Climbing in Sierra Madre

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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.

305 N Santa Anita Ave
Arcadia,
CA
US

The raw nature of Southern California is a painting turned into reality. Mountains kiss the sky, hills roll across the horizon, and canyons cut deep into the region's red, cherry-hued rock. SoCal Adventure Company's guides take groups to all of these destinations. With gear and healthy snacks in tow, they lead beginners and experienced adrenaline junkies alike on day trips ranging from rock climbing to canyoneering, a mode of adventure hiking that mixes in some thrilling rappels.

The guides lead groups on hikes through the mountains, help them climb top ropes, and rappel down cliffs through waterfalls. Occasionally, they even pause to swim through the pools at the canyon's bottom. Additionally, SoCal Adventure Company's guides always look for new ways to explore. To that end, they lead a trip of the week with an ever-changing itinerary.

475 Foothill Blvd.
La Cañada Flintridge,
CA
US

Harnessing yourself to a rope and rappelling into a canyon is challenging enough--but what if on the way down, you run into a waterfall? Since 1999, ATS AdventureWorks has prepared students for exactly this type of outdoor challenge, with courses in canyoneering, mountaineering, and rock climbing. Adventurers can also try their hand at these vertical sports on the company's indoor ropes courses, or on guided trips to rock formations and climbable celebrity homes throughout Southern California. The company's veteran team oversees every outing and class, keeping novices safe and sharing tips on gear and safety. And even when they're not working with students, they're navigating rough terrain and setting up specialty TV rigging for shows such The Amazing Race, The Bachelor, and The Biggest Loser.

417-B W. Foothill Blvd. #528,,
Glendora,
CA
US

Blaine Eastcott's love of the outdoors is rooted in fond childhood memories of family camping trips. On one such trip, Blaine's teenage self impulsively climbed a 100-foot rock only to soon find himself struck by panic high up on the rock face. He was paralyzed by fear, until a surge of adrenaline gave him the courage needed to scramble the final 10 feet up. This ordeal spurred him to take rock-climbing classes?and eventually led to his current position as the president of Rockreation. His three adrenaline-inducing arenas challenge climbers of all skill levels with more than 28,500 total square feet of climbing terrain, composed of jagged cliffs, bouldering nooks, and craggy archways. The faux-mountain range mimics the conditions of real rocks with indentions, overhangs, and eagle's nests.

The gyms devote one-third of their space to a bouldering area, which blends into a top-rope course fraught with varying angles, and a large lead area with an overhanging arch. Across these angles, passionate instructors with extensive outdoors experience?and a background in conversational mountain goat?guide students through the Fight Gravity program. The three-class series focuses on belaying basics, and progresses through technique instruction and bouldering. They also lead seasonal kids' camps where tiny humans can explore the routes, or plunge on a big swing and zipline. The gyms also have a separate area with machines, traditional weights, and cardio equipment for members who want to not only climb rocks, but also lift heavy ones above their heads.

11866 La Grange Ave
Los Angeles,
CA
US

Every summer, the Trans-Sierra Club takes four groups on a 75-mile trek, across their namesake mountain range to the highest altitude peak in the contiguous United States: Mount Whitney. The mountain measures 14,500 feet high, and while it has been summited by more than one fifth grader, don't be fooled. The route to the top is far from child's play. Participants must hike 8-12 miles a day and carry their own food and camping gear. However, the spectacular views?and the sense of accomplishment?that await at the summit are worth the sweaty journey.

18605 Devonshire Street
Los Angeles,
CA
US

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.

3551 Trousdale Parkway
Los Angeles,
CA
US