Experience is the single best way to boost rock-climbing prowess outside of tracking down a bite-happy radioactive spider. Get some gamma-free climb time with today's Groupon: for $44, you get a four-hour rock-climbing course and guided outdoor climb (a $90 value) from Adventure Out, which meets at Castle Rock State Park in Los Gatos.
Adventure Out’s one-day climbing clinics streamline outdoor thrill seeking with four hours of safe, instructor-guided training complete with all the equipment necessary to introduce students of every skill level to the exhilaration of outdoor rock climbing. The adventure-thirsty can chug one of four climbing courses like a Big Gulp of adrenaline-pumping geological exploration: Rock Climbing I, Rock Climbing II, Rock Climbing Anchors, or Rock Climbing Technique—Bouldering.
The Rock Climbing I introductory class fills future rock-grapplers' heads with invaluable safety tips and familiarizes them with the equipment, basic knots, and climbing commands. (A women-only version of Rock Climbing I is also available.) Stone steppers with 1–6 months of gym climbing experience up the ante on ascension techniques with the Rock Climbing II class, which begins with a review before traversing the terrain of easy and intermediate climbs, putting fundamentals into rock-hugging action. The Rock Climbing Anchors class imparts rope-tying knowledge to semi-experienced climbers so they can set up their own climbing systems without having to hire a guide or a badge-seeking boy scout. Students set out for scenic heights in the Intermediate Climbing Technique—Bouldering course, practicing footwork and judicious movement. Each clinic boasts a maximum class size of 6–10 people, ensuring each climber gets the one-on-one instruction needed to develop rock-scrambling skills that make mountain goats bleat in envy.
A complete list of session dates can be found on Adventure Out's activity calendar.
When Cliff Hodges, the founder and CEO of Adventure Out, graduated from MIT with a degree in electrical engineering, he knew a traditional desk job wasn't for him. According to Technology Review, he quickly gave up his engineering career for the wireless world of the great outdoors, where he began to hike, climb, and surf his way around the world, always staying true to his philosophy of environmental respect and protection.
His travels and business accomplishments have gained some measure of notoriety: he's coached on MTV's Made, consulted for ABC News, and was selected as one of four winners of the 2011 Santa Cruz County Civic Service Award: The Nextie. Adventure Out was also identified for meeting survival-skills training standards by New York Times best-selling author Tim Ferriss in The 4-Hour Chef.
Today, he leads excursions into the California wilderness to teach backpacking and survival skills, including the tracking of animals and wild ice-cream trucks, and they also guide novices through surfing, rock-climbing, and mountain-biking sojourns. Through fundraising, Adventure Out has helped save Castle Rock State Park from closure and a portion of their proceeds is put directly back into the park.