When the climbers of Planet Granite say that community anchors everything they do, they have a history of outreach to back it up. After Castle Rock State Park appeared on California’s closure list, Planet Granite’s team quickly organized a fundraiser to save the sanctuary. They pledged $10,000 in matching funds, threw an auction, scheduled guest speakers, and obtained support from companies such as REI. In one night, they raised $20,725.
This kind of response has typified Planet Granite’s team since opening its first facility in 1994. One of the first climbing gyms in the country, Planet Granite has expanded to three gyms in Belmont, San Francisco, and Sunnyvale. The diverse array of climbing resources at each location led Popsugar to name the gym conglomerate one of the top five in San Francisco in 2011. At the Sunnyvale location, members scale 25,000 square feet of climbable surfaces that ascend from low bouldering terrains to 60-foot walls.
In keeping with their commitment to community, the staff tailors instruction and climbing routes to every ability level and affinity for hand sweatiness. They also supervise each gyms’ fully equipped fitness centers, ranging from CrossFit to yoga, which provides a peaceful counterbalance to the full-body workout of rock climbing.
Sponsored by Men's Health, the coed Urbanathlon race and festival is a fitting representation of the magazine's "work hard, play hard" mentality. Indeed, the courses are hard work. Whether competitors run the 3- to 5-mile sprint course or the 10- to 11-mile classic course, occasional obstacles, such as monkey bars, stairs, tires, barricades, and stacks of unfinished tax returns, stand in their way. But don't be too intimidated—Urbanathlon has created 4- and 12-week training plans to help participants get in shape for the race.
All the hard work will pay off though, thanks in part to a post-race party with DJ sets, refreshments, and swag from sponsors. Plus, competitors will have the opportunity to donate to the Challenged Athletes Foundation upon registration or with the $15 suggested donation for hair trims at the Paul Mitchell tent.
Richard Bothwell has hiked Mount Kilimanjaro, scaled Peru’s Cordillera Blanca, and surfed the waves of four continents. But perhaps his greatest feat was establishing the Outdoor Adventure Club in 1996, where he leads others in conquering nature's challenges. He and a staff of seasoned outdoors enthusiasts escort visitors of all fitness and experience levels in local excursions and international vacations, all centered on exploring the great outdoors. On the local level, the guides lead rock-climbing classes at Castle Rock State Park in addition to hiking, backpacking, whitewater-rafting, kayaking, and skydiving excursions. International adventure vacations expose folks to surfing in Costa Rica, rafting in Patagonia, and mountaineering in Peru. The expeditions marry the camaraderie of a social club with the expertise of professional guides, who are each trained in emergency wilderness care in case of squirrel attacks.
Extreme athletes banded together to design Reebok Spartan Races' intense courses orchestrated over standardized distances, each strewn with natural and man-made obstacles to test mind-body fitness, resilience, stamina, and strength, designed to leave participants exhausted and exhilarated. In waves of about 200, runners collect smudges and stains as they perform box jumps, haul heavy sandbags, and juke feral linebackers. Depending on where in the world they're participating, the course may be as short as 3 miles or, for extremely practiced athletes, as long as a full marathon.
Led by the founder and president of the San Francisco Ghost Society (as seen on the History Channel), Haunted Haight tours take a peek into the paranormal. Learn about ghosts and ghost hunting, visit sites made infamous by cult leaders, and drop in on areas that were once witness to historic, brutal crimes.
Rain is a constant threat in San Francisco, but the 14,000 square feet of climbing terrain at Mission Cliffs will get your blood pumping regardless of the weather. The gym features more than 80 ropes that secure climbers as they swing and scramble up 2,000 square feet of bouldering surfaces.