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Ways to Climb

Looking to climb? You don't need to be part of any club or even have your own gear! Our friendly staff at the climbing wall desk are there to get you started. They'll introduce you to the sport and our facility, help you rent gear, and give you tips along the way.


Bouldering is climbing without any harnesses or ropes at lower heights and above thick padding on the ground.

  • Bouldering requires no specific climbing gear, but climbers must be wearing closed-toe shoes on the wall.
  • Patrons must follow the Open Bouldering Policy.


Auto-belays or automatic belays, use magnetic braking technology to control a climber's safety line. While connected to the system, the climber's webbing will retract into the mechanism until they come off the wall. During the climber's descent, the auto-belay slowly extends the webbing to give a smooth ride back to the ground.

  • The use of auto-belays requires a 5-minute orientation with a staff member.
  • You must be wearing a harness to use auto-belays. 

Patron Belay

To belay is to control and manage the rope for a climber.

  • You may belay another patron as long as you have passed our belay test (Valid for the remainder of the academic year). Top-rope belay tests cost $10.
  • A harness is needed for both climber and belayer. The belayer will also need a belay device. All pieces of equipment are available for rent at the desk.
  • Patrons can learn to belay in a climbing clinic.

Staff Belay

You can request an Outdoor Pursuit Center staff member to manage the rope for you while you climb.

  • Cost: $3 per climb
  • A single staff belayed climb ends when you reach the top of the wall or decide to be lowered.
  • A harness is needed to have a staff member belay you.


Lead climbing is an advanced form of climbing in which the climber must take the rope up with them and connect to pieces of protection while climbing.

  • Both climber and belayer must be lead qualified at our facility.
    • To become lead qualified, you must first be top-rope belay qualified at our facility and then take the lead test. The lead test is $15.
  • Patrons can learn to lead climb and belay in a climbing clinic.

Climbing Clinics

Intro to Climbing Clinic

If you are new to climbing and looking to become more independent in the sport, this is the clinic for you. With a main focus on the skill of belaying, you will learn and practice the basics such as tying a climber in and getting set up to climb as well as the important skills of properly managing the rope for another climber.  Instructors can also answer questions and coach a bit on other beginner techniques to make you a stronger climber. This is a 2 hour semi-private (6:1 max student to instructor ratio) clinic. At least 2 participants are needed to run a clinic. In addition to instruction and access to the wall, this clinic includes the rental of essential equipment during the training and the cost of the top-rope belay test to be taken at a later time.  

  • Clinic Fee: $25 per person
  • Clinics scheduled by request
  • Already know how to belay? Take our belay test ($10, valid for remainder of academic year) with any of our wall staff when the climbing wall is open.
  • Contact Ben Lazar at or 513-529-1434.

Lead Series

Once you have mastered the basics, learning to lead climb and belay is the next step in furthering yourself as a climber. A lead climber tows the rope up the wall and connects it to points of protection in the wall as they climb. This style of climbing requires heightened skills and awareness from both the climber and belayer as the climber's falling distance increases compared to when they are on ropes already secured overhead. This series will teach necessary techniques and risk management as well as give you time to practice them. Each lead series consists of 2 separate 2-hour sessions and must be taught in groups of at least 2 people with no more than 6. Climbers taking the lead series must be belay qualified at our facility and be able to complete a 5.9 route without weighting the rope.

  • Series scheduled by request
  • Series Fee: $50 per person
  • Already know how to lead climb and belay? Schedule a lead test with Ben ($15, valid for remainder of the academic year).
  • Contact Ben Lazar at or 513-529-1434.

Open Bouldering Policy

  • The use of the bouldering cave is permitted anytime the main Rec facility is open.
  • Open bouldering is only permitted in the bouldering cave. Bouldering on the main wall is only allowed when the main wall is open and the wall desk is attended.
  • Climbing is an inherently dangerous activity that may lead to serious injury or death. CLIMB AT YOUR OWN RISK.
  • Climb only as high as you feel comfortable falling or jumping from.
  • Inappropriate use of the climbing area may result in loss of climbing privileges and/or access to the Rec Center.  
  • Do not hang on light fixtures or climb above where the climbing holds stop.
  • Persons under 15 years old are required to have supervision of a parent or guardian.
  • Persons under the age of 5 are not permitted to boulder.
  • Closed-toe shoes are required for climbing.
  • Shoes must be worn for walking around climbing area.

Safe Bouldering Resources

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Miami Recreation prides itself on its commitment to meeting the diverse recreational needs of its patrons. With state-of-the-art fitness centers, a wide range of programs and services, and outdoor adventure opportunities, Miami Recreation offers something for everyone. Miami Recreation is dedicated to enhancing the physical, mental, and social aspects of community well-being.