Climbers cling to carefully placed hand grips, strategizing their way up the side of the rock-like cliff. They have come to conquer the indoor mountains rising up inside Central Rock Gym's four indoor facilities, which are spread throughout New England. At each, experts guide novice climbers through introductory classes 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 of exercise equipment and weights. In addition to climbing and conditioning, members can also take advantage of fitness classes such as yoga and Pilates. Each gym also welcomes non-members, whether they're trying things out with a day pass or interested in events including birthday parties, summer camps, and corporate team-building breakouts.
Within Stone Age Rock Gym's indoor facility, 4,500 square feet of textured climbing walls help visitors ascend to new heights. Bouldering, 32-foot lead routes, and top-rope climbing areas await gym guests, surrounding them in technicolor handholds that creep up the walls at challenging angles. Elsewhere, a simulated ice-climbing wall absorbs the blows of axes, and a gear shop preps climbers to ascend walls with the dexterity of Spiderman.
A staff of certified guides lead classes that teach students as young as 6 the fundamental skills needed to ascend simulated peaks. Alternatively, the experts head up guided climbing trips to sites across the state. They help eager climbers scale the 30-foot Wolf Rock in Mansfield Hollow and reach the Sasquatch hugs awaiting them atop Ragged Mountain's 120-foot cliff.
Intent on combining the recreational comfort of an outdoors ropes course with the comfort of an indoor facility, the structural engineer behind Soarin' Indoors designed a traditional aerial adventure park that isn't subject to the whims of inclement weather. Two separate courses fill the 12,000-square-foot space, including one built 2.5 feet off the ground and the other towering 12 feet in the air. Each route consists of a series of challenges?including wobbling rope bridges, high wires, trapezes, cargo nets, and zip lines?which can be overcome with a combination of problem-solving skills, balance, and stamina. Although youngsters and newcomers might want to try the lower course first, each route was designed to be accessible for first-time visitors as well as experienced climbers. The danger of falling is minimized by the harnesses guests wear, which are attached to overhead safety lines with two auto-locking carabiners, turning any slips into a fall of inches as opposed to feet. As further proof of their dedication to safety, trained guides will routinely walk the course grounds and offer tips, guidance, and stock investment advice to anyone in need.
Colorful knobs and grips jut out from City Climb's angular white walls, guiding climbers of all experience levels along routes designed by USAC-certified setters. These vertical treks are made safe by ropes, which are looped into climbers' harnesses and held below by belayers. No harness is necessary to clamber along the curves of a bouldering cave, however—or while army crawling the entire length of the floor. Students can bring their own equipment or rent climbing shoes, harnesses, and chalk bags at the gym.
The expert climbing instructors at CT Rock Gym guide cliff-scalers through the ins and outs of rock climbing and belaying during a 90-minute On Belay! class. Teachers introduce students to climbing equipment, movements and techniques, and the basics of belaying, which involves clambering up overhangs while tethered via rope to a partner. Two automatic belay machines help solo climbers achieve the heights of dynamic duos, and the staff ensures safety by checking each person prior to their belaying foray and leading everyone through typhoon disaster drills. A two-week membership allows patrons to develop their climbing prowess by exploring a bouldering area, which includes a cave, and shimmying up artfully designed rope paths that rotate every 2.5 months—the time it takes to hatch a rhinoceros.
From rock climbing, to kayaking, to camping, Tekoa Mountain Outdoors' founder Tim Vogel views the great outdoors as a combination of playground and classroom, a place where adults and children can learn by doing. Tim has been teaching and guiding adventure activities for more than 25 years, and his experience aids him as he plans adventurous exhibitions, such as hiking along the Appalachian Trail or searching for lost car keys in the Wards Gregory Cave System. During outings, Tim teaches his students both introductory and advanced techniques. Along with a team of certified guides, Tim advocates passion for the outdoors and love for every blade of glass, even the stubby crab variety. In addition to working with the Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts of America, the staff leads several education programs that teach youth valuable team-building lessons. They also run the WOLF Program, which cultivates new crops of professional leaders within the expedition and adventure industry.