FIRST TIMERS GUIDE
Everyone remembers their "first climb”... it’s the one that hooks you to the sport, and we’d be stoked to facilitate your first climb for you.
Whether you are new to climbing or just new to On The Rocks, we want to make sure you have the best experience possible.
The information below will help you understand more about what type of climbing would work best for you and how you can prepare for a day full of adventure, reaching new heights.
I was amazed by how helpful the instructors/staff were when I was climbing, the tips and tricks they gave. The staff were so encouraging, and they gave me such positive reinforcement that I was doing well, it was so nice to hear it on my first climb!
- Amelia O - Trip Advisor
Let us know if you’re new to climbing or bouldering when you check in and our staff will be happy to give you a friendly and welcoming orientation around the gym to help you get settled and ready to climb the walls.
WHEN YOU ARRIVE
WHAT IS BOULDERING?
Bouldering is a discipline of rock climbing that does not involve ropes. The walls are much smaller and climbers fall on mats instead of being attached to a rope.
It involves climbing up a 12ft wall, using coloured holds. Each climb is set using a specific colour to indicate which holds are part of the specific boulder climb. Every climb or “problem” is designed to challenge you in different ways. Climbing a boulder problem involves “solving” the sequence of moves you will need to execute to reach the top. Once you’ve reached the top, you climb down or jump onto the mats below.
WHAT DO I NEED TO GET STARTED?
To get started with bouldering, all you need is a pair of climbing shoes, some chalk and clothes you can move in. We have shoe rentals available. We do require that all climbers wear climbing shoes (no street shoes or bare feet permitted on the mats or the walls) for both your safety and enjoyment.
The walls are a maximum height of 12ft and are surrounded by a padded landing area therefore there is no need for a harness, rope or a belayer.
WHAT IS TOP ROPE CLIMBING?
Our 33ft climbing walls are coated with textured concrete to give a realistic feel to your indoor rock climbing experience. The main climbing area has 18 “top-rope” stations with 3 to 4 routes on each rope. In addition to standard belaying stations, we have five auto-belaying stations, which means you don’t need a climbing partner!
Top-rope climbing, or top-roping, is a form of rock climbing where climbers are supported by a rope that runs up and down a rock face. The rope is threaded through a top-rope anchor at the top of the route, and it is controlled by a belayer standing on the ground beneath the climber.
WHAT ABOUT GEAR FOR TOP ROPE CLIMBING?
Some equipment is required for top-roping; and naturally, we take care of all of that for you. Our top-rope stations are set up and ready for belaying (partnered or auto). You will need to rent or purchase a harness and climbing shoes.
If you are looking for a bit more guidance, we do offer a variety of courses, from entry level belaying courses to more advanced leading skills. We also have programs for youth to start their climbing development at a young age.
All climbers and observers must check in at the desk before proceeding into the climbing area.
Anyone entering the climbing areas must have a current waiver on file. Anyone under the age of 18 must have the form signed by a parent or legal guardian. You can fill out your waiver online.
Do no sit, stand, walk or climb below another climber.
Do not climb over or stand on top of the wall.
All OTR participants are expected to respect other individuals and conduct themselves in good order. Persons deemed by OTR staff to be behaving in an unsafe or disorderly manner will be asked to leave the facility.
CLIMBING SHOES REQUIRED
Climbing shoes are required when climbing, no street shoes or bare feet. Shoe rentals are available, we recommend bringing a thin pair of socks if renting.
Do not wear climbing shoes in the washroom.
KEEP PADS CLEAR
No water bottles, chalk bags, or other personal belongings on the pads.
No food or drink on or over the pads
Climbing is inherently risky and therefore the need for safety is obvious. The equipment developed by the climbing industry does not fail when used properly. But the system is passive, and participants must engage. This dictates the need for personal responsibility to allow the sport we love to exist indoors at all.
Our liability release’s primary purpose is to agree on this principle. Without this agreement, we do not allow users in our facilities.
A healthy body supports a healthy mind, and healthy minds cultivate a healthy community. Creating an engaging and safe space for our members to focus on their well-being is what drives us to move the line every day.
CLIMBING FOR OUR
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