Outdoors: Climbing the Walls

Roddy Scheer

If you're climbing the walls in your house with all the bad weather this winter, maybe you should check out one of Seattle's indoor rock climbing gyms. Vertical World (daily rate for non-members: $16; monthly membership: $70) started it all off when it opened the doors on the world's first indoor climbing gym in Ballard back in 1987. These days the company has gyms in five locations around Puget Sound. While its original Ballard location is still in operation, the company will unveil a new state of the art climbing gym a few blocks away within a year. Another great option is Stone Gardens (daily rate for non-members: $16; monthly membership: $70) in Ballard near the Chittenden Locks. And if you just want to climb once or try out the sport in general, nothing beats a quick trip up the Pinnacle at the REI Flagship Store ($7/climb for members, $20 for non-members; advance reservations recommended). Also, UW students and faculty (and spouses) can get into the Crags Climbing Center ($3 day with current UW ID), which boasts 5,000+ square feet of rock climbing challenges and 42 foot high walls. So get off that couch and head for the heavens--or at least the ceiling joist.