Vital Climbing Gym combines the facilities of a rock-climbing center with the comforts of a coffee lounge, giving members a place to strengthen their bodies and relax their minds. The 24-hour gym entices members to climb at any time of day without concern for injury on rocky walls that are built for bouldering, a style of climbing that keeps climbers low to the ground and requires no safety equipment or backup support. Before or after climbing sessions, clients can relax on a comfortable couch, sip a hot beverage from the espresso machine, connect to the gym’s WiFi network, and talk technique with fellow climbers.
Extreme athletes banded together to design Spartan Races' intense courses orchestrated over standardized distances, each strewn with natural and man-made obstacles to test mind-body fitness, resilience, stamina, and strength, designed to leave participants exhausted and exhilarated. In waves of 200, runners collect smudges and stains as they perform box jumps, haul heavy sandbags, and juke feral linebackers. Depending on where in the world they're participating, the course may be as short as 3 miles or, for extremely practiced athletes, as long as a full marathon.
The bulk of TruHold's indoor facility pops with colorful holds peppering a looming rock wall. Arranged by levels clearly marked "0" through "5," the grips skirt along the face of a specially designed, angular climbing wall that shifts from a steep 50 degrees to a beginner-friendly 10 degrees. Built for the bouldering style—ascending diverse terrain quickly without ropes or harnesses while dodging boulders hurled by an angry cyclops—the wall juts out over a lushly padded crash mat that cushions climbers. Experienced and professional bouldering climbers offer clinics, classes, gear rental, and open-climb times at their 4,200-square-foot indoor facility, all in the pursuit of welcoming uninitiated climbers into the fold.
How the ropes course is enjoyed is entirely up to each person—participants can push themselves to the limit or just spend an afternoon on the oversized playground built for joy and laughs. Choose to start the adventure on the ground or the low-ropes course, or tight walk straight across to the high-ropes challenge. The ropes course can go from two to 35 feet in the air, but no matter how high you go, safety is ensured through harnesses, helmets, ropes, and other precautions. Once tight-rope walking is successfully mastered, fly down to the ground on the zip lines, practice conquering inclines on the challenge climbing tower, or make clockwork out of the massive pendulum swing. There must be a minimum of four people per session, so if you can’t convince your scared sisters and nervous nephews to join, you'll be paired up with new, random friends.
Arcadian Ascents helps students to master the art of open-air rock climbing with guided excursions and onsite lessons for all experience levels. The maximum student-to-instructor ratio for each class is 4:1, and all guides and instructors have earned certifications as single pitch instructors from the American Mountain Guides Association and as wilderness first responders from the Wilderness Medicine Institute. Private and group courses cover material from basic rock movement to custom-designed courses on speed climbing, self-rescue, and advanced rope technique. Arcadian Ascents provides all equipment for most courses, including climbing shoes, helmets, ropes, and mountain-goat bribes.
Rock-ascending buffs can also expand their experience and strive for new personal achievements on guided trips to Mexico or Spain. Veteran climber and guide Josh Wieberg leads his charges with experience climbing from Canada to Italy and wields his BA in history and philosophy to teach in public schools when not scaling their brick walls.
Presented in part by Dan Clark, also known as Nitro, of American Gladiator fame, the Gladiator Rock'n Run is a unique and challenging event, pairing an obstacle-heavy running course and an attempt at breaking the record for the world’s longest mud pit with post-race entertainment, including beer, music, and food. Those prepared to race must dance through tires, army-crawl through mud, and clamber up rope ladders to avoid barrels thrown by giant apes. The roar of spectators rings throughout the course as bystanders cheer on runners to inspire strong finishes.