QUEBEC’S LAURENTIAN TYROPARC WILL HAVE YOU CLIMBING THE WALLS!
Let’s make it clear…the word is Tyroparc not Terror Park. Mind you there may be more than a little adrenaline flowing in your veins by the time you finish a day ziplining on some of the longest aerial routes in Canada…or ascending shear mountain walls on the via ferrrata, literally a staircase of metal hoops and lines embedded into the rock face.
Located in Sainte-Agathe in Quebec’s Laurentian mountains, Tyroparc’s zipliners, according to operations manager Anthony Taupin, have ranged from 18 months (in tandem with dad) to 91 years of age. Voyagers on the up to 900 metre long are securely anchored to line which could support ten times their weight then launched into space over the slope of the mountain to the base station below.
One option is to take all four ziplines for a several hour adventure…or climb the sheer rock face along the via ferrata followed by “dessert”…the two longest ziplines of the park.
Our party of four was led by Anthony and first stop was the training wall, a small rock face where our ability to maneuver on the mountain could be assessed. The basic principal is that participants have a body harness with two lanyards and clips which anchor you to the cliff. At all times one clip must be anchored as the second is repositioned. The gear is more than adequate to take your full body weight as you lean backwards hands free over a several hundred foot shear drop. (see photo)
After climbing the “bunny hill” we proceeded on the shear cliff which fronted the base station. Climbing a steep path we reached the mountain and slowly began our ascent. Guests should make sure to take time to occasionally glance down and enjoy the view (unless you fear heights…in which case why are you doing this?) Though it was misty at times the view would clear frequently to enjoy the panoramic view severl hundred feet of alititude provides.
Parts of the trail, especially one with an large overhang, presented an added challenge. However our party eventually reached the top…and briefly pause to inhale a long pine-scented breath air.
Now, after all this effort we had to mount ziplines and sail a couple of kilometers downward, back to home base. The day had been intermittently overcast and foggy…and the sensation of rocketing into a gray void at times was disconcerting…spooky yet fun.
Arriving back we shed our harnesses. The base was overrun with a hoard of young girls in long skirts about to go ziplining. They appeared to be a private school of some religious specific affiliation and the matrons in attendance seemed puzzled as to how to fit the harnesses over a skirt. The girls solved the problem by putting the harnesses under their skirts!
Barring other exigencies ladies partaking in this activity are better advised to wear pants!
Next time you head to the Laurentians and are in the mood for a thrill, try out the Tyroparc’s via ferrata and ziplines. You will glad you did…I think.
Article by George Burden
Photos by Stella van der Lugt
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