03/03/2009Provided by Citysearch -
The pale green warehouse in San Francisco?s Mission District has become a familiar sight for Joel Tornatore over the last five years, even though he doesn?t live in the neighborhood?or the city, for that matter. So why does he make the 26-mile trek to Mission Cliffs from Redwood City twice a week?
?Mostly for the social side of it,? said Tornatore. ?And the climbing is pretty darn good here.?
With a number of color-coded routes spanning 14,000 square feet of climbing terrain, this indoor climbing facility and gym can boast a decent crowd at almost any time of the day?whether it?s for a birthday party, a team-building event or just a Friday night. Connor McLeod, who recently became a member at Mission Cliffs, also enjoys meeting and socializing with other climbers. ?You show up and see someone and you always have a partner,? said McLeod. ?It?s a very rare occasion when I?ll show up here and not find somebody.? Don?t worry if you?re too shy to approach a stranger yourself: McLeod added that guests can have someone at the front desk page another climber over the loudspeakers. You also don?t need to worry about having experience or a membership to try your hand at climbing. Anja Dimacali, was invited by a friend for her second visit?and not without reason. ?It?s a great workout,? Dimacali said. ?It?s one thing I really love about it.? For even more of a workout?no partner required?guests can try fitness equipment and classes, such as cardio boxing and yoga, or bouldering, which involves climbing on shorter but equally challenging walls without a harness. Founded in 1995 by Mark and Debra Melvin, Mission Cliffs was the first of the Melvins? five indoor rock climbing facilities under the Touchstone Climbing, Inc. umbrella in Northern California?an idea that quickly rose in popularity. ?It?s an activity that anyone can do,? said instructor Steve Lancaster. ?It encompasses pretty much everybody?every age, every body type, color, everything. It?s a pretty good equalizer.?