Grand Valley Climbing

Browse Our Frequently Asked Questions Below

If you still don’t see an answer to a question you have, then feel free to use the form below to get in touch with us.

Fields marked with a * are required.



Do I need a waiver?

Yes, all climbers, chaperones, and spectators must have a current Release of Liability Form (waiver) on file before being allowed access into the climbing areas.

What is a Gym Orientation and why must I complete one before climbing?

The Gym Orientation is a process that is mandatory for all climbers regardless of experience level. It is a brief tour and introduction into our facility operations, gym rules, and policies. We strive to maintain a community of climbers that our educated and aware of all potential hazards at the gym.The orientation process will be customized to your climbing experience level and will take 5-10 minutes. At the end of the orientation process you will be certified to climb in our Auto-Belay and Bouldering areas.

I've never climbed before, what should I expect?

After completing the waiver/check-in process and getting geared up with the help of our staff, you will be guided around the gym during the Gym Orientation. You will get a introduction GVC rules and policies and be given a brief lesson on indoor climbing. At the end of the Gym Orientation process you will complete a certification process with our staff and will be given access to our Auto-Belay and Bouldering areas.

What should I wear?

Comfortable athletic clothing that allows for maximum mobility and stretchiness. If you’re not planning on renting climbing shoes (which allow you to climb to your top potential), wear sneakers or tennis shoes. No boots, sandals, or “toe shoes” are allowed. Socks (not provided) are always recommended but not mandatory with rental climbing shoes.

My child is under the age of 14 and wants to climb. What are your policies?

All climbers under the age of 14 must be directly supervised by an adult chaperone at all times. The chaperone must complete their own waiver to access the climbing areas. The chaperone must also participate and complete the Gym Orientation along side their child in order to be able to properly assist and supervise the child.

What are your age limits for climbing, bouldering, and belaying?

Two years old is the minimum for climbing on our top rope or auto belay systems. Children under the age of 5 may wear a helmet while climbing (provided free of charge with day pass and equipment rental purchase). We ask parents for parents with children in the 2-5 year old range to fully understand the risk and scare factor of indoor climbing. Belayers must be at least 14 years of age or currently enrolled in one of GVC’s youth climbing teams to certify with GVC staff.

Can I drop off my child (under 14) to climb without a chaperone?

All climbers under the age of 14 must be supervised at all times by an adult chaperone. No unsupervised climbing is allowed for climbers under the age of 14.

What are Auto-Belays? Are they safe?

We will have many auto-belay climbing systems in our gym. They allow climbers to self-attach, climb, and descend without a second person holding a rope. Climbing on an auto-belay, just like any other forms of climbing, involves an inherent risk. GVC staff will train and certify all climbers in correct auto-belay use and potential hazards before allowing access.

What is Bouldering?

Bouldering is un-roped climbing on shorter walls up to 15 feet set above an impact attenuating flooring system. No previous experience is needed for bouldering, but all new climbers are strongly encouraged to experience roped climbing before bouldering. Bouldering involves increased inherent risks due to the fact that every fall off the boulder wall is a ground fall. Any type of ground fall could result in injury.

What equipment can I use?

You can use either our certified rental equipment or you can bring in your own climbing gear. All personal equipment will be checked and verified by staff before use.

I'm an experienced climber, do I need to complete a Gym Orientation or certify to belay on top rope?

Yes, all climbers regardless of experience level must complete a Gym Orientation before climbing. This process is done for the climber to learn about our particular facility rules and policies. All climbers wishing to belay on top rope must complete a GVC Top Rope Belay Certification. This process takes about 5 minutes and your certification will be kept on file.

  • In order to be certified, belayers must demonstrate the following to Grand Valley Climbing Staff…
    • Proper figure-8 knot construction and use and checks
    • Proper belay device/carabiner/rope setup (ATC or GriGri)
    • Proper climber communication/checks
    • Proper belay technique (brake hand must never leave rope)
    • Proper fall arresting technique
    • Controlled lowering of the climber
  • If you need a refresher or would like to learn how to belay on top rope, we invite you to our Introduction to Indoor Climbing Class offered 2 times a week.
  • 24 hour waiting period is mandatory between certification attempts. We will keep certifications on file for one year.

Can I teach my friend how to belay or tie a knot in the gym??

No, we do not allow any person other than GVC staff to instruct knots or belaying techniques

I am a GVC certified belayer, can I tie a knot for my climber that is not belay certified?

Yes, certified belayers can tie knots for any climber as long as they adhere to gym rules and policies regarding top rope belaying.

Do I need to certify to lead climb or belay at the gym?

Yes, all climbers wishing to lead climb or lead belay must certify with GVC staff.

  • In order to be certified to lead climb, climbers must demonstrate the following to Grand Valley Climbing Staff…
    • Proper knowledge of back clips and z-clips
    • Proper communication/checks before and during climb
    • Proper clipping of quick draws (no skipping clips, no back clips, no z-clips, clips both top anchors)
    • Proper body positioning while climbing and clipping (no foot over rope, proper comfortable clipping stances)
  • In order to be certified to lead belay, belayers must demonstrate the following to Grand Valley Climbing Staff…
    • Proper knowledge of back clips and z-clips
    • Proper communication/checks with the climber, before and during climb
    • Correct maintenance of slack to the climber during climbing and clipping
    • Maintains brake hand in control of the rope at all times
    • Proper understanding of effect of lead falls on climber and belayer
    • Maintains correct positioning in respect to wall and climber at all times

*If you have not lead climbed before but would like to learn, we highly recommend enrolling in our Introduction into Lead Climbing and Belaying Course. Our instructors will teach you proper rope management, clipping techniques, and train you to belay a lead climber.

I want to bring in my group to climb at GVC, what do I do?

We would love to host your event! Call us at least two weeks in advance in order to get on our event schedule and to receive the lowest possible rates!

How much does it cost?

Our day pass rates start at $20. We also offer gear rental, punch cards, memberships, special group rates, and day to day specials. Yoga and training classes are free for members. Class drop in rates are also available.

Will my certifications that I get at the gym allow me to climb outside?

No, the certifications earned at Grand Valley Climbing are not guarantees of comprehension of all aspects of outdoor rock climbing.