Indoor Climbing Wall Orientation

What is Orientation?

Orientation to our indoor climbing wall is part safety and part climber education. In orientation we will teach you how to belay, or secure a climber on the other end of a rope. Learning how to belay is great learning experience, and is something every climber should do. Belaying another person is a great responsibility, and since most rock climbing cannot take place without it, it is a vital skill to learn and, eventually, perfect. It creates a bond between the belayer and the climber, and this bond is at the heart of rock climbing. We will also teach you a few other tricks so you’ll be able to operate safely in our facility. If time permits, we will review spotting techniques to use in bouldering. This orientation session takes approximately one hour. Any person who uses the wall must either go through this session, or test out on belay skills with one of our instructors before being permitted to climb.

Part of orientation (or testing out) is signing a waiver and release form, which we will keep on file for three years. After three years, you are required to sign another form.

It is not uncommon to forget a few things after initially learning how to belay. So, provided below is a review to help you remember. Reviewing this before you return for open climbing will help you recall your belay skills. But, of course, the best way to get them down-pat is...practice!

Topics covered in Orientation:

  1. Primary and secondary "top rope" belay skills: taking in rope through the belay device (3 steps), use of friction, braking - especially the importance of "the brake hand" - and arresting a climber‘s fall
  2. Attaching a belay device to the rope, attaching the belay device to your harness
  3. Proper and safe use of rope, hardware, harnesses and helmets
  4. Tying the belay line to the climbing harness w/a figure 8 retrace and a back up knot of modified fisherman’s or overhand
  5. Standard climbing communications
  6. Spotting, and use of a crash pad