Climbers cling to large, composite structures, strategizing their way up the side of a rocky cliff. They have come to conquer Climbmax Climbing Gym's myriad rock-face combinations and master the art of blindfolded belaying on thick, padded floors. Before challenging themselves on the climb-through cave or scaling an overhang, climbers slip into a harness and climbing shoes for safety.
In addition to climbing areas geared toward beginners and advanced climbers, a children's area features its own pint-sized climb-through cave where youngsters learn to appreciate all aspects of the stimulating sport. Thick padding covers the floors of each climbing area, ensuring safe landings and comfortable, celebratory belly flops from the wall's summit.
Since hosting their first class in 1989, Arizona Climbing and Adventure School's instructors have sent an estimated 37,000 students scurrying up the earth's craggy cliffs. Instead of learning climbing in an indoor facility, participants climb nature’s precipices outdoors upon the Southwest's cliffs and mountains. Adventurer and school director Mark Brontsema guides his students and fellow instructors by a philosophy that emphasizes self-reliance, goal setting, and teamwork. He now brings more than three decades to his post as school director, taking time from a busy schedule that includes writing gear reviews for the New York Times.
The school offers a large number of courses that target students of varying skill levels and reveal technique secrets in small groups of two to six students. Classes may focus on rappelling and anchors, guide services, and equipment-free bouldering, which relies solely on the climber's hands, feet, and retractable suction cups. Adventure courses include day trips and overnight climbing excursions, while special workshops address topics such as backpacking, being an ecologically responsible climber and hiker, and using GPS devices.
It?s an average day on the streets of Old Town Scottsdale, where cars and pedestrians amble along the scenic sites. Suddenly, a crazy-looking contraption emerges from an intersection with six passengers on either side pedaling in the open air. This vehicle, which is inspired by cycling apparatuses Europe, is Tour De Tavern?s pride and joy. Guided by an experienced driver, the passengers glide along at speeds of up to 8 miles per hour and take in the sites around them to the tunes coming from a built-in sound system with an iPod hook up. In addition to daily tours, the business caters to bachelor parties and corporate team-building events.
Love’n The Kitchen’s experienced staff members and a rotating lineup of guest chefs, including a James Beard Award winner, take up to 50 students on gustatory journeys crafting three-course meals. Each class springboards off a theme, such as breakfast in bed, gluten-free dishes, and six-ingredient recipes, as up to 50 audience members look on, pick up tips, and ask the chefs questions. Students—who range from gourmands to kitchen-shy newbies—leave with the recipes from the class so that they can re-create the meals at home. The school also offers private and offsite classes, leading cooking parties in patrons’ homes, on outdoor kitchens, or during food-truck drag races.
Epic Adventures AZ sends visitors on memorable tours of the Arizona wilderness, traveling by jeep, mountain bike, and even scalable cliffs. On their explorations, clients can rappel down the McDowell Mountains, see ancient Apache petroglyphs first-hand, or walk through an Old West mine and hotel.
During Joe Czerwinski?s 21-year tenure climbing rocks, he has designed competitions for events such as the Asian X-Games and Junior X-Games, as well as high-profile companies such as ESPN and Disney. As a competitor, he has ranked in the top 20 for every single adult-level national event he participated in and has represented the United States as both a coach and an athlete. This vast knowledge helps him run Focus Climbing Center, where he strives to maintain a fun environment for his clients. Inside the center, thrill seekers can find massive 30-foot-tall climbing walls and boulder above 24-inch thick gymnastics floors. Each wall is adorned with colorful faux rocks that people can grip and step on during their ascent to the top.