Since 2000, the experienced climbers at Boulders Sport Climbing Center have been helping visitors ascend not just walls, but also toward their goals. Each and every new climber undergoes the orientation and belay training, during which they get accustomed to the facility, the equipment, and chanting the mantra, "Don't Look Down." After that, they can try their hands and feet on the 40-foot walls, lead wall, free-standing boulder, or 30-foot rappel tower.
When students sign on for a Rock About climbing class, they don't just learn to rope their way up mountainsides and trade banter with goats. The company's certified guides also educate clients about the cultural history and complex geology of the climbing sites. On climbing treks to Reimers Ranch Park, owner Adam Mitchell and his team teach top-roping and belaying techniques while exploring the notion that climbing allows humankind to commune safely with the earth's natural wonders. For those uneasy about vertical exploration, the guides offer non-climbing adventures such as interpretive hikes.
Growing up in El Paso near Hueco Tanks led Austin Rock Gym owner Troy Wilson to view rock climbing as a way of life. In order to open his own facility he merged his experience running youth climbing programs and gyms with that of his wife and coowner Erica—a Houston native who has spent years scaling New Mexico's rocky ridges. Specializing in bouldering, belaying, and lead climbing, the duo brings mountain terrain indoors at two Austin area locations. The north Austin gym's 30-foot bouldering wall and colorful climbing routes challenge visitors to traverse steep angles, and its top-rope routes let belayed crag clingers scale to the perfect yodeling height. At the south Austin gym, sculpted, 30-foot textured walls loom over a 10,000-square-foot facility, in which climbers can belay, practice lead climbing, or conquer a bouldering cave.
Veteran climbers at each location teach classes and private lessons for rookie rockers 4 and older. In addition to bouldering, lead climbing, and belaying classes, instructors lead women's only sessions and Powerhouse courses that focus on strengthening the body's core. Troy and Tracy's team of experts also guides groups to outdoor climbing venues and lugs a portable rock wall to construction workers no longer challenged by ladders.
In addition to the sense of perseverance and accomplishment that comes with finishing a 5K, the organizers of the Bacon Chase have added another incentive: bacon. During their two races?the 5K Piggy Pilgrimage, which is a traditional 5K, and the 0.05K Blitz to Bacon, which is a 164-foot sprint?runners can munch on unlimited bacon bits before feasting on unlimited amounts of bacon at the finish line. Runners 21 and older can wash down the savory strips of bacon with a bloody mary, and all runners get a Bacon Chase T-shirt and a signature bacon-scented bib. The festival opens at 8 a.m. and features many bacon-themed activities, plus music.
The festive day serves a greater purpose, too. Attendees will be able to register to become a St. Jude Hero, raise money for St. Jude Children?s Research Hospital, or both.
Teams must be either two or three people; though entrants can register individually, they must have a team by race day ($50 per person; $60 on event day). On race day, teams will walk, skip, or run (highly recommended) through the unknown nooks of the city, gathering and solving clues that will lead one lucky team to a $300 prize. The race will take you throughout the city to top-secret, unmarked spots, leading participants into neighborhoods such as SoCo, the University of Texas, Sixth Street, and more. Along the way, teams will solve clues, answer questions, and complete challenges such as building a house of cards or bowling a strike.
At Hot Lava Obstacle Course, adults recapture the fun of playing on a playground. But instead of whiling away recess time with pals, these folks are training for some of the toughest obstacle courses in the world. Hot Lava Obstacle Course's trainers show students around the 2,500 square foot space, which is chock full of dozen of rotating obstacles, similar to those found at challenging events such as Tough Mudder or Warrior Dash. Students then have the opportunity to learn everything from climbing ropes and cargo nets to army crawling beneath barriers to hurdling over napping fellow competitors. All the action takes place on a well-supported foam floor along with a spring-loaded gymnastics floor section, which helps protect joints and even provides the opportunity to learn maneuvers such as cartwheels and flips to intimidate your opponents.