If the Indiana Jones films have taught us anything, it is that in order to have a successful teaching career, one must train one's upper body to be adept at dangling. Channel your inner action hero with today's Groupon: for $25, you get a three-visit pass (a $45 value) that includes an orientation session, equipment rental (an $18 value), three group bouldering classes (a $30 value), access to all equipment, and the ability to drop in on all other fitness classes at Bridges Rock Gym in El Cerrito (a $93 total value). Participants must sign a waiver. Group bouldering classes take place on Mondays and Wednesdays at 7 pm.
Cliff connoisseurs clamber across sloping boulders and overhanging caves in Bridges Rock Gym's expansive climbing-wall arena, where heart-pumping fitness classes and cutting-edge training equipment suit physiques of every type. On a course setting designed by ESPN X Games medalist Chris Bloch, group bouldering classes help fledgling rock crawlers build upper-body strength and problem-solving skills as they skitter up rocks, confident that 12 inches of floor padding will cushion their falls and shout hearty cheers of encouragement when touched. A dedicated slacklining area helps climbers develop agile feet, which navigate a flexible tightrope as knees, ankles, and core muscles strengthen in their struggle for balance. Additional fitness classes such as yoga, Zumba, and kickboxing strengthen bodies that prefer to remain planted firmly on the ground.
After climbing cravings have been sated, bodies can partake of nourishing smoothies and organic fare (not included with this Groupon) in the gym's café, which also has free WiFi. Customers can purchase additional Groupons to accommodate companions or adopted families of mountain goats. The gym also offers complimentary childcare during classes and climbing sessions; call ahead to reserve a time. If newly addicted rock scalers decide to join the gym, the $85 initiation fee is waived.
Bridges Rock Gym
A chalky hand swings over the top of the wall, grasping onto the red hold embedded in its surface. After a tense moment, a second hand swings up, pulling the rest of the climber's body up with it. Having successfully scaled the boulder, the climber scurries back down the wall she has just conquered, swapping places with her spotter below.
This cycle repeats throughout the day at Bridges Rock Gym, spurred on by a crew of climbing enthusiasts and instructors who initiate people into the low-altitude sport of bouldering. That form of climbing emphasizes solving climbing problems and chasing archaeologists through ancient caves. The gym unleashes visitors' inner mountain goats with their well-maintained climbing facilities, including an overhanging indoor-climbing cave that thoroughly punishes muscles into growth and top-rope climbing walls that help beginners get the hang of scaling the crag.
While specializing in the art of ascents, Bridges also bolsters patron fitness. Yoga and fitness classes, as well as a fleet of cardio equipment, facilitate heart-strengthening workouts. Waves of free WiFi allow mountaineers uninterrupted access to videos of their pet rocks, best enjoyed with a fresh house-made juice or sandwich in the gym's lounge.