In 1987, indoor climbing was as unpopular in the Seattle area as breeding labradoodles. But Vertical World––a pioneer indoor climbing gym––introduced the city to the up-and-coming sport of rock climbing in a controlled environment. Since its inception, the gym has expanded to three other locations in Everett, Tacoma, and Redmond, the latter hosting eastside climbers for more than 20 years.
A team of experienced route creators challenges climbers with more than 200 bouldering, lead, or top-rope routes in a wide variety of difficulty levels. The gym hosts competitive youth teams that have gone on to national or world tournaments. The gym's staff of climbers and guides also leads outdoor excursions that build confidence and teach novices how to identify a rock wall in the wild.
For eight exciting weeks this autumn, children will flock to the fields of Marymoor Park to score some new skills and friendships, with all instruction designed and led by Seattle-native and USSF-certified Jacob Haney. In addition to providing a steady stream of professional instruction and individualized attention, i9 Sports works hard to maintain a positive, supportive environment that forbids negative language from both participating children and adult onlookers, and gives each player equal playing time. Over the course of the eight-week league, children will maneuver themselves through a throng of drills and exercises, sharpening both technical and teamwork techniques. Leagues meet for practice once a week on Saturdays, and are organized by age group to keep young ones safe and feeling confident. Call ahead to register your miniature proto-adult for an eight-week league, or enter your Groupon number during online registration.
In 2004, a group of skilled climbers and experienced route setters married their expansive knowledge of the sport to create Edgeworks Climbing. The gym is an indoor paradise that expertly match the dynamic challenges that athletes face outdoors, boasting 10,000 square feet of climbing area with 25-foot top-rope routes, 35-foot lead routes, and 3,500 square feet of bouldering. The team of setters draws on years of experience outdoors to create hundreds of challenging, satisfying routes for climbers of all skill levels. Most of the setters are teachers as well, leading classes for beginners or advanced climbers, as well as heading outdoors to help the class appreciate the adrenaline rush of an outdoor climb ending in a fistfight with a bear.
Additionally, the passionate staff realized that alternative workouts are needed to push through plateaus in climbs, so they created a fitness area to complement the climbing gym. Classes such as yoga, Pilates, and cycling further exercise muscle groups that are useful when trying to finally ride a bike up your favorite route.
Together, the KAF Adventures guides are dedicated to helping others experience the thrills of climbing, mountaineering, ice climbing, and other outdoor escapades. Whether they're teaching beginners to rock climb during group lessons, imparting lifelong skills as private mountaineering guides, or leading international climbing trips, the guides help their students learn new skills and appreciate their surrounding environment. Yoga and backpacking hikes introduce hikers to wilderness vistas as they learn to channel their own breathing, and backcountry skiing and boarding guidance readies students to hit the slopes or speed through snowy department-store displays.
To get some fresh air, Bellevue residents could take a stroll around their neighborhood. Or they could head to one of the nearly 100 parks in the area for a game of baseball, a tennis match, or a lesson on botanicals. The extensive park system beckons locals to take advantage of the wide array of green spaces and activities in the area, many of which are free. It also holds regular events and leads programs that range from nature film viewings to crime prevention forums aimed at addressing delinquent squirrels.