Certified by the American Mountain Guides Association, the staff of climbing instructors at Boston Rock Gym teach torsos how to ascend altitudes with indoor-, outdoor-, and youth-climbing activities. The savvy instructors lead the way around the facility’s more than 40 ropes, which set the stage for both group and private indoor lessons, as well as open climbing sessions in which self-guided climbers reach for neon-colored handgrips while being supported by auto-belay devices. Outdoors, students learn to navigate nature’s authentic slabs during lessons and clinics that start with the basics and graduate up to advanced ice-climb maneuvers. Additionally, the facility’s youth programs cater to smaller grips and aim to boost self-confidence while preparing children for the physical-fitness portion of the SAT.
Monadnock Glass Arts was shaped under the finely wrought fingertips of owner and flameworker Eric Duyette, who breathes more than a decade of experience into every blown sculpture, vase, and bulb. Classes introduce students to the art of flameworking borosilicate glass by creating marbles. pendants, beads, sea-life sculptures and various functioning & non-functioning lamp worked projects. Two torch workstations dominate the intimate studio environment where Duyette instructs with an emphasis on safety and proper ventilation and equipment use.
Towering 22 feet in the air, the main bouldering wall at Brooklyn Boulders Somerville stretches 140 feet across, leaving plenty of room for climbers to make their ascents. The wall is part of the facility's 28,000 square feet of climbable surfaces, which include a shorter bouldering area plus a 50-foot-high atrium complete with top-roping and lead-climbing routes.
These impressive features explain why Brooklyn Boulders Somerville has earned such glowing press, though that's not the whole story. The rest of the 40,000-square-foot center houses everything from climbing fitness rooms full of hang boards and pull-up bars to a yoga studio situated beneath a skylight. Other amenities include a weight room, a space dedicated to cardio equipment, and saunas for relaxing after a tough workout session.
The sauna isn't the only place to kick back at Brooklyn Boulders Somerville. The entire space is equipped with free WiFi?no surprise given the center's newly launched Active Collaborative Workspace, where groups gather to launch start-ups, finish work, or get cranking on school projects in a setting that's about as far from "cramped conference room" as it gets. Elsewhere, pop-up shops spotlight locally made clothes and wares, and a gallery showcases rotating artwork.
South Kingstown is the newest location opening in 2013 of Rock Spot Climbing’s multiple locations, where colorful footholds and route markers sprawl along artificial rocks create diverse climbing surfaces for every major discipline. Dozens of top-rope stations challenge climbers to scale the wall in safety, whether belayed by a human companion or hooked up to an auto-belay unit that reduces the risk of conversation. Meanwhile, others eschew ropes in order to tackle bouldering routes—low-altitude obstacles littered with arches, steep faces, and caves—and lead climbers set their own anchors as they scale the wall. The climbing courses vary for all skill levels, ranging from sheer faces with ample handholds to cliffs for expert climbers and lemmings. Cardio machines let athletes warm up or cool down between climbs, and instructors lead afterschool classes to teach kids the art of competitive climbing.
Even for the experienced zipliner, Alpine Adventures' zaplines present a challenge. They're part of the three-hour Super Skyrider tour, and bear only a superficial resemblance to sister ziplines. Instead of zooming in a straight line, you have to painstakingly navigate your way across, step by step or handstand by handstand. But don't fret: only two of the nine ziplines are zaplines. The other seven, including the Skyrider and TreeTop tours, allow adventurers to hitch up and zoom off at speeds of up to 60 miles per hour.
Slightly closer to sea level, Thrillsville Aerial Park promises additional wind-in-your-hair activities. Tube down a huge ramp and launch straight into the cushy BigAirBag, scale a cargo net, or whip along a smaller zipline and pretend you're a giant. Alternatively, off-road nature tours take place in six-wheel-drive, custom-built Pinzgauer vehicles, which scale the rocky Barron Mountain in any weather with up to 11 riders strapped in safely. During these exploits, guides fire off facts in between the music that pumps through an overhead stereo system.
Rebel Race's military-style obstacle courses challenge athletes from all backgrounds to shed humdrum day-to-day routines to experience the primal joys of mud, sweat and glory. Emerging from the mire in various states across the country, each Rebel Race packs its rucksack with tests of physical and mental toughness, rousing racers and washing machines alike to triumph in the face of sloppy opposition. After dashing through fire, climbing walls, and scaling mountains of hay, race participants bask in the collective kudos of parties, which include live entertainment, food, and beer for purchase. Camping options encourage participants and spectators to transform races into weekend getaways, while awards recognize each day's standout competitors and most-humble mud pits.