Climbing

Start with indoor beginner climbing courses and progress to lead climbing outdoors. Lessons available for kids and adults year-round.


View all climbing programs

Climb On Outdoors: Teen Programs

We have two levels of teen outdoor climbing programs this summer. Both levels spend 3 days climbing outdoors with ACMG guides. 101 is for participants new to climbing and 201 is for participants that have experience with belaying and climbing. Please see specific programs for more information and prerequisites.

You can have fun all day and sleep in your own bed at night. Be sure to bring a water bottle, lunch and weather appropriate clothing—we’ll be outside all day and go rain or shine.

Climb On!

Defy gravity and reach new heights. You’ll spend half the day climbing indoors and the other half outside playing games, swimming, biking, and visiting kid-friendly places in the city. You’ll get to try wall climbing, bouldering, and slacklining.

Prerequisite: you must be confident riding a 2-wheel bike regardless of grade level.
Required: bike in good condition and with gears (grades 2-3 do not need gears), helmet that fits properly, swimsuit and towel (no swimming or biking on day 1).
Includes: instruction and wall climbing equipment.

Urban Outdoor Camps leave the University Campus for most activities to explore what Calgary has to offer. There’s so much to do outside, right within the city limits! Because we’ll be outside most of the time— rain or shine—participants are expected to bring a water bottle, lunch and weather appropriate clothing including a rain jacket and rain pants every day. Additional camp-specific required items are in the details below. Transportation will depend on the camp but may include: cycling, Calgary Transit, walking, or chartered buses.

University Climbing Club

Fitting a climbing session into our busy lives is always a challenge, but finding a reliable, safe climbing partner with the same schedule can make this even harder. Led by one of our experienced climbing instructors, this club ensures that you enjoy a weekly climb in a fun and relaxed environment. These are non-instructional sessions. Prerequisite: able to pass a belay test. Includes: free equipment rentals on club nights, personalized feedback, 10% off climbing programs. Register at any time. Price will be discounted to reflect sessions missed.

Rock-dezvous

Dont climb indoors this summer—try your skills on real rock instead. Join us for the day in this unique program that takes the gym experience outdoors. Meet other climbers and get beta from our experienced instructors to learn about or improve on outdoor climbing techniques. All skills levels welcome. 17+. Prerequisite: current belay test. Includes: all required climbing equipment.

Quick Intro to Climbing

Climbing is exploding in popularity – and for good reason. Get hooked on this fun and challenging sport in this 2-hour lesson while learning all of the skills needed to pass a belay test. No experience required. Includes: Instructor, climbing equipment, belay test credit.

Beginner Climbing Series

Develop a complete climbing skills-base by learning the basics and progressively building technical movement skills and knowledge. In this multi-week series, our experienced instructors blend instructional time with personalized coaching and provide plenty of time to practice. Get to know new climbing partners in a fun and informal atmosphere. No experience required. Includes: instructor, climbing equipment, shoes, free belay test credit.

Climbing Technique Series

Progress your climbing by expanding your movement repertoire and learn how to focus your mind, improve mobility and build strength. In this multi-week series, our experienced instructors break down movement skills so you understand how, where and why to apply them. See what you are capable of and take your climbing to new heights. Prerequisite: some climbing experience. Must know how to top-rope belay. Includes: instruction, individualized coaching.

Learn to Lead

This 3-hour course will prepare you to successfully and safely lead climb indoors. Learn about rope management, lead belaying, clipping, preventing injuries and simple sport anchors. Finish the course with practical lead climbing experience and all the skills you need to pass a lead climbing test. Prerequisite: must confidently climb 5.9 on top rope. Previous instruction on basic movement techniques recommended. Includes: instructor, lead rack.

Adults Lead Series

This course pairs lead climbing skills with movement skills so you can lead indoors with confidence. In this 5-week series, learn how to move into stable body positions for clipping and resting, and develop mental strategies to keep calm and in control. You'll get a wide range of technical skills like rappelling, anchoring systems, and anchor cleaning that will prepare you for when you're ready to challenge yourself outdoors on real rock. Prerequisite: must confidently climb 5.9 on top rope. Previous instruction on basic movement techniques recommended. Includes: instructor, climbing equipment.

Geckos

This beginner play-based program introduces young climbers-to-be to the vertical world. Kids 4-6 years old will build confidence and physical literacy skills through bouldering games and top-rope climbing over a series of weeks. Our kid-oriented instructors teach safety and emphasize making climbing FUN. No experience required. Includes: climbing equipment, kid-oriented instruction.

Mountain Kids

This beginner climbing series will get kids 7-10 years old excited to be active and explore their limits. Over a series of weeks, learn to belay and develop fundamental movement skills through top-rope climbing and bouldering. No experience required. Includes: climbing equipment, kid oriented instruction.

Youth Climbing Club

Develop body awareness, coordination and strength—and have tons of fun. In this introductory series for youth 10-14 years old, attend weekly sessions with our dedicated coaches who teach key skills for climbing and belaying safely. No experience required. Includes: instructor, climbing equipment.

Youth Skill Building Series

Love climbing and ready to learn more? This intermediate level program for 11–15 year olds is a blend of individualized coaching and group instruction. It offers a fun, social environment for youth looking to further their skills and meet other climbers. Fall and winter semesters: 10 weeks. Prerequisite: belay skills and some climbing experience. Includes: instructor, climbing equipment. Payment options available.

Youth Advanced Series

Be part of young climbing community. Teens 13-17 years old will learn and practice practical lead-climbing skills alongside intermediate to advanced movement techniques to make them confident, competent climbers. Our dedicated instructors incorporate warm-ups, stretching and strength training into each class to prevent injuries and improve overall fitness. Fall and winter semesters: 10 weeks. Prerequisite: significant climbing experience. Includes: instructor, climbing equipment. Payment options available.

Intro To Crack Climbing

Have aspirations to climb in Squamish, the Bugaboos or Yosemite? Our unique wall has all the finger cracks, off-widths and chimneys that you will need to know how to send before tackling the climbing destinations of the world. In this 3-hour class, you'll learn to twist, lock, jam, squeeze and thrash 'til it hurts so good. Prerequisite: belay test. Includes: instructor, climbing equipment, shoes, athletic tape.

Rock Rescue and Hauling Systems

Stuff happens—be prepared!
Learn how to help out a fallen/injured/tired/panicked climber. The skills learned in this course have a wide variety of applications that can help you get out of a tight spot. Topics include tying off the belay, raising and lowering a person/load, counter balance rappels, ascending a rope, and more.

Prerequisite: belay test.

Yosemite Series

Do you fantasize about long, hard technical climbs? This 6 week series will help you attain all of the skills you need to take on your biggest objectives. Each class focuses on a different skill set such as; anchor building, rope rescue and hauling systems, gear placement, and even aid climbing.  As the focus is on the technical side of climbing, you should already feel confident with basic rope techniques and movement.  

School of Hard Rocks

Have you plateaued in your climbing and can’t seem to make the jump into the higher grades? This 6-week indoor series is designed for intermediate and advanced climbers looking to develop movement skills. Each week get a personalized climbing lesson a fitness session. Learn training techniques to get stronger, increase overall fitness, and advance your climbing ability. Prerequisite: belay test, must be able to climb 10a. Includes: instructor/coach, additional access to walls.

Climbing - Schools

Engaging climbing programs for school groups
Ages 7 and older.  
Minimum of 6 participants, maximum of 30.

If you are interested in booking a climbing lesson for your school please email Nick and Ashley at climb@ucalgary.ca with the following information;

School Name
School Address
Contact name and phone number
Number of students
Grade
Number of sessions
Climbing program 
Dates and times requested

Climbing Parties

Don't want kids bouncing off your walls?  Let them climb ours instead! 
Party-goers defy gravity on the indoor climbing and bouldering walls. Instruction is minimal because the emphasis is put on climbing as much as possible.  No experience required.
Includes:  Youth oriented instruction and climbing equipment (except shoes)

Set up a custom climbing party by emailing Nick at climb@ucalgary.ca with the following information;
  • Your name and contact information
  • Number of participants and their average age
  • 2 potential dates and times that work for you

Custom Outdoor Climbing - Schools

Let us take you outside! Our experienced certified guides will provide a fun safe day out in the mountains. We will work with you to set up a program that will meet your goals for the day.

Scouts Canada Groups

Bring your Beavers, Cubs, or Scouts group climbing here with us at the U of C climbing centre. We have specialized pricing and programming in place for each age group designed with the learning needs and age considerations of each level in mind. If that doesn't work for you, let us know and we can try something else!

Belay Test and Orientation

In Gym Orientation and Belay Test
5:00-9:00pm Mon-Friday
noon to 6pm Sat and Sunday


In the orientation you will be become familiar with the Outdoor Centre Climbing Wall, potential hazards and the Outdoor Centre Climbing Wall Safety Code.

You will be asked to fill out a waiver; This is a legal document - it is your responsibility to read and understand everything in it and by signing you are giving up certain rights, including the right to sue. It will outline some of the risk and hazards of climbing, if you have any questions about this waiver, please bring to your lawyer for counseling before signing.

To pass the Belay Test you must successful demonstration your ability to;
  • Put a harness on
  • Tie the Figure 8 follow through knot
  • Belay with a ATC or Gri-Gri
  • Correct belay motions
  • Catch a planned and surprise fall
  • Lower a climber
  • Communicate with your  climbing partner
  • Actively demonstrate safety checks
You must have a partner to take the belay test with.  There is no teaching or instruction provided in this test; It is pass or Fail. If an Outdoor Centre staff member has reason to believe you received any instruction less than 24 hours prior to taking this exam they have the right to refuse administering the Belay test.


Youth under 14
Must have a parent or legal guardian fill out a Youth Consent Form. Youth under the age of 14 must be directly supervised at all times by a responsible adult with a current belay card and orientation.

Youth 14-18
Must have a parent or legal guardian fill out a Youth Consent Form. Youth 14-18 are permitted to climb unsupervised after successfully completing a In Gym Orientation and Belay Test in the presence of their parent or legal guardian.

Climbing and Bouldering Wall Booking

Both the Climbing and Bouldering walls can be to external groups looking to practice or teach a variety of skills such as crevasse rescue, rock/high angle rescue, trad/crack climbing techniques and caving.   Any group wanting to run an instructional program (paid or unpaid) or a technical practice session, must block book the climbing or bouldering wall and comply to the Outdoor Centre's Outside Instructor Policies.  

No outside instruction is permitted in either facility during open rec hours. 

For more details on block bookings for the Bouldering and Climbing Walls please contact Ashley or Nick at climb@ucalgary.ca with the following information:

Group name
Number of participants
Activity
Certification extrenal Instructors or group leaders
2-3 dates and times that would work for you group. 
Contact infromation

Climbing Group Bookings

Get the most out of your climbing experience!  Our youth oriented instructors make climbing safe while minimizing instructional time so that the kids can focus on having fun.   

Book your group booking now by emailing Nick at climb@ucalgary.ca with the following information;
  • Your name and contact information
  • Number of participants and average age
  • Length of lesson
  • 2 potential dates and times that work for you
  • Adaptive needs (if any)
Minimum of 6 participants, maximum of 30

Adapted Climbing

These programs are designed to introduce people with special needs to a fun lifelong activity. Our unique wall allows us to set up a variety of different programs and systems in order to accommodate climbers with any physical or developmental disabilities. Our experienced and enthusiastic instructors will work with you to create a custom program fitted to whatever your needs may be. We will challenge participants in a fun, safe, supportive manner to ensure that each participant feels included and successful.

To set up a climbing program please email Ashley or Nick at climb@ucalgary.ca and we will work with you to meet your needs.

Team Building

After learning the fundamentals of safe belaying technique, climbers will tackle climbing challenges, games, and rappelling in this fun, experience based program. 

Email Nick and Ashley at climb@ucalgary.ca to register with the following infromation
  • Contact name and phone number
  • Number of participants
  • Age
  • Booking length
  • Any specific team building  goals or objective you have.
  • 2 dates and times requested

Climbing Private Lessons

Learn what you want and do it when it works best for you!  Our private and semi-private lessons allow you to create a program tailored to your specific interests, needs or skill level.  All technical equipment is provided, including shoes.

Adaptive Private Lessons:
For youth and adults, these 45 min lessons will help participants explore possibilites on the climbing and bouldering walls.   Participants climb one-on -one with an instructor with experience working with participants with mental and physical disabilities.  Can be set up as a single day program or as a series.
Includes: Adaptive climbing equipment, shoes


To set up a private lesson please email Ashley and Nick at climb@ucalgary.ca  with the following information;

• Your name and contact information
• Skills you are interested in learning
• Length of lesson
• 2 potential Dates and times that work for you
• Instructor preferences (male/female, specific instructors..)

Complete Learn to Lead

Lead into new possibilities with this climbing combination course designed to get you off the ground and onto the sharp end. On our wall, you'll learn the fundamentals needed to safely lead climb sport routes outdoors and get back down again safely. Includes both the Learn to Lead and Outdoor Transition programs for a total of 7 hours of instructional time at a discounted rate. Prerequisite: confidently top rope at least 5.9. Previous coaching on movement technique recommended. Includes: instructor, all lead climbing and anchor building equipment.

Multi-Pitch Mondays

This program has a 1:2 instructor to participant ratio, and the group will be divided into compatible teams to climb a suitable ‘multi-pitch’ (several rope lengths) route in the Bow Valley, Kananaskis or Canmore area with an ACMG guide.

Outdoor Transition

Spend the day on our climbing wall acquiring the skills to take your climbing outdoors and experience the sport at its fullest. You'll learn crag etiquette, what equipment you will need and crag safety. Then we'll practice building anchor systems and discover straight-forward cleaning techniques so you can lead on real rock with confidence. Prerequisite: Learn to Lead or equivalent. Includes: instructor, anchor building materials, lead rack.