Holdistic Challenges Body and Mind
There are few things Freddy Harth loves more than staring down a rocky cliff face, fingers dug deep into handholds, watching the people gathered far below crane their necks upward in wonder.
One of those few things is the chance to help someone else experience those feelings of achievement and exhilaration. Perhaps that’s why, after more than a decade in the indoor rock climbing business, Harth is bringing Holdistic to Edmond.
Set to open in late April, Holdistic won’t just offer only challenging, one-of-a-kind, simulated rock walls. Esteemed hatha yoga instructor Sky Checotah will set up shop in the Nature Blend Yoga Studio upstairs, and more features are coming soon.
Harth started climbing in 1992, when he taught a friend how to race bikes and, in return, the friend taught Harth how to climb. Harth’s been doing it ever since, owning a successful climbing center for more than a decade before selling the business and moving on to create Holdistic, which is different and more ambitious than anything he’s done before.
“This place is the culmination of everything I’ve learned,” Harth says. He’s spent the past two months riding up and down on an industrial lift, putting the plywood climbing walls together piece by piece, all by himself. Holdistic is certified by the Climbing Gym Association, the governing body for rock climbing facilities.
“This is for people who are looking for a hobby that will actually fulfill them, not just physically but mentally,” Harth says. “It’s not an extreme sport. It’s not a daredevil sport. It’s a controlled activity that when done correctly is safer than riding in a car.”
Holdistic offers climbing for people of any age and every skill level, from children and first-timers on to seasoned climbers. Roped climbing options include slab (low angle), beyond vertical and roof (horizontal overhang). Another option is a sharply angled wall for “bouldering,” an extremely popular style of climbing, with a simulated boulder, that doesn’t require a rope. The bouldering wall tops out at 16 feet. “That’s really tall for a bouldering problem,” Harth says. “We’re really pushing the limits here.”
For the especially hard-core, Holdistic offers an unprecedented 30-foot free solo climbing wall, where the only things between the climber and a freefall into eight-foot-deep foam padding are determination and an iron grip. This feature is one-of-a-kind, and Harth says a free solo climbing wall of this height has never been done before in a climbing gym. Only proven climbers will be allowed to reach for the top. As with every aspect of climbing at Holdistic, strict guidelines are in place for everyone’s safety. Three violations, and a climber is “grounded.”
It can be hard for adults to pick up a hobby, and it can be equally difficult for a kid uninterested in mainstream sports to find something rewarding that will exercise not only the muscles, but the brain as well. Holdistic offers rock climbing as an option for everyone interested in something different. It’s an exciting, social and challenging activity for the thinking man, Harth says.
Holdistic’s goal is simple – let climbers have fun on the walls, learn something new and take something away from the experience. “It’s about so much more than being extreme and dangerous,” Harth says. He says he’s seen thousands of lives changed by rock climbing since he’s been involved in the sport. He’s seen strangers, climbing for the first time, bond and forge friendships for life. “I’ve watched it literally change people’s lives into, ‘I live for this; this defines me,’ and that was a lot of people. It’s surprising how it touches people like that,” Harth says.
For more information about Holdistic Climbing Center go to: www.holdistic.com, or call 405-245-5555.