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Climbing Wall Rules & Guidelines

1. Before climbing on the wall

  • Climbing is permitted only when an indoor climbing wall supervisor or some other qualified person designated by the Director of Recreational Activities (i.e. class instructor) is working and on duty.
  • Outside of special groups and current students, faculty and staff members, only current pass members of the Rec Center may use the climbing wall.
  • Only those who have completed a Belay Certification Course may belay others.
  • Only those who have completed a current CU Climbing Wall Release Waiver and present a current climbing pass will be issued climbing equipment and allowed access to the wall.
  • Clothing must be safe and modest.
  • Children must be at least 10 years old to climb the wall.
  • Children must be at least 14 years of age to become belay certified and belay others on the wall.
  • Children must be at least 16 years of age to use the wall without a parent or guardian with them (except for special groups).
  • All minors (under the age of 18) must have a CU Indoor Climbing Wall Release Waiver Form on file signed by a parent or guardian before being permitted to use the wall.

2. Equipment

  • All climbers and belayers must either use equipment provided by Campus Recreation or other quality equipment approved by the Director or a current climbing wall supervisor.
  • Harness buckles must be doubled backed at the waist and at the leg loops when worn by the climber and the belayer. 
  • Climbing helmets are available at the equipment room for those who desire to use one.
  • Climbing shoes must be worn while climbing or bouldering. No bare feet or any other type of shoe may be worn while on the wall. Socks must be worn with our climbing shoes.
  • Loose chalk may not be used, only chalk balls. Chalk bags may be checked out of the equipment room and used at the wall.  Please use only when needed and be careful not to spill on the floor.
  • Ropes are your life-line – please be careful not to step on them!
  • Hand hold adjustments or rearrangements are not permitted except by staff members.  Routes will be changed periodically by either the Director or current climbing wall supervisors.  Suggestions may be directed to them for changes.
  • Participants are responsible for the equipment signed out to them.  If lost or damaged, they may be charged a replacement cost.
  • Climbing Wall Supervisors have the right and responsibility to stop participants from climbing or belaying if they do not abide by these rules or if equipment does not fit properly.

3. Bouldering

  • Bouldering is climbing low to the ground without the use of ropes.  It is an excellent way to improve climbing strength and technique and a good way to warm up before a top rope climb.
  • A person who is bouldering should be spotted by another person.
  • The hands of a person bouldering should never reach the panel wall system (13 feet).  Beginners should stay below the first set of wall anchors (10 feet).
  • Bouldering should not be done underneath roped climbers.  Top roped climbers have priority.
  • Try to climb down when on the wall and not jump down to minimize the risk of injury.

4. Belaying

  • Climbers should provide their own belayer when possible.
  • Only climbers who have passed a belay certification class or who have passed a belay check (for those who were belay certified at CU in the past) may belay climbers at our wall. Those who are belay certified should always display their belay certification tag (pass) on their harness while at the climbing wall (new for 2015-16).
  • We teach and use the P.L.U.S. Belay System. That stands for P-Pull, L-Lock, U-Under and S-Slide.
  • The belayer must clip into the provided belay device (GriGri) with the provided locking carabiner which is attached to the floor anchor.
  • Other belay devices are not permitted unless approved by the Director or one of the current wall supervisors (for experienced climbers/belayers only).
  • Belayers must use the palm down belay technique and always keep their brake hand on the rope.
  • Belayers are responsible to provide a smooth and controlled descent when lowering a climber. Lowering a climber quickly (for fun) is unacceptable and not allowed.

5. Climbing

  • Proper climbing procedures must be followed.  Knots, harnesses and tie-ins must be checked by the supervisor on duty before the first climb each session.
  • The figure-eight follow-through is the only tie-in knot allowed. The tail must be at least 4-5 inches long.
  • Proper climbing/belaying commands are to be used (On Belay > Belay On, Climbing > Climb On).
  • Climbers and belayers should check each others harness (doubled backed), knots, belay device and anchor before every climb.
  • Do NOT use hangers for holds; you could seriously damage your fingers if you fall.
  • Care should be given when climbers use adjacent routes, both climbing up and coming down.
  • Climbers need to be careful not to climb too fast for their belayer.  If the belayer is not able to keep up and keep the slack in the rope to a minimum, he/she should communicate to the climber to slow down.
  • Climbers need to stay below and in-line with their belay anchor to avoid a pendulum swing during a fall.
  • Do not climb directly above or below other climbers on the wall.
  • Climbers should never climb over, behind or around the side of the wall structure.
  • Only those securing a Lead Climbing Pass may lead climb on our wall. Lead climbing classes will be offered during the year for those wishing to learn this advanced type of rock climbing.

6. Climbing Instruction

  • No one may use our climbing wall facility to instruct others for pay except through either Campus Recreation or Allied Health and Psychology.
  • Belay Certification Classes will be offered during the first three weeks of each semester.

7. Conduct

  • Observe and practice safe climbing techniques.  Dangerous or unsafe behavior will result in suspension of climbing privileges.
  • Wall Supervisors have the right and the responsibility to deny access to the wall for any individuals whom they consider a safety risk to themselves or to others.
  • Respect other climbers and belayers around you and make it a point to share the facility.
  • Please report any problems such as accidents, loose holds, damaged equipment, or unsafe climbing to the on-duty climbing wall supervisor as soon as possible.
  • Cell phones and any technology used for listening to music are prohibited while actively climbing or belaying.
  • Food and drink are not allowed in the designated climbing area (black mat and belay stations) except for bottled water.
  • Modesty must be observed at all times.
  • Observers, non-climbers and climbing gear are not to be on the landing surface (black mat).

8. Participants should climb with caution and at their own risk!


  • Indoor climbers should understand that climbing on an indoor wall is very different than climbing outside on real rock cliffs and that additional training and experience is needed to safely make the transition to outdoor climbing.