Answers to common questions

Not seeing the answer you’re looking for? We’re happy to help! Email us at info@firstascentclimbing.com or call us at 773-564-9815.

What kinds of climbing are offered at First Ascent Avondale?

We offer autobelay, top rope, and lead climbing as well as bouldering. You can enjoy autobelay climbing or bouldering after a brief orientation. If you would like to top rope or lead climb, you will either need to pass a belay check or take the appropriate rope skills class. Please note: to receive a full Top Rope certification, you may not practice or learn the necessary skills the day of your test. A temporary tag may be granted for the day if correct knowledge and skills are shown.

How tall are your climbing walls?

We have walls up to 60 ft. tall!

I’m an experienced climber. Do you require a belay check?

Yes – we require belay checks for both top rope and lead climbing. Give us a call if you have questions about the skills needed to pass a belay check. Please note: to receive a Top Rope or Lead certification, you may not practice or learn the necessary skills the day of your test. A temporary tag may be granted for the day if correct knowledge and skills are shown.

What age does my child need to be to climb at First Ascent?

Though kids of any age can climb, we typically recommend climbing at First Ascent for kids 5 and up.

Please note: kids under 14 must be actively supervised by an adult at all times while at First Ascent. Active supervision means staying with your kids at all times on climbing flooring and ensuring they are following our rules and guidelines.

Kids must be 14 or older to become Top Rope certified and 16 or older to become Lead certified.

We offer kids climbing classes as well as drop in climbing sessions for kids – clink links to learn more.

What belay devices are allowed at First Ascent?

For top rope climbing, all ropes have a GriGri permanently attached to the top rope that belayers are required to use. For lead climbing, you must use a belay device that has an assisted braking mechanism. Examples of these devices include the Petzl GriGri, Black Diamond ATC PilotEdelrid Jul,  Mammut Smart 2.0Climbing Technology Click UPWild Country RevoMad Rock LifeguardCamp Matik, and Trango Vergo. Passive tube style devices like the standard ATC and friction style devices like the Figure 8 are not permitted. You must use the belay device you passed your Lead Check with.

What is bouldering?

Bouldering is climbing shorter routes (called “problems” ) using a cushy pad below you to protect against a fall – no harness or rope required. Some say bouldering is the purest form of climbing: it’s just you and the wall.

Bouldering is often more difficult move for move than sport climbing, requiring solid climbing technique and problem solving skills to unlock the “beta” (the series of movements required to complete a boulder problem) and get a “send” (when a climber completes a boulder problem from start to finish with no rests or falls).

Do you have autobelays?

We sure do: located throughout the gym with access to a variety of grade ranges

What should I wear?

Comfortable, stretchy athletic clothing. We recommend wearing pants or shorts that cover your knees to protect them against scraping on the wall.If you will be renting climbing shoes, we recommend wearing socks also.

Do I need to take a class to climb?

Though classes are not required to boulder or use an autobelay, we highly recommend taking a Learning The Ropes class to gain the skills you need to climb and belay using a top rope. If you’re looking for an in-depth introduction to climbing, take an Intro to Climbing class, which covers belay skills as well as efficient climbing technique that will fast track your climbing progress.

Do I need to rent climbing gear if I don’t have my own?

You will need to rent a harness if you plan to use our autobelays. We recommend renting climbing shoes also, since they significantly improve your climbing experience, but you can climb in closed-toe athletic shoes if you prefer.

Do you sell climbing gear?

Yes! We sell a wide variety of climbing shoes, harnesses, chalk bags, chalk, and other climbing essentials. Stop in or call for selection on specific items.

Do you have fitness equipment?

Absolutely! We have a full range or cardio equipment, free weights, functional training equipment, and climbing-specific training equipment. You will have everything you need to get a full-body workout at First Ascent.

Do I have to pay extra for yoga or fitness classes?

All regularly scheduled Yoga and Community Fit classes are included with your Membership or Day Pass purchase. Basecamp group training, personal training, and special workshops require additional purchases – click each link for more information.

What is the FA Bonus or Perkville?

Learn more about the FA Bonus here.