The climbing wall, located in the IM Building, stands at over 40 feet tall with 16 climbing lanes capable of both top rope and lead climbing. Our climbing wall offers fun, recreational climbing opportunities for all climbers, regardless of experience or ability. Our state of the art wall, designed by Eldorado Climbing Walls, features up to 64 routes (for climbers of all abilities), two climbable crack systems, a rappel ledge, and a teaching area for skills and clinics.
Access to the climbing wall for all students is FREE (included as part of the student recreation fee) during “open rec” hours. Lead climbing and additional hours will be available with the purchase of a Climbing Wall “All-Access Pass” ($30.00/semester; $75/annually). We will also be offering a number of courses and clinics (see tab above) for students who want to develop their climbing skills further.
Purchase the Climbing All-Access Pass online at pennstatecampusrec.org under the Membership tab.
Climbing Wall Hours:
The bouldering wall is located down the hallway from the climbing wall and offers an additional space for unroped climbing. Use of the 14 foot tall bouldering wall is also FREE for students (included as part of the student recreation fee) during all open hours of the IM Building. All you need is a pair of climbing shoes and a bouldering orientation from one of our staff and you’re ready to go!
*Information about the bouldering orientation coming soon.
Below is a list of clinics that will be held during the Fall Semester. Sign up in person at the Adventure Recreation Center in the IM Building.
Lead Climbing: Take your vertical skills to the next level with lead climbing at the gym. This is a one time, 4 hour clinic designed for established climbers wanting to learn how to lead climb. Climbers signing up must have a Campus Rec membership, be Top Rope Belay endorsed, and capable of climbing on Top Rope a grade of 5.9 or harder comfortably. This clinic occurs weekly on Wednesday from 5:00 – 9:00 pm. $25/person.
Anchor Building: This workshop is designed for climbers with experience who want to begin building the skills necessary for becoming an independent climber. Learn how to build many different top rope anchors in different settings and orientations with bolts, cams, stoppers, webbing and cordelette in an indoor setting. $25/person
Anchor Cleaning and Rappelling: This workshop is ideal for established climbers with experience top rope and lead climbing who want to learn how to efficiently and effectively rig rappels to retrieve anchor equipment after climbing a route. Learn how to clean anchors, extend and back up rappels, and other skills at the gym. $25/person
Do you need previous climbing experience?
- No previous experience is necessary to use our climbing and bouldering walls. You will need to go through a climbing gym orientation with one of our staff on your first visit to inform you of all our policies.
Can I climb if I come alone?
- Absolutely! Bouldering is always available and is a great way to meet other climbers while you’re getting stronger and building your technique.
Will there be someone available to belay me?
- While our staff members are usually stoked to belay, it is not their job while supervising. If the gym is empty and there are extra staff members on hand, you’ll more than likely get a free catch though that’s not a guarantee. Instead, sign up for our free Top Rope belay clinic. You’ll meet new climbers and get taught how to belay in our gym.
Can I bring my own climbing gear?
- You may bring your own shoes, chalk bag, and personal harness as long as it meets our requirements. Harnesses must be UIAA approved (specifically made for rock climbing) and be manufactured within the last 5 years. Our staff will approve at their discretion and will require you to sign a personal equipment waiver before using it. All other gear necessary to climb is provided by us.
How do I get belay certified?
- For top rope climbing, you’ll need to take our free belay clinic with one of our certified instructors. Once you’ve learned and demonstrated all of the necessary skills (by passing our belay test), you will be able to belay at the wall..
How do I learn how to lead climb?
- You’ll need to sign up for our lead clinic. This clinic will teach the basics of lead climbing indoors. Climbers interested will need to have their top rope belay card and demonstrate the ability to climb 5.9 or better prior to signing up.
If I already know how to belay, do I have to take the belay clinic?
- Nope! If you are already an experienced climber, you can opt out of the clinic and take the belay exam. However, you must pass all aspects of the exam without any coaching in order to get your belay card. A lead climbing skill test is also available but you must have a partner to take the test. If you do not pass you must take the appropriate clinic before you can test again.
How can I learn more about climbing?
- We offer a variety of educational and skill building workshops throughout the year. The Adventure Recreation Center (ARC) also maintain a fairly comprehensive resource library so you can check out books and learn on your own.
What’s the deal with all the colored tape on the wall?
- The tape marks individual climbing routes and boulder problems. Think of the as different levels of challenging paths to get to the top. Each route is unique and offers a different style and challenge. These are changed throughout the year, so enjoy them while they last!
What do the numbers on the routes mean?
- The numbers at the start of each route or problem denotes its level of difficulty, or grade. For the rope routes, we follow the Yosemite Decimal System (YDS) and for boulder problems we use the Hueco V-scale. Both follow the same principal; the higher the number, the harder the climb. All route grades are very subjective and change from place to place. Click HERE for more information on both rating scales.