Although climbing is a popular sport among humans, few realize that it was invented by oversize gorillas trying out for the role of King Kong. Go where many primate actors have gone before with today’s Groupon: for $10, you get one Rock Gym 101 climbing class or two daily climbing passes at Upper Limits Rock Gym, on 21st Street and at a new location in Maryland Heights, slated to open in August (a $30 value).
At Upper Limits, climbers of all ages and skill levels get a full-body workout on a high-quality indoor rock-climbing surface that covers more than 10,000 square feet of sculpted walls, crags, and honorary presidential busts. Novice cliffhangers can learn to climb with the two-hour Rock Gym 101 class (a $30 value), which teaches basic top-roping procedures, knot-tying skills, and belay techniques. Classes, which are limited to 10 students for optimal instruction, include equipment and climbing for the rest of the day. Classes are currently held at the 21st Street location at the following times: Saturdays at 10 a.m., 1 p.m., and 3 p.m.; Sundays at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m.; and Tuesdays and Thursdays at 6 p.m.
Veteran rock warriors can skip the class and opt for two daily climbing passes (a $15 value each). Daily passes are good for the entire day, and climbers are allowed to leave and return within the same day. Staffed by friendly experts, Upper Limits features a 35-foot main climbing area with slabs, arêtes, cracks, roofs, dihedrals, and two gigantic arches ideal for experienced climbers and boulderers. Revive atrophied muscles and improve your physical fitness by clinging to as many protruding emeralds, rubies, and giant Skittles as your feet allow.
Chris and Pam Schmick's passion for climbing inspired them to clear tons of rotting soybeans out of an abandoned grain silo in Illinois and transform it into a state-of-the-art climbing facility. Now, in St. Louis, the duo has converted a 10,000-square-foot historic train station into a climber’s haven. They installed massive rock arches that soar 35 feet in the air, and dotted the climbing walls with a diverse mix of slabs, cracks, dihedrals, and bald-eagle nests. After their successful expansion in St. Louis, the pair acquired a 14,000-square-foot gym space in West County in which they designed a full-service climbing paradise. All three gyms cater to beginner climbers, with 18-foot-tall bouldering walls and 14 autobelays. The gyms furnish climbers with showers and a locker room, and stock their pro shops with top-tier equipment from Black Diamond and La Sportiva.