To break into a glamorous goat-whispering career, prospective hilltop therapists must first learn to reach their patients. Become one with the ever-hungered hilltopper with today's Groupon to Planet Rock in Pontiac or Ann Arbor. Choose between two options:
- For $44, you get the adult starter package and a two-week unlimited-climbing pass to use within 30 days of your initial visit (an $89.50 value).
- For $19, you get the adult starter package and a one-day climbing pass to use within 30 days of your initial visit (a $42 value).
The starter package includes basic instruction and rental of shoes, harness, chalk bag, and belay device on the first day, however this Groupon does not include rentals for subsequent visits.
After one of Planet Rock's half-salamander, half-mountain-goat instructors teaches you the finer points of rock-climbing safety and corrects common beginner mistakes—burrowing into the earth, getting trapped inside the rock, walking up the wall horizontally—you'll be free to explore all the ways one can climb a rock. Besides classic top-rope and belay climbing, you can also doff the harness and do a little bouldering close to the ground in one of Planet Rock's caves. To feel like you're training for Ninja Warrior, you'll want to test your rock-talons on the rock-tread wall, a treadmill climbing wall that rotates as you climb it according to the speed and angle you set. Once your first day of instruction and climbing is finished, you'll still have a pass to try it again either for another day or for a full two weeks.
A day of instruction and climbing at Planet Rock will help prepare you for the inevitable day when you're dangling from a sheer cliff and must hang on until the supervillain above you finishes monologuing his master plan. Call ahead or arrive at least 2.5 hours before closing to allow enough time for instruction. You must sign a waiver before climbing.
Planet Rock challenges novice and experienced climbers alike to discover the depth of their willpower reservoirs. Towering as high as five stories tall, the ever-changing climbing walls offer climbers a sense of adrenaline-pumping accomplishment and allow short folks to finally see what grows on top of the human head. And to help climbers reach these great heights, a team of experienced instructors lead free-climb programs, summer camps for kids ages 4 and older, and classes for those of all ages.
But it's not all rock climbing, lead climbing, and bouldering. At the Madison Heights location, the altitude addicts have debuted an aerial silks program, in which they teach students to scale up and slide down long, flowing silks—an activity that can improve the balance and strengthen the core of any participant. The instructors also work one-on-one with climbers who have special needs, assisting individuals with hearing, visual, or physical impairments, and the climbing gym has hosted the climbing portion of the Extremity Games for individuals with amputations.