Belay Lesson and Orientation
Cost: $10 (or included with First Visit Package)
A Belay Lesson and or Belay Test is a one time prerequiste for anyone 14 and older who plans to climb at our facility. This instruction is done by Climb Kalamazoo Staff only. You will learn to:
1. Attach the climbers harness to a rope using a figure eight with a follow-through and a safety knot according to manufacturers recommended use.
2. Use a GRIGRI+ belay device according to manufacturers recommended use. Keep the rope tight while the climber ascends, catch falls for your climber, lower your climber slowly to the ground.
3. Double check your partner before they leave the ground.
4. Communicate effectively with your climber using verbal commands.
5. Bouldering house rules and guidelines.
6. Auto Belay Orientation.
During busy times we will begin on the hour, please plan to arrive 10 minutes early to complete waiver, check in and payment. No appointment necessary. Lessons last 45 minutes to 1 hour depending on size, and open climbing begins immediately after. Please keep in mind if you're visiting closer to closing time that you will have to complete the instruction before climbing, and your open climbing time may be reduced accordingly.
Experienced belayers may request a belay test for GRIGRI+ or ATC. Climbing facilities may differ, so be prepared to take the lesson if your experience has been with different equipment or techniques than offered by Climb Kalamazoo.
Lead climbing is the manner of climbing where you clip the rope through protection as you gain in vertical. This is the basis of climbing outside in many parts of the country. Lead climbing, due to being above your rope entails new dangers that are not present in top rope climbing. Climb Kalamazoo maintains 40-50 routes exclusively for lead climbing. Six months climbing experience and 5.10a climbing ability may indicate readiness to gain lead instruction. Belayers should be proficient in P.B.U.S. technique, belaying for down climbing, with ATC -or- GriGri style device before taking the class. You must be proficient with the belay device you plan to use for the class. Climbers should be comfortable climbing with a minimal amount of slack in the system.
Please watch these videos from the American Alpine Club before considering the class or test:
Lead climbers who have taken a class at another commercial climbing facility, from a professional outdoor guide or who meet certain minimum experience qualifications may be eligible to test out of the class. Lead test fees are $5. Please email Phil at for availability. Testing is usually not available during the busiest times, like Saturdays.
To become Lead Qualified at Climb Kalamazoo, one must demonstrate competency for the following:
1. Use all climbing equipment according to manufacturers recommended use
2. Tie a figure eight knot with follow through tied directly on harness
3. Proper use of safety commands
4. Correct lead belay method directly from harness
5. Proper clipping and rope management practices
6. Catch unexpected lead fall
Lead Class $75 for one person
or $50/person for two or more.
Classes can usually be scheduled weekdays starting at 4 pm, 5 pm or 6 pm. Other times may be available upon request. Please do not sign up before you are are an expert at PBUS with an ATC. To schedule a lead class email Phil at with your first and second choice for class dates and times. Once we schedule an instructor we will provide you the link for sign up and payment to confirm your class time. Please schedule at least three days ahead of time.
The advanced belay class will give you the skills and practice you need to prepare for the next level.
Belay with an ATC
Downclimbing with ATC and grigri
Tying the 8 like a pro