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San Francisco’s best indoor climbing

No one likes going to gym. It’s smelly, sweaty, crowded, and dangerous. But sometimes, whether it’s because of a tight schedule or a torrential downpour, indoor fitness is necessary.

Instead of waiting to use a sweat-covered lat machine at Planet Fitness, check out these indoor climbing gyms within San Francisco’s city limits. Who knows, it could be the beginning to a path where the end is you successfully climbing Half Dome in Yosemite.

The Mission Cliffs

Mission Cliffs |

Open since 1995, Mission Cliffs is San Francisco’s oldest climbing gym. But it hasn’t gotten stale—staff change the gym’s routes and problems every month to keep things challenging for climbers of all levels. It includes a 50-foot high lead wall, 2,000 square feet of bouldering, and 23,000 feet of climbing terrain.

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Experience wild & rugged Manhattan

Ah, wilderness! The calm blue waters of a lake, the vast expanses of woods and dale, the smell of hot dog carts, the distant drone of rushing taxi cabs… wait, what?

For those of you who can’t make it out of the city this summer, cheer up. There’s lots of ways to get back to nature and experience the great outdoors without even leaving Manhattan. Here are two of our favorites.

Mountain bike High Bridge Park

Mountain bike High Bridge Park

In most Manhattan parks, mountain bikes are constrained to travel on roads and paved trails. And that can be sort of a bummer for those of us who shelled out for knobby tires and a front suspension. But there is one place on the island where mountain bikers can still mountain bike: the 119-acre Highbridge Park.

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5 tips for stank-free long johns


We have a complicated relationship with long underwear. On one hand, it keeps us warm and dry enough to play outside all winter. But on the other, its constant proximity to our nether regions makes it a little less than easy on the nose.

And frankly, we were getting a little tired of incinerating our base layers after every winter hike. So we called up Steve Lee of Hot Chillys and got some expert advice on keeping our long johns warm, dry and smelling sweet all summer long.

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5 skills that will save your ass


We’ve said it before, and we’ll say it again. Wilderness survival isn’t about starting a fire with sticks, killing animals with elaborate traps, or drinking your own urine. Survival is about not dying – simple as that.

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Pro Tip: Train an adventure dog

We love dogs. And, assuming our demographics are on point, we know a lot of our readers love dogs, too. But sometimes, no matter how much we love them, our dogs can become a chore at the crag, on the river, or on the trail.

So we reached out to the most adventurous dog owners we know (all sponsored by the folks at Ruffwear), and asked them how they keep their dogs fit, enthusiastic and obedient in the great outdoors

Karluk – The thru-hiker

Whitney LaRuffa understands distance hiking – and so do his dogs. All told, LaRuffa has hiked more than 6,000 miles with his canine companions. He’s dialed his systems so expertly he now tours the country giving talks about his backcountry experiences with man’s best friend.

His youngest companion, Karluk, has already hiked the entire Tahoe Rim Trail, the Timberline Trail, and 300 miles of the Pacific Crest Trail. But not before some substantial prep work. 

In addition to basic obedience training, LaRuffa trains his dogs to return to the singletrack or stop on command, and to freeze at the sight of wildlife. It’s a slow process, he says, which starts short hikes with the use of a harness and short leash. 

On long hikes, LaRuffa loads his dogs with packs that carry no more 25 percent of their body weight, and takes care to bury or pack out his animals’ waste. For a complete look at his method for backpacking with dogs, check out his website.

Cajun – the B.AS.E. companion

 Climber and B.A.S.E. jumper Steph Davis and her dog, Cajun
Most dogs can sit, stay and heel. But when your owner is professional free solo climber and B.A.S.E. jumper Steph Davisthe usual repertoire just doesn’t cut it.  
Found abandoned and starving by a cell tower at less than a year old, Cajun was raised from a barking, rebellious pup. After years of training, she’s become a near-perfect crag dog  trained to wait at the base of long climbs or to run to bottom of B.A.S.E. jumps (see a video).So what happened? “We started carrying spray bottles of water everywhere,” says Davis, “and squirting her every time she bit, chewed, or barked. It worked like a charm!”
Paired with “nonstop” positive reinforcement and strict enforcement of crag etiquette, this strategy has transformed Cajun from a liability to an invaluable backcountry partner (that can reportedly handle fourth-class slab better than most humans).

Riley and Kona – the paddlers

Riley and Kona riding obediently on a paddleboard with their owner, Maria Schultz

When Maria Schultz first took her dog Riley out on her paddleboard, there was a lot of splashing, a lot of running, and not a lot of actual paddling. But she’s since gotten so good at training her dogs for the activity that she’s written a book with her tips and tricks.

Any dog can be a paddling dog,” says Schultz. “You just have to teach them to sit and stay.” The real trick is conditioning dogs to be comfortable on the paddleboard itself – a feat Schultz managed by bringing the board into her home and playing with the dogs on top of it.

Everything should be fun for your dog,” she says. “Everything should be a game.” When your dog is ready their first trip on the water, break up short paddles with games of fetch on the shore.

Even dogs with strong swimming skills should wear a life jacket, says Schultz. These jackets are often brightly colored and have attached handles, features that will come in handy when you have to spot your dog in rapids or pull them back onto your board.





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