If the Indiana Jones films have taught us anything, it is that in order to have a successful teaching career, one must train one's upper body to be adept at dangling. Train yourself to pendulate proficiently with today’s Groupon: for $110, you get a beginners zip line and rappelling course at the Arizona Climbing and Adventure School (a $225 value), where mastery and technique meet blood-pounding nerves and adrenaline in the McDowell Mountains.
Arizona Climbing and Adventure School provides top-notch climbing instruction to give beginning boulderers a boost to the summit. After arriving at the carefree meeting site for the zip line and rappelling course, thrill-seekers will hike across a rugged canyon’s scowling brow, then rappel off a plunging 80-foot rock face toward the velvety wilderness below. Seasoned instructors lead beginners through their harrowing journey as they learn the care and control necessary to descend cliffs without taking the elevators. Following a second short stride and rappel through the balmy desert, adventurers strap themselves to an 80- to 120-foot-long zip-line track and fly weightlessly across a yawning ravine under the cerulean sky.
Arizona Climbing and Adventure School
Since hosting their first class in 1989, Arizona Climbing and Adventure School's instructors have sent an estimated 37,000 students scurrying up the earth's craggy cliffs. Instead of learning climbing in an indoor facility, participants climb nature’s precipices outdoors upon the Southwest's cliffs and mountains. Adventurer and school director Mark Brontsema guides his students and fellow instructors by a philosophy that emphasizes self-reliance, goal setting, and teamwork. He now brings more than three decades to his post as school director, taking time from a busy schedule that includes writing gear reviews for the New York Times.
The school offers a large number of courses that target students of varying skill levels and reveal technique secrets in small groups of two to six students. Classes may focus on rappelling and anchors, guide services, and equipment-free bouldering, which relies solely on the climber's hands, feet, and retractable suction cups. Adventure courses include day trips and overnight climbing excursions, while special workshops address topics such as backpacking, being an ecologically responsible climber and hiker, and using GPS devices.