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Climbing Classes, Comps and Camps

2024 Osprey Onsite Competition!

Osprey Onsite is happening Saturday, May 18th 2024 at the Peter Courtney Health and Wellness Center HERE!!! Participant registration fee is $30 and check-in is at 8am with the climbing portion from 9am-12:30pm. Participant awards will be given out at 2:30pm. 
To confirm registration and find the pay link, go here to sign up.


 We, the Campus Recreation Department, pride ourselves on teaching the necessary skills needed to explore climbing as a lifelong fitness and recreational opportunity. Our philosophy is to always reward climbers with praise and positive reinforcement for a job well done. Climbers are never forced to perform. We wait until each climber is ready to progress. We believe that with patience, encouragement, and practice, our students will make the most of their time on the wall.

  • Monday/Wednesday or Tuesday/Thursday classes during the fall, winter, and spring are four weeks long consisting of eight lessons; each lesson lasts 60 minutes
  • Monday/Wednesday or Tuesday/Thursday classes during summer are two weeks long consisting of 4 lessons; each lesson lasts 60 minutes
  • Our preferred instructor to climber ratio is 1 instructor per 6 climbers
  • Classes may be combined to accommodate instructors/classes
  • Included in the class fee are the equipment rentals for the harness, belay device, locking carabiner, and climbing shoes

Activity Cost
Youth Climbing Lessons – fall, winter, and spring $75.00 per climber
Climb Camp – summer $130.00 per climber
PCIA Climbing Wall Instructor course $120.00 per climber
Lead climb class $40.00 per climber



 To be added to our email contact list please sign up here.

Climbing Lesson for Spring 2024 will run from April 22nd to May 16th.

Sign Up Form Here OPEN March 8th

We have provided some registration hints for signing-up multiple climbers for lessons below.

Steps for filling out the Google Form with multiple Climbers one time:

  • Fill out the first section with your (Parent/Guardian) information
  • The more information you provide us the better we can place your climber
  • The final question on the page is the climber’s information. Remember to put both climbers’ information. Select, “Next”. Answer the final question and select “Submit”. You are finished.

Steps for filling out the Google Form for multiple Climbers multiple times:

  • If the above information is not clear or your selections may be a little more specific then it may be easier to fill out the Google form for each Climber instead of trying to submit it all in one form.
  • Again, if you find it easier to understand you can follow the steps above just signing up one Climber per time. This way you do have to fill out your contact information twice.

Please reach out to us if you have any questions


Parent/Guardian Participation

Parent/Guardian Attendance
Parents/guardians will be required to complete the belay orientation class at the beginning of the course on the first night to help belay their climber for the duration of the course. We require one parent/guardian for every two climbers. We make this requirement for many reasons. To share just a few:

  • In order to provide the best possible experience for the youth climbing classes, we ask for your assistance and attendance. By attending as many climbing classes as possible, you not only allow for the most climbing time for your child, but also provide invaluable encouragement, support, and coaching in ways that our wall staff cannot.
  • As adults in these young climbers’ lives, you can help set goals, encourage along the way, and celebrate when they are achieved. We also encourage you to reiterate these skills and vocabulary learned in class at home while driving in the car or even when you come in to climb outside of class time. You know the techniques that work best with your climber in regards to accomplishing tasks and even discipline (gentle encouragement or commands).
  • The combination of all of the above with the technical teaching of our wall staff will allow your climber to get the most from these climbing lessons and afford you the opportunity to learn, play and interact with your climber.

Climbing Classes

Youth Climbing- Introduction to climbing: ages 5 and up
Purpose: No prior experience is needed! Climbers will become acclimated to the wall environment in a fun and exciting way.

We are excited to be involved in your climbing experience. At Western Oregon University we believe that a healthy climbing culture is a key to producing the next generation of climbers.

Some of the skills to be introduced include:

  • Bouldering and top-rope safety
  • Climbing communication
  • Equipment use
  • Basic movement techniques
  • Climbing hold identification and use

Parents/guardians will be required to complete the belay orientation class at the beginning of the course on the first night to help belay their climber for the duration of the course. We require one parent/guardian for every two climbers.

Climbing CAMP: for ages 12 and up

Campus Recreation offers multi-day camps for developing climbers. Open to the community these camps focus on youth 12 and up looking to work on technical ability and safe climbing practices. This course curriculum maximizes exposure to the climbing wall in the safety of an indoor setting. Our instructors are PCIA certified climbing wall instructors and use methods to take climbers through standardized movement and technical lessons. This is the perfect class for both new and seasoned climbers!

Lead Climbing 101: for ages 16 and up

This class is designed to provide an introduction to indoor lead climbing. The class is geared for experienced top rope climbers at a consistent 5.9 level or better, with a minimum of 6 months of top rope/ belaying experience. This 5-hour class covers the basics of indoor lead climbing.

Upon completion of the class, participants will:

  • Understand the risk and added safety considerations associated with lead climbing such as fall factors, back-clipping, and z-clipping.
  • Identify lead-specific equipment and demonstrate proper use.
  • Demonstrate proper lead climbing and belaying techniques.
  • Demonstrate proper communication as it relates to lead climbing.

Types of Climbing offered

Top-roped Climbing

Top-roping is the most common style used at indoor climbing walls. A climber attaches their harness to one end of a rope, which then passes up through an anchor at the top of the wall, and then down to a partner who belays the climber. As the climber ascends the wall, the belayer pulls in the slack rope, such that if a climber were to let go, they would be held in place on the wall. Top-roping is the ideal way to start climbing for beginners since it is psychologically easier and less physically demanding than lead climbing.


Bouldering is a style of rock climbing undertaken without a rope and normally limited to very short climbs over a crash pad so that a fall will not result in serious injury. One advantage of bouldering indoors with crash pads is that it can be practiced alone without a partner.

Bouldering is a style of climbing emphasizing power, strength, and dynamics. Its focus is on individual moves or short sequences of moves, unlike other forms of climbing, which generally demand more endurance over longer stretches where the difficulty of individual moves is not as great.

To reduce the risk of injury from a fall, climbers rarely go higher than 12 feet above the ground. One of the major appeals of bouldering is its relatively small equipment requirements, just climbing shoes and a chalk bag.

Lead Climbing

Lead climbing is a climbing technique used to ascend a route where the climber attaches themselves to a length of dynamic (slightly stretchy) climbing rope and ascends whilst periodically attaching themselves to fixed protection on the face of the route and”clipping in” to it. At WOU’s Climbing Wall the quickdraws have already been attached on the wall, and the climber only needs to “clip in” the rope.

Lead climbing differs from Top-Roping in that the climber does not have an anchor point above them whilst climbing, but clips their rope onto the wall as they ascend. This does give the potential for larger falls and presents a greater mental challenge. A climber must have passed the Campus Recreation Department’s Lead Climbing class before they are allowed to lead climbing.

Like top-roping, the lead climber must have another person acting as a belayer. However, the belayer’s job is more complex than for top-roping, since they not only hold the rope in the event of a fall but also must give out rope or taking up slack as the climber moves up and progressively clips the rope into the quickdraws.


PCIA Certification course


Registration is completed at the front desk of the Health and Wellness Center (Map) using cash/check during operational hours. Class is now open to WOU students and community members.

To expedite your registration process, please fill out the Activity Registration form prior to your arrival at the HWC.

PCIA Climbing Wall Instructor course

The PCIA Climbing Wall Instructor Course provides instructors and potential instructors with an in-depth and standardized understanding of the skills essential to teaching climbing in an indoor setting. It is the first step in a sequential approach to professional climbing instructor development. The course reinforces the importance of teaching technically accurate information and debunks many common climbing myths.

The course emphasizes the presentation of sound fundamental skills to climbing gym participants, the formation of risk assessment and risk management skills, and basic problem-solving skills such as belay transitions and on wall coaching and assist techniques. Participants will be assessed on both their core knowledge and their ability to effectively teach and coach related skills.


  • The candidate must show an adequate experience level to the course provider illustrating that he/she is ready for the course. Examples include periodic climbing for 2-3 years, high intensity of climbing in the past few months, etc.
  • Able to easily put on a harness and tie in appropriately.
  • Able to belay with an aperture belay device and an assisted locking device in a competent, comfortable, and confident manner.
  • Equipment necessary for the course may be checked out for class; inquire at time of registration.
  • Capable of comfortably top-roping 5.8 on an artificial climbing wall.

Cost: $120 for WOU students and $120 for non-WOU students (cash or check payments) which includes all classroom materials (CWI Course Manual, pre-course study and lesson preparation materials, and written and practical exams).

Winter term class

Date Time Registration opens Registration deadline
 TBA  4-8pm Fri, 8-5pm both Sat/Sun TBA  TBA

360 degree tour during a climb

This video is a 360° design, so rotate your view to see more while the video is going.

The climbing wall is housed within the Health and Wellness Center. It is an Entre-Prises Imprint wall with over 1600 square feet of climbing surface. The wall stands at 40 feet high and 40 feet wide, containing both top-rope routes and bouldering problems for climbers of all skill levels. An additional bouldering rock and hang board are available.