Climb Iowa is Iowa’s largest indoor climbing and training facility, with more than 10,000 square feet of climbing, 200 routes and problems, a fitness room and yoga studio. There is something for climbers of all ages and abilities.
Before you come climb, there are a few things you should know:
- Anyone entering the facility is required to complete a Climb Iowa Visitor Agreement. If under the age of 18, the Visitor Agreement must be completed by a parent or a legal guardian. Anyone climbing or spectating must have a Visitor Agreement on file before they will be allowed into the gym. No exceptions. For a paper copy of the Visitor Agreement, it can be found HERE
- No appointment is necessary to climb. Upon your arrival to Climb Iowa, one of our staff members will give you an orientation of the gym. On weekends orientations are given every 15 minutes starting at 10:15 am. During that orientation, we will introduce you to the various types of climbing offered at Climb Iowa and instruct you on how to properly use an auto belay. If you know how to belay or lead climb, you are welcome to test out with our staff member. Otherwise you will be able to enjoy our auto belays and bouldering area for the day.
- Day Passes are good for an entire day. Individuals are welcome to leave the gym and come back for more climbing during the same business day. Every climber will need a harness, which can be rented here at the gym. Climbers will also need to wear shoes when climbing. Shoe rentals are not required, but climbing shoes do help when climbing. If you are unsure what to wear, check out our What to Wear page for more ideas.
- Formal instruction is an option and can enhance your climbing experience. Climb Iowa offers several Auto Belays, which allow individuals to climb after a short orientation. More options are available to individuals who take our Belay Class. The Belay Class is available to anyone 13 years or older, and the cost of the class includes your Day Pass and Rental Gear for the day of climbing. Climb Iowa also offers options for formal instruction on proper climbing technique for all ages.
- Climbing is a dangerous activity. To reduce the risks associated with climbing, we ask that all individuals follow the Rules that are posted at Climb Iowa. If you have other questions, feel free to check out our FAQ page.
Any dangerous action or disregard to these rules could result in the immediate loss of climbing privileges.
- All visitors must register at the front desk and complete a Climb Iowa Visitor Agreement. NO EXCEPTIONS
- Children under the age of 13 must be supervised at all times unless part of a Climb Iowa program.
- Visitors climbing with hands above 12’ must be “on-belay” unless they are climbing in designated bouldering areas.
- No running, horseplay or gymnastics of any kind; do not swing on the ropes.
- All belayers (auto-belay, top rope and lead) must complete a Climb Iowa belay test and be at least 13 years old (or have approval from the head climbing coach).
- The upstairs bouldering area is reserved for climbers age 13 and above (or have approval from the head climbing coach).
- Do not ‘top-out’ on upstairs bouldering walls, once at the top climb back down.
- Be aware of your surroundings at all times. Do not climb, stand, or sit below another climber.
- No climbing shoes or harnesses in the bathrooms.
- Do not climb while wearing headphones.
- Climbing on anything besides designated climbing surfaces (e.g. ladders, building structures) is prohibited.
- Notify staff immediately of any unusual climbing practices or rule violations in Climb Iowa.
- Only Climb Iowa Staff are allowed to provide instruction. NO EXCEPTIONS
- Once you reach the top of the wall, try to climb your way back down. The boulder pads are there as a last resort.
- Do not try to catch yourself with your arms when falling.
- Do not try to “stick” your landing when falling. Roll with your momentum.
- Statistically, bouldering is more dangerous than roped climbing because every fall is a ground fall.
You’ve got questions, and we’ve got answers!
Q: Who needs a Visitor Agreement?
A: Anyone who enters the gym, whether climbing or spectating, will need an up to date Visitor Agreement on file. If under the age of 18, the Visitor Agreement needs to be filled out by a parent or legal guardian.
Q: Do I need to reserve a time to climb?
A: Nope, we have open climbing every day. Occasionally we will have some days where our gym is closed, be sure to check out our special hours.
Q: Who can climb?
A: Anyone can climb!
Q: Do you have any other age restrictions?
A: Climbers need to be at least 13 years or older to clip themselves into our Auto Belays, use our upstairs boulder area and take our Belay Class.
Q: If I’m under 13 years old, how do I get to climb?
A: Climbers 12 and under must have an adult with them unless they are enrolled in a Climb Iowa program. The adult that brings them to the gym will go through an orientation to learn how to operate our Auto Belays. Those under the age of 13 will get to use our downstairs boulder area as well.
Q: It is my first time, how do I get started?
A: The easiest way to get on the wall is to come out and learn how to use our Auto Belays. Our gym orientation takes about 10 minutes and that allows you to use our bouldering areas and our Auto Belays. We encourage you, however, to take our Belay Class as you will have access to more of the facility. For more information on the Belay Class, see our Classes page.
Q: What if I don’t want to take the Belay Class, are there any other options?
A: We offer our staff at an hourly rate to take you around to belay for you and whomever is climbing with you. To Rent-A-Belayer, you will need to call the gym at least 2 weeks in advance to schedule an appointment. The cost is $25 per hour plus your day pass and rental gear. We recommend one belayer for every five climbers.
Q: I already know how to belay; do I have to take the Belay Class?
A: No. When you come into the gym, we will ask you to demonstrate your knowledge in tying a figure eight retrace knot, belaying properly, and showing us the proper checks and communication. If you are unable to perform these tasks without assistance, then you would be required to take our Belay Class in order to belay at our gym.
Q: What is an Auto Belay?
A: An Auto Belay is a mechanical device that does the belaying for you. Our Auto Belays use a combination of hydraulics and compressed air. This combination removes the slack in the rope as you ascend the wall. When you let go, the Auto Belay lowers you to the ground at a controlled speed.
Q: What is a Belayer?
A: A Belayer is a person that stands on the ground and controls the rope for the climber. Their responsibility is to take the slack out of the rope so when the climber lets go of the wall, they won’t fall to the ground. You can learn how to belay by taking our Belay Class. We also have Auto Belays to use in the gym if you don’t want to learn how to belay.