* GET UP AND GO: A defining trait shared by good skiers, bikers, kayakers and climbers is their desire to get better by getting out of comfort zones. It's easy to think you're good when you've moved across the same slope, trail, rapid or cliff dozens or hundreds of times, less so when you're floundering in new places. Good climbers, who will be in abundance at the American Bouldering Series competitions this week at Sportrock and Earth Treks climbing centers, are those who literally rise to the challenge, solving problems and finding lines that test their physical and mental limits. Even if you don't climb, it's still inspiring to watch. Sportrock will host its ABS event starting at 10 a.m. on Friday at its Rockville gym at 14708 Southlawn Lane. To sign up to climb and for directions, visit www.sportrock.com. On Saturday, Earth Treks will host a Junior Indoor Bouldering Series competition for those 19 and under at 9 a.m. and an ABS 6 Regional event at 2 p.m. at its gym in Timonium, Md. To register and for more information, visit www.earthtreksclimbing.com. For more information about the ABS, visit www.rockcomps.com. . . .

Hudson Trail Outfitters will host ice climbing clinics at a half-dozen stores throughout the Washington-Baltimore area on Dec. 2 at 7 p.m. The clinics, which will touch on gear, safety and technique, are free. For details, visit www.hudsontrail.com.

* GRIPPED: REI will offer Snowshoeing 101 on Dec. 1 at 7:30 p.m. at its Baileys Crossroads store. Snowshoes come in all shapes, sizes and prices these days, so it'll take a while to decide what's best for you. You'll also find out about some of the good local places to go when snow finally arrives. For details, visit www.rei.com.

* START SLOW: The Bike Lane of Burke will host a casual mountain bike ride on easy terrain on Thanksgiving at 6:45 p.m. at Wakefield Park in Annandale. This is a good way to start burning off your holiday turkey. For more information about upcoming events and rides, visit http://thebikelane.com/site /intro.cfm and www.more-mtb.org.

-- John Mullen

mullenj@washpost.com