Getting Started

ⓘ SFU Athletics and Recreation is phasing in access to our facilities in a limited capacity

Click here to read Return to Play Update

Brand new climbers

Are you brand new to climbing? Start here!

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. 

There are 3 ways brand new climbers can climb at the SFU Climbing Wall:

  1. Auto-Belays: Auto-belays are machines that allow you to climb to the top of the wall without anyone holding the ropes for you. The SFU Climbing Wall has 3 auto-belays.
  2. Bouldering: Bouldering is low-height climbing without using ropes. You do not need a partner to boulder. See below for more information about bouldering. 
  3. Top-roping: 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. 

If you enjoy climbing and want learn more, we offer a number of introductory courses that allow you to learn skills required to access a climbing gym to it's full potential. Please visit our 'Programs' page for details. 

Age requirements

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

Orientations and belay checks

All climbers who wish to use the SFU Climbing Wall 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. Please note, anyone brand new to our facility wishing to lead climb must pass a top-rope belay check before they undergo a lead belay check. 

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. Generally, bouldering is more technical and/or powerful that climbing on ropes. 

Top-Rope Climbing

Top-rope climbing is probably what you think of when you imagine people climbing in the gym. 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 a 2-hour Introductory Top-Rope Belay Course.

Do you have previous top-rope climbing experience? To belay in our facility, you are required to pass a top-rope belay check, where our staff ensure that your abilities are in line with SFU safety 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 a 3-hour Lead Climbing Course.  

Do you have previous lead climbing experience? To lead climb and belay in our facility, you are required to pass a lead belay check, where our staff ensure that your abilities are in line with SFU safety standards.

SFU Climbing Wall Staff and Volunteers are not permitted to lead belay patrons while working during drop-in hours.