Climbers cling to the carefully placed hand grips, strategizing their way up the side of the rock-like cliff. They have come to Glastonbury to conquer the Central Rock Gym's 20,000 square-foot climbing wall, reaching 40' in height. The facility features climbing walls that range from beginner to advanced levels. Experts guide novice climbers through introductory classes, including the required beginner's class, or supervise more seasoned members scaling the walls' highest heights. Memberships unlock access to all four facilities, gear for the first month, and the use exercise equipment and weights. In addition, memberships grant access to fitness areas, yoga classes, instruction, and other benefits.
Even for the experienced zipliner, Alpine Adventures' zaplines present a challenge. They're part of the three-hour Super Skyrider tour, and bear only a superficial resemblance to sister ziplines. Instead of zooming in a straight line, you have to painstakingly navigate your way across, step by step or handstand by handstand. But don't fret: only two of the nine ziplines are zaplines. The other seven, including the Skyrider and TreeTop tours, allow adventurers to hitch up and zoom off at speeds of up to 60 miles per hour.
Slightly closer to sea level, Thrillsville Aerial Park promises additional wind-in-your-hair activities. Tube down a huge ramp and launch straight into the cushy BigAirBag, scale a cargo net, or whip along a smaller zipline and pretend you're a giant. Alternatively, off-road nature tours take place in six-wheel-drive, custom-built Pinzgauer vehicles, which scale the rocky Barron Mountain in any weather with up to 11 riders strapped in safely. During these exploits, guides fire off facts in between the music that pumps through an overhead stereo system.
Towering 22 feet in the air, the main bouldering wall at Brooklyn Boulders Somerville stretches 140 feet across, leaving plenty of room for climbers to make their ascents. The wall is part of the facility's 28,000 square feet of climbable surfaces, which include a shorter bouldering area plus a 50-foot-high atrium complete with top-roping and lead-climbing routes.
These impressive features explain why Brooklyn Boulders Somerville has earned such glowing press, though that's not the whole story. The rest of the 40,000-square-foot center houses everything from climbing fitness rooms full of hang boards and pull-up bars to a yoga studio situated beneath a skylight. Other amenities include a weight room, a space dedicated to cardio equipment, and saunas for relaxing after a tough workout session.
The sauna isn't the only place to kick back at Brooklyn Boulders Somerville. The entire space is equipped with free WiFi?no surprise given the center's newly launched Active Collaborative Workspace, where groups gather to launch start-ups, finish work, or get cranking on school projects in a setting that's about as far from "cramped conference room" as it gets. Elsewhere, pop-up shops spotlight locally made clothes and wares, and a gallery showcases rotating artwork.
South Kingstown is the newest location opening in 2013 of Rock Spot Climbing’s multiple locations, where colorful footholds and route markers sprawl along artificial rocks create diverse climbing surfaces for every major discipline. Dozens of top-rope stations challenge climbers to scale the wall in safety, whether belayed by a human companion or hooked up to an auto-belay unit that reduces the risk of conversation. Meanwhile, others eschew ropes in order to tackle bouldering routes—low-altitude obstacles littered with arches, steep faces, and caves—and lead climbers set their own anchors as they scale the wall. The climbing courses vary for all skill levels, ranging from sheer faces with ample handholds to cliffs for expert climbers and lemmings. Cardio machines let athletes warm up or cool down between climbs, and instructors lead afterschool classes to teach kids the art of competitive climbing.
Extreme athletes banded together to design Spartan Races' intense courses orchestrated over standardized distances, each strewn with natural and man-made obstacles to test mind-body fitness, resilience, stamina, and strength, designed to leave participants exhausted and exhilarated. In waves of 200, runners collect smudges and stains as they perform box jumps, haul heavy sandbags, and juke feral linebackers. Depending on where in the world they're participating, the course may be as short as 3 miles or, for extremely practiced athletes, as long as a full marathon.
Certified by the American Mountain Guides Association, the staff of climbing instructors at Boston Rock Gym teach torsos how to ascend altitudes with indoor-, outdoor-, and youth-climbing activities. The savvy instructors lead the way around the facility’s more than 40 ropes, which set the stage for both group and private indoor lessons, as well as open climbing sessions in which self-guided climbers reach for neon-colored handgrips while being supported by auto-belay devices. Outdoors, students learn to navigate nature’s authentic slabs during lessons and clinics that start with the basics and graduate up to advanced ice-climb maneuvers. Additionally, the facility’s youth programs cater to smaller grips and aim to boost self-confidence while preparing children for the physical-fitness portion of the SAT.