Yosemite may be the holy grail of rock climbing, but the Bay Area is a mecca of indoor-climbing opportunities. Bridges Rock Gym, a relative newcomer to the Bay Area climbing scene, can teach you the ropes-without the ropes! At Bridges it’s all about the bouldering, baby. Gear up and get a few pointers from the staff before making your first ascent. With numerous walls to choose from, grunt and grimace up a VB (beginner) or V11 (highly advanced) route. There’s no need to worry about sketchy landings: the entire floor is a cushy crash pad. If your arms are cooked after bouldering (and they probably will be), venture over to the slackline setup where the basic concept of putting one foot in front of the other is easier said than done. Round out the experience with a yoga session or free weights, and wash it all down with an organic smoothie from the in-house café. El Capitan is cool, but good luck finding a jasmine honey smoothie at Camp 4!
Bridges Rock Gym is located in El Cerrito. From the I-80 Central Ave. exit (14A), turn right at Central Ave., right onto Belmont Ave. and right onto San Diego St. A one-day pass is $10 or $15. Check out their calendar and try to plan a visit that coincides with a Bouldering Skills Clinic session or yoga class.