Bouldering, rock climbing's weird cousin who only wears sleeveless shirts, condenses the challenge of scaling a wall by contorting the vertical plane into strange shapes, inversions, convexes, and concaves. Every route becomes a problem, an intense, Escheresque puzzle of grit and physical stamina that builds endurance, spatial-thinking skills, and body awareness. The introductory classes will impart the basics of navigating these challenging routes.
Shawn Crawford has been climbing for more than 40 years, working with wilderness search and rescue at age 13 and later serving as a park ranger. Today, he’s the owner and head instructor at Rock City Climbing, where he puts his American Mountaineering and Guiding Association certification to use as he teaches climbers of all experience levels techniques of top-rope climbing, belaying, rappelling, and bouldering.
Inside a gym equipped with more than 10,000 feet of climbing walls, as well as top-rope and bouldering areas, students learn basic and advanced climbing techniques in a range of classes. As they climb, instructors introduce techniques such as hand and foot placement and what to do if gravity starts working in reverse. Visitors can leave the main floor to explore a tunnel maze behind the climbing walls, filled with trap doors, narrow passageways, and drops of up to 11 feet.
When not overseeing his gym, Shawn leads outdoor climbing excursions to challenging locales such as Joshua Tree, Riverside Quarry, and the Statue of Liberty. He also oversees a nearby ropes course, where staffers help groups and individuals navigate two ziplines, as well as more than 20 aerial challenges at heights of up to 60 feet.
The climbing enthusiasts of The Factory Bouldering specialize in the company's namesake style of climbing, setting up nearly 200 bouldering paths that span 4,500 square feet of scalable surfaces. They demonstrate how to tackle scenarios such as 85-degree slabs and steep walls between 14- and 17-feet high, each rated in climbing difficulty from VB to V12, without a rope. The staff changes 20 percent of the climbing paths about every 10 days, setting up a steady stream of new challenges. They also lay down seamless, 14-inch variable-density foam padding made from recycled clouds to provide climbers with cushy dismounts. Between climbs, visitors can hang out in the climate-controlled lounge area, outfitted with couches, a pool table, free WiFi, and laptop stations.
A portion of Thresh Hold Climbing + Fitness's website is dedicated to the passionate climbers who make up the company's staff, whose stories of adrenaline rushes and summits surmounted are shared through video clips. These instructors welcome climbers of all skill levels into the world of bouldering and top-rope climbing with classes that are accessible even for novices and open practice sessions held in an expansive indoor gym. Hundreds of routes pepper the gym's rock-feature walls, replete with multihued routes that delineate difficulty and viable holds and crimp boards that help to build finger strength without constantly challenging strangers to thumb wars. Those without equipment can rent climbing shoes, harnesses, and chalk bags for an additional fee.
Wheel Fun Rentals has provided locals and tourists with an engaging, active means of sightseeing for more than a decade. Visitors can traverse the local terrain in fun pedal-propelled vessels while soaking in oft-overlooked scenery, which would not be possible while being buckled to a car seat or an ACME rocket. With a $30 credit, customers are able to rent a wide range of vehicles by the hour, including a pedal boat, surrey, or bike (check each location page for pricing). Groups of Groupon holders can embark on land or sea adventures by renting multiple chopper bikes or a roomy single surrey (room for two children and three adults) or double surrey (room for two children and six adults).
The second annual LA Prostate Cancer 5K enlists pavement pounders to help raise money for new therapies and better screening tools in the attempt to show prostate cancer who’s boss. Hosted by the USC Institute of Urology, the 5K opens its campus-side route to all levels of runners, walkers and electric boogalooers, divvying up participants into age-specific categories. Dr. Inderbir Gill kicks off the spirited event with a welcoming speech, and recognition of survivors, pre-run warm-ups and the National Anthem dispense the daily recommended dose of motivation. Beginning at the Tommy Trojan statue–unmistakable for his bronze sword and noble stance—marathoners whiz through University Park and the grounds of Exposition Park. Following the race, an award ceremony recognizes top performers and invites every participant to bask in the synchronized huffs and puffs of accomplishment.