Steep heights, rope walls, suspended tyres, planks that sway with the wind… obstacle courses around Chennai are a test of more than just will power and guts
This is why I should have dated Tarzan. I am stranded high above the ground — 33 feet to be specific, and there is no way down, unless I tactfully manoeuvre this course or give in and ask to be led out of the obstacle race. The ground beneath my feet shakes. It isn’t ground in the traditional sense, just a row of square, wooden slabs that line my path. I step on one and shriek as it swings, making me unsteady. Then I gently hop on to the other, and the gaps between the slabs reveal a motley group that has gathered around to encourage me, or probably mock me if I fall. Thinking of all the never-give-up quotes, I mouthed while between posing for the camera — my far from intrepid friend has been instructed to take copious pictures and videos documenting my bravado for Instagram — I inch ahead.
The Wild Tribe Ranch, on ECR, takes pride in its obstacle course. There are around 33 elements to it that require you to skip, jump, climb, hang, swing, balance and most importantly overcome your fears. “We have had obstacle courses ever since we started in 2009. But the intensity kept increasing with time,” says GV Sathish Kumar, founder-CEO of the company.
“Our first course was made of bamboo, and the highest one was 10 feet. We then moved to wood and pipes with a greater emphasis on safety,” he adds. The adventure experience company now designs and creates its own courses and structures. The majority of their clients are corporates who come for team building exercises, college reunion groups, school students on excursions and even bachelor party gangs. “Children as young as four years old have attempted these. Our oldest guest was a 74-year-old man. He completed nine of the tasks on the obstacle course. His children who accompanied him were amazed, as they had never seen their father do such activities before,” says Sathish.
Encouraged by these examples, I successfully complete this course and move on to the next. This one needs me to channel my inner Spider Man and climb a rope wall. Elementary? Not quite! The wall sways as I try to scale it. Yes, should have worked harder on my core when I had the chance. Ten minutes later, I am all hot and bothered and look like a mermaid trapped in a net. Luckily, the sea is just beyond the green wall of trees that surround this place, and its breeze blows over to caresses my face, perhaps its way of encouraging me. Adjusting my white helmet, gloves and the harness that securely fastens me to the metal beams overhead, I soldier on to complete this task.
But the level of difficulty increases with each course. The obstacle course is divided into two: Ninja Course and Devil’s Ramp. The latter is the one I am currently struggling at. The Ninja, that I had tried out before this, seemed fairly tame in comparison. It requires participants to walk across revolving barrels, climb over nets, balance across a path of swinging tyres, walk on a narrow ledge… The only consoling factor is there are ropes to hold on to for balance. “Popularly known as monkey walk, this is where two players compete against each other to see who finishes first and/or successfully,” says Sathish.
At the end of it all, what’s priceless is the euphoria of having conquered something unknown. As for Tarzan, I don’t need him to rescue me anymore.
Prices start at ₹348. Wild Tribe Ranch is located at Nemmeli, East Coast Road.
In this column, we hunt for adrenaline-filled activities in and around Chennai
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