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.
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.
Things are always looking up at Seattle Bouldering Project, a south city climbing gym where both indoor and outdoor rock climbers enjoy the challenging ascents. The space offers typical bouldering (rock climbing without harnesses or ropes, using only special climbing shoes and techniques to ascend) courses on any of their multi-level artificial climbing walls, plus bouldering classes for all skill levels. Seattle Bouldering Project focuses on climbers aged four to adult, with special times and programs for the little ones, plus all of the necessary safety precautions. Occasional climbers can buy a day pass for use of the entire sprawling facility, while avid climbers have a choice of membership levels. There are climbing shoes and crash pads for rent at the gym, and instructors also teach the occasional yoga and fitness class.
Though founded by a seasoned international climber, Mountain Madness is dedicated to getting amateurs out on the peaks. A squad of guides, adept at both climbing and teaching, lead excursions that include climbs and wilderness treks, all while imparting practical mountaineering skills. This holds true on their specialty North American alpine summit climbs that accommodate the varying paces of beginner and more experienced climbers. At areas such as Mount Baker and Mount Shuksan, groups navigate forests, active glaciers, rugged rock formations, and intersections with broken traffic lights as they advance to the top?either in one day or over a longer camping trip.
Adventure also permeates the rock-climbing courses, and an array of lead-rope-climbing excursions. Both set out to conquer single- and multi-pitch climbs over granite and other rock on routes in Washington Pass, Leavenworth, and beyond. Though the aforementioned trips are available year-round, avalanche-preparedness training and backcountry skiing excursions present different ways to delve into the winter wilderness.
The scenic mountain peaks in the Pacific Northwest help make rock climbing one of the most popular sports in the region. Stone Gardens: The Climbers Gym offers experts and beginners the chance to sharpen their skills, or get comfortable with the rules of the ropes. This expansive space in Ballard has 16,000 square feet of climbing space under a soaring 65-foot high ceiling, plus an outdoor wall, offering climbs ranging from easy scrambles to highly technical ascents. A primer course offers an info-packed first lesson on all of the basics, including tying in, standard climbing commands and safety essentials. Many other class options are available, including technique, belaying, classes for women, private instruction and children’s programs. Many first-timers end up becoming members and plugging into the vibrant community that surrounds Stone Gardens, while an attached retail shop outfits climbers with all of their needs.