Posts Tagged ‘Portland’
What’s to Love: Another place it’s taken me forever to visit! I don’t know how many times I’ve passed Wild Waves on my way north to Seattle. I’m sure you’ve all seen it, especially if you have kids. The roller coasters and huge water slides are hard to miss, even speeding by on I-5. While it lacks the charm of Enchanted Forest, and the extreme cleanliness of Disney Parks, I was still impressed and look forward to our next family visit.Read More
What’s to Love: Punch Bowl Social is not a local company, and it’s located in the Pioneer Place Mall in downtown Portland. To many Portlanders, this may be two strikes against this national brand. I have to admit, the first time I headed over to scope-out the place for a possible article, I was skeptical. On my two visits to Punch Bowl Social, I observed a super clean space that provides indoor activities for a range of ages, and it’s definitely worth checking-out, especially for families.Read More
What’s to Love: Around 1987/88, I walked into an indoor climbing gym called “Inside Moves” in Grand Rapids, Michigan. I was a college student looking for something different to do in my free time. On my first visit, I climbed up a 15 foot wall wearing hiking boots and feeling terrified that my belayer would never be able to catch my fall. When I got to the top, it took me awhile to actually let go of the holds. I was literally frozen with fear. I felt like if I let go, I might free fall quickly to the floor.
Minutes later and safely on the ground, I had that feeling of true love. I knew that climbing would be a part of my life for as long as I’m able to physically do it. I was 19 years old during that first experience, I’m now 44 years and climbing is even a bigger part of my life now.Read More
Do you and/or your kids want to learn to rock climb? Here is your chance. Portland Rock Gym (PRG) is offering a 2 for 1 “Introduction to Climbing” course just for Portland Family Adventures! Learning in the gym is the best way to get started with the basics, and it’s a great workout as well. Just click the ad, print the coupon, and bring it to the gym. Here is an interview with PRG employee Anna Rymill.
Portland Family Adventures (PFA): Who are you and what’s your job at PRG?
Anna: My name is Anna and I’m a manager at the PRG.
PFA: How did you get started in climbing and what do you find so compelling about the sport?
Anna: I started climbing a few years ago on a whim. It was something I had always wanted to try but growing up in Michigan I didn’t have a lot of opportunities to get on the rock. When I moved out to Oregon I made climbing one of my goals and have been trying to push myself and my limits in the sport ever since. The first time I tried climbing was outdoors and when I reached the top of French’s Dome in the Mt Hood National Forest I was in awe! It was an amazing feeling and one I want to be able to repeat for the rest of my life.
Climbing allows access to some very beautiful places. I love exploring new areas and climbing on different types of rock. Nothing beats spending a beautiful day outside with friends doing what you love! Climbing indoors is a great way to stay in shape. Climbing is full body conditioning and after a nice long session you will feel it! The whole time you’re doing it, most likely with one or more partners, you’re having fun. You don’t have your headphones on; you’re fully engaged in the activity and with your peers.
Climbing challenges you not only physically but also mentally. It requires getting out of your comfort zone and seeing how far you can push yourself. Repeatedly doing that builds self-confidence and self-assurance, among other things. These are highly valuable traits both on and off the rock!
PFA: Being originally established in 1988, The Portland Rock Gym is a beloved institution in the NW climbing scene. While some businesses have been hit hard by the economic downturn, PRG continues to thrive and even expand. What is the secret to PRG’s success?
Anna: The secret to the Portland Rock Gym’s success is definitely it’s loyal customers! The PRG has been part of the Portland climbing community for 25 years and many of our members have been with us ever since. PRG provides customers with an awesome facility to train and hone skills or create new ones if you’re just starting out. PRG is always trying to improve both the gym and the benefits to being a member. All that work goes a long way and is appreciated by our customers who keep coming back.
This past summer PRG had it’s biggest facelift since being at the current location (2003). PRG added almost 3000 sq ft of climbing terrain and resurfaced and repainted all the existing walls. With the upgrade came a TON of new holds for the new walls. PRG was fortunate and is thankful to be able to provide a whole new climbing experience for its customers. They give us so much and without them the Portland Rock Gym wouldn’t be possible!
Climbing overall has seen a rise in popularity over the last 10 years and with that brings a new demographic of customers to the gym. Youth climbing has become enormously popular. Climbing is no longer seen as a rogue sport but instead something the whole family can enjoy together!
PFA: There is no doubt in my mind that many kids love to climb, one way for them to get started is to take an introductory course at PRG? Can you tell us a little about the introductory course and what they can expect?
Anna: The Introductory Lesson is a great option for kids or families looking to get started in climbing. This course will teach you everything you need to know to get started top roping indoors. It will teach you how belay, how to tie in as the climber, rope management, safety skills and various commands. It also comes with a FREE week of climbing and gear rental! For a week after the class every time you come in, your day pass and gear rental are all included.
Kids 12 years of age and older are eligible to take the Introductory Lesson. It’s a great option for either siblings or a parent and child. If you have two siblings it is something they can learn and continue to come back to the gym and do together. For a parent and child it’s an awesome activity to do together. It gives parents a fun and healthy option to do with their child at any time.
PFA: If kids are under 12 years old, what options do they have at PRG? What is the minimum age requirement?
Anna: For kids under 12 years of age there are still plenty of options. Kids of any age can always come in with their parent or legal guardian and climb either on belay (if their parent has prior belay experience/knowledge) or in the bouldering area. If their parent doesn’t know how to belay they can use the auto-belays or go into the bouldering area.
However, bouldering can be a bit trickier with young kids since they aren’t attached to a rope to catch them when they fall. They fall onto big pads but parents need to make sure those pads are there for the kids and positioned in the appropriate spot so they don’t hit a corner and twist their ankle. I believe climbing on a rope is a much better option for young ones.
For kids 6 – 11 years old PRG offers the Kids Klimb. Kids Klimb is every Saturday and Sunday and Portland Public School holiday from 1-4pm. PRG staff belay kids during this time. Parents just get to watch or take pictures and encourage their children to the top!
PRG also has a Youth Climbing Club that meets every Wednesday and/or Friday afternoon from 4-5:30. This is also for ages 6-11 and is a fun after school activity to help burn off some energy before heading home.
During the winter, spring, and summer breaks PRG offers Climbing Camps. These are 4 day long camps that help kids build or improve skills. We have a huge facility that allows us to set up some really cool activities during the camps. Kids will climb to the top of the Cargo Net hanging from the ceiling and go for a ride on the King Swing! They get a lot of climbing time in the camps but again the size of the building allows us to do other really cool activities that aren’t offered locally anywhere else.
PFA: Certainly, some parents will feel like climbing is too dangerous, and as a climber myself, I’m aware of inherent risks every time I rope up. However, statistically, I think that I have a far greater chance getting injured in a car accident on my way to the gym or crag. For parents with anxiety, what can you tell them about safety and PRG?
Anna: The Portland Rock Gym prides itself on providing an environment where climbing can be done safely. Before customers are allowed to rope up they must pass a belay check to make sure they are using the equipment properly and tying their knot correctly. This includes PRG staff! All of our staff members are climbers and have a lot of experience participating in climbing and teaching. PRG staff members will always make sure everything is in order before we belay kids or adults. We’ll also make sure families understand how to properly use the auto-belays. If someone is interested in bouldering we will explain to them proper spotting technique as well as appropriate crash pad placement.
As I mentioned earlier, ropes climbing is a great activity for young kids because it takes the falling element out of the game. When a child falls on belay they don’t go anywhere, they just hang in space until they get back on the wall. Falling while bouldering can be potentially more dangerous because you fall however many feet until you hit the ground. Although, done correctly you can lessen the chances of having a bad fall. Proper spotting and using a crash pad, as well as down climbing from routes, will all help keep kids and adults injury free.
I think that is the best aspect of the Portland Rock Gym. We offer both ropes climbing and bouldering. It offers the customer more options so depending on what you’re after or where your comfort level is at PRG can accommodate you.
PFA: Finally, what are some of your favorite places to climb both locally and around the US?
Anna: I’ll climb anywhere! Locally, I enjoy climbing at Broughton’s Bluff, Beacon Rock or Carver in the summer. All 3 locations are super close to Portland and offer great climbing. Of course when I’m able to go a little further like Smith or Leavenworth I’ll take those too! Smith is a world class climbing destination and there are great routes both sport and trad.
My favorite place to climb is usually the last place I went to (haha). Right now that would be Joshua Tree National Park in Southern California. It’s a beautiful spot, commonly described as magical. It’s a very fitting adjective. I can’t wait to get back!
I’ll be heading to Ecuador to do some climbing over the holidays so I’m sure when I return that will be my new favorite spot.
Thank You Portland Family Adventures!!!
A Portland Trail Blazer game is fun for the whole family! There are many packages and ticket options for families.Read More
What’s to Love: This is an update to the original Lumberyard article published in May of 2012. In our first article, this awesome indoor bike park wasn’t even officially open. We were some of the first outsiders they let in to preview the terrain. As I stated back then, I was completely awestruck by the genius of the entire place. With the bike culture in Portland, I knew this business would serve the community for a long time. Well into the second year, we took another look, and it remains a place that tests the skills of everyone from toddlers on push bikes to the most advanced mountain bike, free-ride, and BMX riders. If you haven’t been to the Lumberyard, I urge you to check-it-out!Read More
What’s to Love: Holly Farm Park is a lovely park right off Capitol Highway in SW Portland. While next to a busy road, this small park has a nice vibe and a strong community feel. It’s well kept with a relatively large lawn, newer play structure, paved paths, and a very cool mini-skate-park.Read More
What’s to Love: 1000+ acres of no-feepublic trails, mud holes, bird blinds, beach access (Columbia & Sandy Rivers), and HUGE open fields for your dog to be off-leash! There are only two areas where dogs must be on-leash (Confluence Trail and the parking area). Otherwise, your dogs can experience a tremendous amount of freedom running free with other dogs and having a great time in what feels like a wilderness setting.Read More
What’s to Love: ComedySportz “4” Kidz is an improvisational comedy show that will have the whole family laughing. I’ve seen the regular “ComedySportz” version before, but this was my first time to the “Kidz” version – it did not disappoint! I can’t say enough about these performers who get up in front of families without a script and pull off such an entertaining show.
Haven’t seen the show? Luckily, ComedySportz hosts the “4 Kidz” special once per month (3rd Sundays at 2PM). You’ll want to attend soon with your family, and luckily, ComedySportz is giving away 4 tickets to one drawing winner via Portland Family Adventures. Make a comment at the bottom of this article or on Facebook by Wednesday, April 25th (12PM), and I’ll enter your name in the drawing.Read More
Sick and tired of the same old gym atmosphere? Looking for a space to work out with your partner where you’ll be supervised closely by a certified strength and conditioning coach? If so, I’d like to introduce you to Elemental Fitness Lab (EFL) owner Chris Bathke.
My wife and I visited for a personal training session where Chris did an initial assessment, worked through some common movements and exercises, and put together an exercise program for us. We enjoyed the personal touch and the pleasant environment inside the EFL. We think you will as well! Chris was also gracious enough to answer some of my questions for Portland Family Adventures (PFA).
PFA: Before I ask you some specific questions for parents, could you tell our readers a little bit about your credentials and experience as a personal trainer?
Chris: I’m a Certified Strength and Conditioning Coach through the National Strength and Conditioning Association, which is still the gold standard for certifications in the U.S.. I also hold certifications from the International Kettlebell and Fitness Federation, the World Kettlebell Club, and am pre/post-natal certified. Before starting EFL I was training trainers at Equinox Fitness in Santa Monica, along with regular clients since 2006. Before that I taught some martial arts and trained a few people part-time while working in the music field. I was fortunate to get to know some of the smartest individuals in the health and fitness world around 10 years ago who encouraged me to go into training full-time. I started going to conferences, workshops, and studying as much as possible and haven’t stopped since.
PFA: Your business, “Elemental Fitness Lab,” is a unique space in the world of fitness. When I walked in, I immediately noticed the open-space and lack of more traditional gear like barbells, dumbbells, and rows of fitness machines. Of course, you have some of that equipment, but it seems like Elemental has a different philosophy when it comes to working-out. It seems that larger gyms try to fill their space with as many machines as possible. Your gym has open space. Can you talk a bit about your philosophy and equipment?
Chris: My philosophy is to help people move better first, then look at other qualities. If a person lacks hip mobility, has shoulder pain, or is limited by core strength then having them do the latest “hardcore” metabolic workout can potentially do more harm than good. And for those reasons I don’t use any machines that lock you into fixed planes of motion. It’s simply not as effective in improving movement quality, not to mention strength. Over the years I’ve used just about every piece of equipment out there, and keep up on the research, so what I choose to use here is simply what I have found to work the best.
PFA: No doubt, many of our readers are probably involved with group fitness classes. What are some of the differences between semi-private training/small group training and group training? What are they missing that you can provide?
Chris: In general group classes are less effective in that everyone naturally has different levels of strength, endurance, mobility, injury history, or other limitations so what may be a good workout for one person may be way too easy, too hard, or even injurious for another. The nature of group classes limits the ability to improve strength as it’s not possible to safely coach technique with that many people at once, and since strength is a fundamentally important aspect of improving fitness then. I’ve seen more people get injured in cardio classes than those who lift really heavy weights. What we do is write programs designed specifically for each individual so that not only is it safe, but more effective.
PFA: How do these individualized programs work once inside EFL?
Chris: The way EFL works is everyone does what we call semi-private training where there are 1-3 members with each coach per hour which cuts the price by about 1/3 of a normal 1 to 1 personal training session. Each person will be doing a different workout than another using the program designed for them yet enjoy the camaraderie of training together with others.
PFA: The first thing we did at EFL was the “Functional Movement Screen” (FMS). After the FMS, you put together a workout based-on the results. For our readers, what is it? Why do you use it?
Chris: The Functional Movement Screen is just one part of our assessment process, but is vital in allowing us to gauge how well a person moves. It was developed by physical therapists Gray Cook and Dr. Lee Burton, and is now pretty standard among collegiate and professional athletic programs. Yet the beauty is it is the screen is a measure of human movement, not just athletes. Athletic programs use it because they recognize it has real value in helping to keep their clients improve.
PFA: When we walked in for our appointment, a couple of parents were finishing up a private workout with your supervision. If parents want that type of workout, what can you offer them in the Elemental Fitness Lab?
Chris: We have quite a few couples that train here, some together, and some separately depending on schedules. If two people wish to train together than that fits in perfectly with our semi-private training structure. Both people can enjoy training together yet using a program designed for each individual. It’s much more efficient, and safe in that everyone does exercises that will benefit them most. We are all busy so it is better to avoid wasting time and energy on cookie cutter “workouts of the day” and instead do something that will help you achieve your goals.