A technicolor wall flecked with holds rises to the heavens inside the Vertical Heaven Climbing facility?or at least it would if the ceiling didn't prevent it from doing so. The 3,800-square-foot indoor rock-climbing destination invites climbers of all ages and abilities to tackle the many routes and challenges braided over its geometric face, which at times force them into inverted angles and heroic stretches to challenge every muscle in the body. Though this may sound treacherous to the uninitiated, 18 inches of padded flooring mean few injuries ever arise. The facility also invites climbers to tackle the mind-twisting, muscle-burning sport of bouldering?a nearer-to-the-ground version that doesn't require ropes, a partner, or a good-luck kiss from a mountain goat.
Trail And Mountain's owner inherited a love for the outdoors from his father, an avid hunter. Though the son never cared for hunting, he has followed that passion for nature for the rest of his life, honing wilderness navigation skills by hiking landscapes from the Catskill Mountains to the hills of North Carolina. Today, he marries this experience with certifications in first aid in a quest to introduce others to California's wilderness. During single- or multiple-day excursions in Santa Barbara County and beyond, he helms tours and helps coordinate activities for tourists ranging from day hikes to whale watching to paragliding.
The colorful hand and footholds that dot the sharply angled cliffs, overhangs, and arches at Santa Barbara Rock Gym almost beg visitors to climb them. The more than 8,500 square feet of climbable space, designed by El Dorado Climbing Walls, feature enough varied routes and ominous Viking runes to challenge climbers of all ability levels. This range of terrain and attention to detail is essential?the facility is Santa Barbara's only dedicated indoor rock-climbing gym.
Owner Will Russ, a former surfing photographer from Houston, created this space to bring the rocky wilderness indoors and foster a sense of adventure among climbers in a controlled environment. His instructors, each certified by the Climbing Wall Association, teach classes introducing basic belaying and sport-lead techniques. They also delve into the advanced skills required for bouldering and training mountain goats to fetch dropped carabiners.