I just found out this place existed. How long have you guys been here?
-Vertical eXcape has been in business at the same location since 1999. If you’re just now hearing about us, it is probably because indoor climbing as a sport and recreational activity has become so popular in just the past few years. We have dedicated climbers who have been with us every week since the beginning and staff who began climbing here when they were just tweens.
What kinds of climbing can I do? / How does this work?
-We offer 3 types of climbing anyone can do on their very first day, and 1 more that requires fairly extensive additional training and practice.
Bouldering is climbing without ropes and harnesses, staying lower to the ground, and using a padded landing surface and/or spotting partners. Bouldering is a great way to build strength and technique, but lacks in endurance benefits. Anyone wishing to boulder must watch our Facility Orientation and Fall Safety video of about 6 minutes. This can usually be combined with the auto-belay orientation for the same price, and you can still be climbing in about 20 minutes.
Top-Rope stations use a 2-person setup; a climber that is attached to one end of a rope, the rope then runs up to an anchor system at the top of the climb and back down to the belayer (second person managing the slack in the rope from the ground). The belayer’s responsibility is to pull the slack through a belay device as the climber goes up the wall, “brake” the rope during a fall, and control the descent of the climber back to the ground. Participants 12 years old and over can be taught to belay during the Belay Course. Participants 11 years and under are not allowed to belay, and are required to have an adult belayer and supervision at all times. Vertical eXcape is equipped with 28 top rope stations, enough to satisfy the beginner through advanced climber. Anyone wishing to top-rope must watch our Facility Orientation and Belay Course video (that also covers Bouldering and Auto-Belay systems) and this will give you full access to each climbing area in the gym. Total training time is typically around 40-50 minutes.
Weekdays: 1pm, 3pm, 5pm, or 7pm
Saturdays: 11am, 1pm, 3pm, or 5pm
Auto-Belay stations are a form of top-rope climbing in the sense that the anchor and TruBlue device are always above you while climbing (very little slack in the rope). The difference with auto-belay devices is that your catch and descent are automatically controlled by a device rather than another person. There is also no “pause” on the way up; once your weight is applied to the system the device will begin to lower you automatically. Our auto-belay systems can handle any climber between 25 and 325 lbs, and require just a brief orientation to get started. The TruBlue auto-belay system is recognized across the industry as a very low-risk and reliable device when used properly. Anyone wishing to auto-belay (as well as any adults supervising young climbers) must watch our Facility Orientation and Auto-belay video, then complete a practice session with an instructor. Total time of about 15 minutes. Orientations for the auto-belays begin every even-numbered hour (12pm, 2pm, etc).
Sport climbing is a more advanced type of climbing. With sport climbing, the climber, the belayer, and the rope all start on the ground. As the climber goes up the wall, they clip the rope into pre-set anchors. Each time the climber advances up the wall, they must climb above their last anchor point to reach the next one. If the climber falls as they climb above the anchor, there is risk for a potentially long fall before the rope catches. However, if the belayer and climber use proper skills and techniques, falls can be controlled and risk of injury can be greatly minimized. Prior to sport climbing all participants must pass a lead climb and belay test.
Sport climbing has quickly become a common outdoor activity. Vertical eXcape is committed to providing a structured environment in which climbers can learn the basics of sport climbing and begin a transition from the climbing gym to the outdoor climbing crag safely, responsibly, and ethically.
How old does someone have to be to climb?
-Our minimum participation age is 5 years old. We have also had climbers up to their 70s do just fine in our facility.
What should I wear?
-Good climbing clothes can be any that don’t restrict movement and allow for flexibility. For some people, that can be jeans and a t-shirt. Others may prefer sport-shorts, yoga pants, or sweatpants. Also, don’t plan on going straight out to a fancy dinner afterwards. Sorry but no kilts, skirts, and dresses allowed.
Climbers are allowed to climb in tennis shoes or boots, but what works best are shoes designed specifically for climbing. We have these available at the front desk as part of your gear rental package.
What is belay?
-Belay is a term that describes the ropes and safety systems used to keep the climber safe and to bring them back to the ground once they’re done climbing. The “belayer” is the person on the ground controlling the safety system and removing the slack in the rope created by the climber going up the wall. In the case of Auto-belay stations, a device hung at the top of the station automatically takes away the climber’s slack and lowers them down slowly when they release from the wall.
How old does someone have to be to belay?
-Because the climber’s safety depends so much on the belayer, we require belayers to be 12 years or older to get certified.
What is the Belay Course?
-The full VX Belay Course is our class that teaches climbers and belayers how to how to participate in 3 different types of climbing, and also covers our facility rules and regulations. Every new climber/belayer, or anyone who has not climbed/belayed at the gym within the previous 6 months, will have to take the Belay Course prior to using the standard belay stations.
Weekdays: 1pm, 3pm, 5pm, or 7pm
Saturdays: 11am, 1pm, 3pm, or 5pm
How do I sign up for the Belay Course?
-Reservations are not required for individuals. Groups of 6 or more need to call ahead to ensure we can accommodate you. The best approach is to arrive 15 minutes before the class you wish to attend so we can get you checked in and geared up in time for training.
How much does it cost just to belay?
-If you are “current” on your belay skills (you have trained/belayed with us in the last 6 months) there is never a charge to belay or use a belay harness. If you are “out of date” or have never belayed with us before, there is a $10 charge to get certified via a Belay class. This training for a parent is included with the price of a Full Access Package if the climber is 11 years or younger.
It’s been over 6 months since my last visit but I still remember everything perfectly. Do I need to take the Belay Course again?
-If you feel that you don’t need to retrain, we offer an option to “test out” of the Belay Course. The first stage is a written test showing that you understand and remember the belay devices, harnesses, safety checks and commands, and guidelines for climbing at VX. The second stage is a hands-on demonstration where you show a member of the staff that you can complete each part of the climbing/belaying process properly.
I have never been to your gym, but I climb outside/elsewhere a lot and already know what I’m doing.
-Every new visitor to VX will be required to watch our Facility Orientation and Bouldering Safety video. In order to test out of other types of climbing, see above.