Sample Climbing Wall Rules

Failure to obey a Facilitator or to follow facility rules may result in disciplinary action, including loss of climbing wall privileges. Required equipment for climbing wall users:

  • All participants (boulderers, belayers, and climbers) must wear closed-toed shoes—no bare feet or open-toed sandals are permitted
  • All boulderers must wear a helmet at all times they are on the wall
  • All belayers must wear a harness and be connected to an anchor while belaying
  • All climbers must wear a helmet and harness and must be on belay at all times they are on the wall

Only [organization] equipment is allowed on the wall.

  • A returning boulderer must present his/her Bouldering Certification to check out a helmet and climbing flag
  • A returning climber must present his/her Climbing Certification to check out a helmet, harness, carabiner and climbing flag
  • A returning belayer must present his/her Belaying Certification to check out a harness and carabiner
  • New boulderers, climbers or belayers must see a Facilitator for equipment, instruction and testing

Before bouldering you MUST check in with a Facilitator to:

  • show your climbing flag
  • introduce your spotter
  • confirm that you will not climb above the bouldering line

Before climbing, you MUST:

  • have your harness, helmet, carabiner and knot checked by a Facilitator
  • be on belay with a certified belayer whose knot and carabiner has been checked and who is appropriately anchored (or who has a back-up belayer if your facility does not have an anchoring system)
  • be wearing your climbing flag so your permission to be on the wall is clearly evident


  • If an auto-belay system is in use, references to belayers should be removed from the two equipment rules and the second bullet point of the before-climbing rule should read “have a Facilitator 1) ensure that your carabiner is connected through the anchor loop to the auto belay and your harness and 2) perform a squeeze check on your carabiner to ensure that it is locked.”
  • When a participant belayer is used (as opposed to a staff belayer), using a back-up participant belayer is a good option as it provides extra protection and also involves another participant in the process (as long as the two belayers are paying attention to the task at hand and not distracted by chatting with one another).
  • Rules can be posted as preferred by the facility director or program administrator, but it is suggested that multiple signs be used to increase the probability of readership. The first rule (Facilitator’s authority) could easily be alone and posted in a very prominent location. The other groups (the two climbing equipment rules and the before bouldering/before climbing rules) probably should be separated, with the equipment rules positioned so as to direct participants to the equipment acquisition area and the before-beginning near point of use.

Other guidelines, such as facility specific requirements, behavioral rules, age limitations, time restrictions, prohibition of food or drink, etc. may be posted as deemed advisable by the facility director/administrator.