YMCA Calgary > Climbing


New to Climbing at the YMCA? Here’s What You Need to Know:

  • The use of all three YMCA climbing walls across the city are free for all city-wide memberships
  • No experience or equipment is needed
  • Ideal for all ages and fitness levels. You can start climbing as early as 4 years old*.
  • A free Belay Course (First Ascents) is available for members aged 14Y+
  • Open Climb is supervised at all times by certified climbing instructors to support all climbing experiences, help climbers belay, provide coaching tips and answer questions
  • Auto-belay system available on all three climbing walls allows all climbers to go on their own
  • Each location (Shawnessy, Saddletowne and South Health Campus) has their own monthly Climbing Wall Schedule posted on their branch page that includes regular Open Climb hours and Registered Program times.
  • New to Climbing Courses and Preschool-Level Programs are available for beginners. Check our Program Guides for more details.

Free Belay Course for Members 14Y+

  • Participants are strongly encouraged to complete the free First Ascents Course with a certified climbing instructor before using the Climbing Wall.
  • Learn how to navigate the wall, belay, work with knots, and learn safety procedures.
  • After completing the course, you can take the Belay Test so you can belay a partner and take full advantage of Open Climb hours.
  • For First Ascents Course schedule and to register online - Check out Member Zone.

Climbing Wall Waivers Required

Every participant needs to complete a signed waiver before using the Climbing Wall. A parent or guardian must sign waivers for participants under 18Y.

Clothing and Equipment

  • YMCA Calgary provides harnesses and belay devices at no extra charge during Open Climb and Programs.
  • No personal climbing equipment can be used.
  • Wear comfortable workout clothing and running shoes or appropriate closed toe footwear. Climbing shoes are not provided and not required.

Climbing Wall Guidelines

  • All climbers must be 4Y+ and demonstrate proper use of harness and safe belaying before climbing.
  • Children under 8Y must be accompanied by an adult during Open Climb hours unless in a registered program.
  • Children over 8Y can use the climbing wall without a parent during Open Climb times.
  • Children 4-7 Y must be belayed by an adult (18Y and up).

Climbing Wall Bookings

Book the Wall for special events, birthday parties, corporate team building and more! Call your local branch and speak to the Program Manager for more more information.