Climbing FAQ’s

Do I need to book ahead of coming?

We require a booking to be made at least 48 hours in advance if the climbers do not have previous climbing experience in our gym or another climbing facility to guarantee the climbing time of your choice. However, give us a call or stop on by and we will do our best to accommodate you. To confirm all bookings, please call 519-767-0838.

Our staff will give you a quick belay test to ensure you have knowledge of the proper knots and experience with a Petzl GriGri and a certified harness.

Is there a minimum or maximum age for climbing?

As long as you have the desire and energy to climb, there are no age restrictions to just climbing. However, there is a minimum age for our Introductory Lesson (12 and up).

Can I bring kids that aren’t mine?

You can if they have a completed waiver. Climbers under 18 must have their waiver completed by a parent or court appointed guardian. This can be done online. There are no exceptions to this rule. Participants without a legal waiver will not be able to climb. Grandparents, aunts, uncles, and siblings cannot fill out waivers for their family members under 18. You cannot fill out a waiver for a child who is not yours.

Is special clothing or equipment needed?

Regular exercise clothes are fine. Climbing shoes are very helpful (you can usually climb a level harder with them) but are not required. If you are not using climbing shoes then clean dry indoor shoes are a must. No open toed or backless shoes are allowed. Skirts are not permitted to be worn by climbers. Harnesses are only required for roped climbing and can be rented.

Do I have to go to the top?

No one is ever forced to go to the top. At the Grotto we understand everyone has different levels of ability and we make sure that all climbers now they can always step off the climb and come down if they are uneasy or anxious.

I have a physical disability—can I still climb?

Most physical disabilities can be accommodated—please contact us directly to discuss..

Do you sell climbing gear?

We have a small retail selection and carry equipment from Petzl and flashed, and shoes from Scarpa and Mad Rock. We also carry our own line of signature t-shirts. The closest alternatives for buying equipment locally are Adventure Guide ( in Waterloo (519-886-3121) and Mountain Equipment Co-op ( in Kitchener, Burlington and Toronto.

What should I wear when I come climbing?

It is crucial to wear clothing that is non-restrictive. Make sure you are wearing something that is comfortable and allows for a generous amount of stretching and movement. Please be aware than it can be hot in here at certain times of the year, so we suggest wearing layers that can be easily removed. Also, if you are not planning on renting climbing shoes, please bring clean, dry, indoor running shoes (this is mostly weather dependent).

Are there discounted rates for groups?

We offer many packages and discounts for groups of all sizes. These prices can be acquired by emailing us or calling and speaking with a staff member. Packages are also incredibly flexible and can be tailored to suits specific needs. Groups can also book in for times during off hours, and are in fact encouraged to do so. Just ask!

How much would it cost for my family of four to come climbing for an hour?

There are many options for a family of four, depending on age and energy level, but the most common option would be to book for an hour of climbing supervised by one of our qualified instructors. So, for four people for an hour of climbing, the price would be $60 (tax included). This would include the harness rental and the instructor for the hour.

How much climbing would we expect to get in during an hour?

This is a relatively subjective question as it is something that depends entirely on the athletic abilities and energy levels of the climbers. However, we usually say that, depending on the number of climbers, each individual can except to climb anywhere from 5-10 routes (25 + feet) in the hour period. Climbing is limited to one-at-a-time with the instructors up the roped walls, but while one person in climbing roped routes, the others can be climbing on our designated free-climbing areas, also fondly referred to as our boulders, as well as on our auto-belays.

Need more info?

If you have a question about climbing for the first time or need more info send us an email or call us during our regular operating hours 519 767 0838