Questions? We’ve got answers!


If I have never climbed before, can I drop by and climb?

Of course! There are plenty of options for new climbers.  We have a bouldering area and auto belay devices that can be used without any prior climbing or belaying experience.  Outside of those options you need someone to belay for you who has been certified by the staff.  We offer Intro Classes for anyone interested in learning how to belay and activities for people who want the staff to belay for them.

What can my child do at PRG?

There are plenty of opportunities for youth to participate in all sorts of fun at Portland Rock Gym. Check out our Children’s Policy first, then explore all the options like Climbing Team, Afterschool Programs, Kids Climb, Climbing Camps, and Parties!

What is belaying?

Belaying is managing the rope for the climber to protect them from falls and to lower them after they finish a climb.  It is a vital skill to know if you are interested in climbing.  We offer Intro Classes that cover the knot tying and belaying skills.

Can the staff belay for me?

The staff does not normally belay for people on a drop-in basis.  We do offer our Friday Night Heights activities where the staff belays and there are also private belay options that can be scheduled in advance.

I know how to belay, how do I find a partner?

A great way to find a partner is to come in and climb!  Even if you are by yourself, you can meet people while using the auto belays or bouldering who also do not have a belay partner.  We also have “lonely climber” cards that identify people who are looking for a belay partner.  There is a personals board or climbfind.com as well.

What do I need to do to belay in the gym?

In order to belay in the gym, you need to have prior belay experience and pass our belay test.  You have to demonstrate your ability to belay on an “ATC” style device, tie a “rewoven figure 8” knot, check your partner before a climb and perform the belay commands.  There is no cost for a belay test and we can usually do the belay test on a drop-in basis.

What do I need to do to lead belay in the gym?

In order to lead belay in the gym, you need to pass the top rope belay test, have prior lead experience, including catching a falling leader while belaying and taking a lead fall, and pass our lead belay test.  During the lead test, you need to demonstrate a back clip, a z-clip, climb a 5.9 on lead, take a fall and catch a falling leader.  There is no cost for a lead test. The lead test can be administered based on staff availability. We do offer Lead Climbing Clinics to help you learn.

Who can fill out a youth (under 18) waiver?

Only a child’s parents or legal guardian can fill out their waiver.

How do I start climbing outdoors?

PRG offers an outdoor guiding service as well as the weekly Gym to Crag class. We also have several outdoor clinics that you can find on our Classes & Clinics page.

What is bouldering?

Bouldering is climbing without using ropes.  The bouldering area has 10-12 foot walls and additional padding and crash pads.  Bouldering is sometimes considered its own sport, with some climbers identifying themselves as “boulderers.” Bouldering takes the hardest moves of climbing and condenses those moves to smaller walls.

What are “auto belays?”

Auto belays are devices that perform the rope management for you without the need for a belay partner.  The auto belays clip to your harness and pull on you as you climb.  As soon as you let go, they lower you to the ground.  Each person needs to go through an auto belay orientation before using the auto belays.

What should I wear while climbing?

Most people will were athletic clothes that allow for freedom of movement and can absorb sweat.  Yoga clothes work really well for climbing.

Do I need special equipment for climbing?

You will need climbing shoes, a harness, and if you’re belaying, a belay device.  All of these items are available to rent from the gym if you do not own them.


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