Getting started

Orientation and belay checks

During their initial visit, all climbers will receive a facility orientation, regardless of previous climbing experience. Those wishing to belay in our gym must undergo a belay check. All belay checks are free of charge. Anyone brand new to our facility wishing to lead climb must pass a top-rope belay check before they undergo a lead check. 

New climbers

Most people who come to our facility find they are able to climb the easier routes without too many problems. As with every sport, consistent practice will improve your strength and technique. 

Our climbing wall is set up to accommodate people of all experience levels. There are 3 types of climbing available to beginners at the SFU climbing wall:

  1. Auto-Belays
  2. Bouldering
  3. Top-roping

Auto-belays are machines that allow you to climb to the top of the wall without anyone holding the ropes for you. They are very easy to learn how to use but do require an initial orientation. SFU has three auto-belays. If you'd like to use the auto-belays or go bouldering, you can drop in anytime during open hours.

We often have volunteers on hand to hold the ropes for you during drop-in hours. Please call us at 778-782-4059 to inquire. 

Age requirements

The minimum age in the climbing gym is 6 years old. Adult supervision is required for all children under 14. Consent forms signed by legal guardians are required for all youth 17 and under.

Download consent form ic file download 24px

Types of Climbing


Bouldering is low-height climbing without using ropes. Climbers rely on thick pads to prevent injuries when they fall. SFU sets boulder problems specifically designed for this purpose which end no higher than the 4m up the wall.


Top-roping is probably what you think of when you imagine people climbing in the gym. Usually it involves a team of two, with one person on the ground managing the rope for their climber as they ascend the wall. Rope management, or 'belaying' refers to using specialized skills and equipment ensure the safety of a climber. If you want to have access to the entire facility without staff assistance, you'll need to know how to belay. To acquire these skills, we offer our 2-hour Introductory Top-Rope Belay Course. Anyone wishing to belay in our facility must pass a "belay check", where our staff ensure that your abilities are in line with SFU standards.

Don't have a partner? Check to see if we have volunteers who can belay you. We can be reached at or at 778-782-4059.

Lead Climbing

Lead climbing is an advanced climbing technique where the climber 'leads' the rope from the ground to the anchors. To acquire these skills, we offer our 3-hour Lead Climbing Course. Anyone wishing to lead climb and belay in our facility must pass a "lead belay check", where our staff ensure that your abilities are in line with SFU standards. Climbing Wall staff and volunteers are not permitted to lead belay patrons during drop-in hours