, I find myself ghosting guys who pitch monotonous dates my way. If you don’t have the energy to think up something unusual (read: insane) then I don’t have the time to pursue things any further. Think about it, to suggest coffee, you must be really confident that you have one hell of a personality, to maintain a steady hour of on-going conversation with your date. Who needs that kind of pressure, especially on a first date?


While I can easily hold my own in a conversation, there are many people who are not as equally gifted. Most, more compelling via text than they are in person. Why do guys throw themselves into the deep end of the dating pool when they can’t swim?


Men, take heed if you want to stand out for more than your moves in the bedroom, throw caution to the wind and suggest something innovative. Like the guy I went rock climbing with last week. An avid adrenalin junkie, I jumped at his suggestion to go rock climbing on our first date without hesitation. I admit I was a little intimidated, especially after learning that he climbs often, me on the other hand, not so much…it would be my first time.


“You’ll do just fine,” he assured me, “I’ll book an instructor.”


We would be climbing at Strubens Valley. Although Strubens is a small crag (a steep, rugged, rock route used for climbing), its location, close to Johannesburg’s northern and western suburbs, and large number of easy routes means it’s very popular amongst climbers.


My date booked our climb through Soul Adventures. Specialists in rock climbing, mountaineering, scuba diving, Kilimanjaro tours and, of course, Everest base camp trips.


I meet my date at the location and make my way up the mountain path. I take in the massive, protruding, rockface ahead of me. This is going to be fun, I thought. Our walk up the path, meant we had some one on one time, so although there was an instructor, we did have our…ahem moments.



That’s one of the perks of this date, there are so many opportunities to get in some physical contact with your partner. Not what you’re thinking. I mean a congratulatory hug after reaching the top of your first crag. Or him massaging your throbbing, shaking fingers after your second incline. The rush is insane. It literally feels like pins and needles coursing through every muscle.



You activate every part of your body to make it to the top of each climb, so it’s a fantastic full body workout. I’m not the fittest person in the world but I love a challenge and I felt each step up the crags and every pull-up. If you have a fear of heights, rock climbing will not be ideal for you. It requires an intense level of concentration, like chess, you need to constantly think about your next move.


After my first climb, (which I didn’t do too badly on) a level 12 crag rating (in terms of difficulty this was an easy one, with lots of areas to grip and step onto) I felt like it was so much easier than it looked. This later changed after my second climb which was a level 14 crag.



I did get my shin pretty badly beat up against an angry, sharp edge and it may have been a safer bet to go indoor climbing first. Our guide Jubber suggested City Rock Johannesburg. It’s the biggest indoor climbing gym in Africa. Whether you’re a pro climber or are just getting started, they are your best bet for advice on gear, a dedicated beginners area and the drawcard, a two thousand square metre climbing wall.


If you’re not sure that a real rockface is a good idea for your first time then by all means try indoor climbing first. Not that I would change anything about my rock climbing date. If anything, I think I will remember it for the rest of my life and certainly the guy. For his sense of adventure, the romantic picnic he packed, and being patient enough during each step up.


I doubt he had much to complain about though, the climbs do give you a full rear view of your partner. So if you’re up to being exposed, vulnerable, getting bruised, slipping, falling, finding your strength and testing your endurance together, give rock climbing a go. Abseiling down the rockface was the best feeling in the world, the views from the top, the icing on the cake.


If it’s not your idea of a good date, then go on and grab your coffees until the adventure beckons you. In the meantime, I’ll go where the dates take me.


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