To create Peak Experiences, the dedicated staff sets more than 125 top-rope routes, lead climbs, and bouldering problems for climbers of all skill levels. Five levels of classes and safety training spanning basic problems such as climbing a bunk bed to lead climbing a 50-foot wall prepare climbers to conquer any of these problems, and the gym also outfits its members with an onsite gear shop that stocks harnesses, footwear, and belay devices such as grigris or ATCs. Kids can also learn climbing skills during youth programs that invite children aged 5–18 and young rocks aged 3,000,000–4,500,000 to climb together with camps, teams, and trips.
Riverside Outfitters works to get Richmond-ers out on the water, up into the trees, and out on the trails with a variety of natural outdoor excursions. The staff helps locals and visitors engage with the area's rich landscape, guiding fleets of rafts, kayaks, canoes, paddleboards, and innertubes down the James River, which the Daily Press described as having "the only urban whitewater rafting experience available in the country." High ropes courses and climbing seminars teach first-timers how to nimbly break from gravity's embrace, while outdoor summer camps teach kids to engage wildlife without the scratchy fingers that come from texting with tree bark.
The Adventure Park at Sandy River Retreat exists on a separate plane from most parks: it's planted in the treetops. From the ground, its balance beams, bouncy wooden steps, and tightropes nearly disappear amid the russet tree trunks and emerald leaves of the forest ceiling. But up there, the obstacles are front and center. Should adventurers find themselves tuckered out by the park's four courses, they can find respite in a ride down one of 13 ziplines.
Rebel Race's military-style obstacle courses challenge athletes from all backgrounds to shed humdrum day-to-day routines to experience the primal joys of mud, sweat and glory. Emerging from the mire in various states across the country, each Rebel Race packs its rucksack with tests of physical and mental toughness, rousing racers and washing machines alike to triumph in the face of sloppy opposition. After dashing through fire, climbing walls, and scaling mountains of hay, race participants bask in the collective kudos of parties, which include live entertainment, food, and beer for purchase. Camping options encourage participants and spectators to transform races into weekend getaways, while awards recognize each day's standout competitors and most-humble mud pits.
Vertical Rock’s expansive, air-conditioned facility welcomes climbers ranging from novices to experts with routes suited to every level of ability. The climbing wall towers to more than 50 feet, crisscrossed by numerous lead-only and top-rope routes with difficulty grades falling between 5.5 and 5.13. A mighty arch of more than 125 feet spans the space, littered with treacherous horizontal hangs to entice advanced climbers as well as those who have been banned from the St. Louis Arch. First-timers can start out with open climbs, which include an expert’s assistance with putting on the harness, tying the safety knot, and belaying for three separate climbs. From there, committed climbers advance through the outfit’s lineup of expert-led classes, starting with basic safety skills and techniques in the Learning the Ropes intro course and running all the way up to advanced classes on crack climbing, functional movements, and escaping from prison.
Dan Hague is something of an expert on the sport of rock climbing. He even co-authored a book on the subject, The Self-Coached Climber, that lays out how amateur climbers can improve their skills on their own. Of course, if beginners and intermediate climbers want some help learning the ropes, he's more than happy to offer his expert guidance to them as well at his own facility, Rise Up Climbing. The 6,000-square-foot space houses roped climbing and bouldering walls that tower as high as 40 feet in certain spots. Lest beginners shake in their harnesses at the sight of the towering wall, the half-hour Basic Skills course teaches small groups the fundamentals of climbing, such as how to properly don a harness, belay for a partner, and talk trash to a conquered route.