In 2004, a group of skilled climbers and experienced route setters married their expansive knowledge of the sport to create Edgeworks Climbing. The gym is an indoor paradise that expertly match the dynamic challenges that athletes face outdoors, boasting 10,000 square feet of climbing area with 25-foot top-rope routes, 35-foot lead routes, and 3,500 square feet of bouldering. The team of setters draws on years of experience outdoors to create hundreds of challenging, satisfying routes for climbers of all skill levels. Most of the setters are teachers as well, leading classes for beginners or advanced climbers, as well as heading outdoors to help the class appreciate the adrenaline rush of an outdoor climb ending in a fistfight with a bear.
Additionally, the passionate staff realized that alternative workouts are needed to push through plateaus in climbs, so they created a fitness area to complement the climbing gym. Classes such as yoga, Pilates, and cycling further exercise muscle groups that are useful when trying to finally ride a bike up your favorite route.
In 1987, indoor climbing was as unpopular in the Seattle area as breeding labradoodles. But Vertical World––a pioneer indoor climbing gym––introduced the city to the up-and-coming sport of rock climbing in a controlled environment. Since its inception, the gym has expanded to three other locations in Everett, Tacoma, and Redmond, the latter hosting eastside climbers for more than 20 years.
A team of experienced route creators challenges climbers with more than 200 bouldering, lead, or top-rope routes in a wide variety of difficulty levels. The gym hosts competitive youth teams that have gone on to national or world tournaments. The gym's staff of climbers and guides also leads outdoor excursions that build confidence and teach novices how to identify a rock wall in the wild.
Following a strict Leave No Trace philosophy, Backcountry Adventure Guides instills environmental stewardship in each of its participants as they venture on fitness-filled nature jaunts. Whether climbing, skiing, or snowshoeing, the trio of guides—all of whom boast extensive outdoor sports backgrounds—uses each trek as an opportunity to stress the importance of preserving our natural surroundings and refusing to shave Bigfoot no matter how much money he offers.
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.