South Boston is the newest location of Rock Spot Climbing’s multiple locations, where colorful footholds and route markers sprawl along artificial rocks create diverse climbing surfaces for every major discipline. Dozens of top-rope stations challenge climbers to scale the wall in safety, whether belayed by a human companion or hooked up to an auto-belay unit that reduces the risk of conversation. Meanwhile, others eschew ropes in order to tackle bouldering routes on low-altitude obstacles littered with arches, steep faces, and caves. The climbing courses vary for all skill levels, ranging from sheer faces with ample handholds to cliffs for expert climbers and lemmings. The South Boston location offers free, off-street parking as well as an indoor parking area for bikes. Rock Spot Climbing also features skilled instructors that lead afterschool classes to teach kids the art of competitive climbing.
Michael Donofrio, the founder and lead guide of Vertical World Adventures, maneuvers his limbs up vertical surfaces of all shapes and sizes. Since 1996, he has guided thousands of people on ice, rock, and mountaineering trips to destinations as close as Crow Hill in Leominster State Forest and as remote as the far-flung mountains of the American West. No matter the theme or location of the exhibition, Michael and his team of seasoned guides have successfully guided outdoor adventure trips for people of all ages and experience levels.
In addition to plotting trips and staying safe, guides also make sure that their charges have the skills to surmount even the craggiest cliffs through a full slate of climbing classes. Scaled for all experience levels, classes focus on overcoming challenges and improving communication skills. Popular courses include Basic Mountaineering, Learn to Ice Climb Locally, and Self-Rescue Skills, which imparts techniques for escaping the belay and using prusiks to ascend the rope.
Towering 22 feet in the air, the main bouldering wall at Brooklyn Boulders Somerville stretches 140 feet across, leaving plenty of room for climbers to make their ascents. The wall is part of the facility's 28,000 square feet of climbable surfaces, which include a shorter bouldering area plus a 50-foot-high atrium complete with top-roping and lead-climbing routes.
These impressive features explain why Brooklyn Boulders Somerville has earned such glowing press, though that's not the whole story. The rest of the 40,000-square-foot center houses everything from climbing walls to fitness rooms, to a yoga studio situated beneath a skylight. Other amenities include a weight room, a space dedicated to cardio equipment, and saunas for relaxing after a tough workout session.
The sauna isn't the only place to kick back at Brooklyn Boulders Somerville. The entire space is equipped with free WiFi—no surprise given the center's newly launched Collaborative Workspace, where groups gather to launch start-ups, finish work, or get cranking on school projects in a setting that's about as far from "cramped conference room" as it gets. Elsewhere, pop-up shops spotlight locally made clothes and wares, and a gallery showcases rotating artwork. See a video of the Brooklyn Boulders Queensbridge facilities here.
A climber slowly ascends a steep rockface, supporting all his weight on the smallest of footholds. Ignoring the heights, he searches for another place to grasp, finding purchase on an oval stone. His final step to the top rewards him with the thrilling satisfaction of beating the beastly incline and views of children running across the floor.
Carabiner's Indoor Climbing rock gym, one of the tallest in New England, brings the sport of rock scaling to urban residents. Walls that range from 15- to 65-feet tall grant visitors of all skill levels climbing routes that strengthen muscles, improve body awareness, and serve as a training ground for the NYPD’s Spider-Man division.
Certified climbers start visitors on their paths to climbing autonomy with personal belay classes that cover basics and safety tips. The gyms also offer a full-schedule of fitness classes, including yoga, Pilates, Zumba, pole dancing, martial arts, and family fitness classes.
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Climbers of all ages and skill levels scamper across roughly 22,000 square feet of climbable space inside Brooklyn Boulders's rock-climbing gym. A dedicated route-setting staff organizes color-coded problems on craggy, angled top-rope walls as well as bouldering walls that reach up to 15 feet. To help visitors master these walls, seasoned instructors train them in three basic types of climbing: bouldering, top-rope climbing, or lead climbing. They teach these skills through classes such as the peak-performance program, which combines seven classes in lead climbing, bouldering, and cross-training to accelerate students' learning. To ease stressed muscles and promote calm reflection, staffers also lead all-ages yoga lessons and monthly yoga workshops.
Brooklyn Boulders also injects creativity into its special events, which encourage visitors to climb in costume around Halloween and take part in competitions during which they pretend the floor has turned to lava. Staffers also invite local graffiti artists to display their murals inside, work to preserve regional climbing areas by partnering with Access Fund, and coordinate programs through its BKB Foundation—a nonprofit that provides greater access to rock climbing for kids and adults.