The road less traveled is often the more fulfilling one, especially when it bypasses Robert Frost’s tiger pits. Diverge from a rote route with today’s Groupon: for $75, you get a rock-climbing package at Upper Limits, valid at the West County and downtown St. Louis locations (up to a $205 value). The package includes the following:
- One month of membership (up to an $85 value)
- One month of harness rentals (a $90 value)
- One Rock Gym 101 class (a $30 value)
Upper Limits sends climbers scrambling up and across more than 24,500 square feet between the two locations of climbing surface. Novices soak up two hours of fundamental techniques in the Rock Gym 101 class, picking up safety procedures, belaying skills, and knot tying before hitting the climbing courses’ slabs and arêtes. Vaulted arches, massive boulders, and steep inclines tower over both locations’ airy climbing chambers, which range from 20 to 40 feet tall. Members can stop in and suit up in a rented harness each time they visit, rather than being promised equipment only once they reach the top of the wall.
Chris and Pam Schmick's passion for climbing inspired them to clear tons of rotting soybeans out of an abandoned grain silo in Illinois and transform it into a state-of-the-art climbing facility. Now, in St. Louis, the duo has converted a 10,000-square-foot historic train station into a climber’s haven. They installed massive rock arches that soar 35 feet in the air, and dotted the climbing walls with a diverse mix of slabs, cracks, and dihedrals. After their successful expansion in St. Louis, the pair acquired a 14,000-square-foot gym space in West County in which they designed a full-service climbing paradise. All three gyms cater to beginner climbers, with 18-foot-tall bouldering walls and 14 autobelays. The gyms furnish climbers with showers and a locker room, and stock their pro shops with top-tier equipment from Black Diamond and La Sportiva.