Houston has to be one of the most horizontal cities on the planet. The hills of Austin look like mountains in comparison to our coastal flatlands. So where do we go if we want to climb some rocks? Austin, of course -- or an indoor climbing gym. The popularity of indoor climbing reached its summit a couple of years back, but there are still plenty of gyms where novice cliffhangers can hone their chops (or grips, as it were). Hard-core mountain men and women might shun fake rock walls, complaining about the ease of the routes and the artificiality of the air-conditioned atmosphere, but indoor climbing offers the rest of us the chance to dangle in the air and get some great all-around exercise -- in a nice, cool environment. Hey, one person's authenticity is another person's unnecessary sweating.
And, really, in a town as flat as this muggy burg, where else are you gonna go? "Gym climbing is not like climbing the Flatirons, but it's better than nothing," reasons Matthew Goode, a Colorado-transplant and climbing enthusiast. Texas Rock Gym, 9716 Old Katy Road, suite 102. For more information, call 713-973-ROCK or visit www.texrockgym.com. $9.50 for a day pass. -- Keith Plocek
Putt-Putt, Arf Arff
Dog-loving singles mini-golf for charity
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Miniature golf evokes so many images: colored balls, crappy, dented putters, that narrow ramp into the clown's mouth and...dogs? This Sunday, Houston Single Source is hosting a charity putt-putt golf tournament to benefit PAWS Houston, a nonprofit organization that serves low-income pet owners who are living with terminal illness. The two groups are a perfect fit, considering that Houston Single Source has its own dog lovers' community. Its motto: "People who love dogs should be together." Participants' own animal companions will have to spend Sunday alone, however -- the event is strictly No Dogs Allowed. Tournament entry fee includes food, beverage and entry for special prize drawings. 2:30 p.m. Sunday, September 28. Malibu Grand Prix, 1105 West Loop North. For information, call 281-443-3360 or visit www.pawshouston.org. $20. -- Lisa Simon