Kids & Youth FAQ

The gym is a place welcome to all ages. However, children and youth need some special consideration at the gym.

How Many Kids Can Climb at the Gym Per Adult?

In order to reduce risk, prevent injury, and respect all climbers we have a specific adult to child ratio based on the child’s age.

Top Roping Ratios:

Since you can only have one climber to one belayer, there is a natural 1:1 ratio, but two kids cannot use the top rope wall alone. Any kids under 16 must have an adult belaying or supervising them. All belayers must be 14 and older, belay certified, and not weigh more than about 75 lbs less than the climber.

Bouldering Ratios:

Bouldering can be risky for children who stray into the “fall zone” (where someone can fall off the wall onto them). It’s an extra issue for our gym because our safe zone is small. So it’s very important to mind these ratios and keep your child safe and respectful of other climbers.

Ages 6 or less:  1:1

Parents provide constant supervision.  Parents keep children within arms reach at all times, because  children at this age are still developing awareness of risk and the potential for harm.

Ages 7-9:  1:2

Parent/Guardian within arms reach at all times. Children at this age are still developing the ability to be aware of their surroundings and being mindful of those around them.  Parents must stay close to ensure a child or their children do not wander into another climbers fall zone.

Ages 10-11:  1:4

Parents must stay nearby and supervise their children. You don’t need to be within arms reach or on the mats unless you have a timid or unsure climber who requires spotting. You may watch from the benches at the entrance to the bouldering area.

Ages 12-15:  1:4

Parents must be present and available in the facility or very nearby in the mall, though are not required to be on the mats while the kids are climbing unless the children prove to be at increased risk of harm to themselves or others.

During a first visit, parents should be present until the child becomes familiar with the climbing gym environment.

How old should my kids be to climb at the gym?

You must be 14 to belay, but no lower age limit to climb as long as the supervision ratios mentioned above are adhered to.

How old does my child need to be to climb unattended at the gym?

Anyone ages 16-18 can climb unattended at the gym during drop-in hours with parental permission on file.

People under the age of sixteen need to be accompanied by a responsible adult who is 19+. Child-parent ratios must be minded during drop-in and member-only hours.

Membership holders 16 to 18 cannot get an entry fob of their own, so during off-hours they will need to be accompanied by a 19+ member who has a fob.

Do you offer kids classes, kids times, kids camps, youth team, birthday parties?

We do! We are currently offering youth teams and seasonal camps. Check it out!

We also offer birthday party and group options. Take a look here and let us know if you have any questions or want to book!

Can anyone other than a parent or legal guardian sign a waiver?

Nope. But luckily even if your mom or dad lives on the other side of the world, they can still sign your waiver for you online through our website.

What does my child need to bring?

Appropriate active clothing is recommended; no skirts or dresses please. Climbing shoes are available to rent for drop-in climbing (please bring socks if you are renting shoes). On occasion, size availability may be limited. All children may bring a pair of clean indoor shoes, ideally snug-fitting runners, as a backup (no dirty outside shoes, please).

Do we really need to rent climbing shoes?

Yes. Climbing shoes offer support and grip that normal shoes do not, it is very difficult to climb properly without them.

Do I also have to pay if I’m just supervising my kids but not climbing?

For top roping, no you don’t if you are just belaying and not climbing.

For bouldering, also no, but with limitations due to the squishy layout of the bouldering area and our fire capacity limits. Please read:

Bouldering for children 6 and under: Because children 6 and under need to be supervised very closely in a 1-to-1 ratio while bouldering, the adult can not technically climb in the bouldering area while supervising a child in this age range anyway.

So if you pay an adult drop-in, then your child can climb free as long as you limit your time in the bouldering area to 30 minutes or less (on observation, most small children have had enough by this time anyway). If you want to stay longer in the bouldering area, you must pay a youth drop-in as well as the adult drop-in.

Bouldering for children 7 to 9: Because the parent must be on the mats with kids 7 to 9 years supervising in a 2-to-1 ratio, the same deal as above applies (child boulders free for 1/2 hour or less if adult pays adult drop-in). However, we highly encourage the parent to try climbing too as it is great for your child to share the experience!

Child-membership holders: Note that anyone accessing the gym during off-hours must be a paying member. So if your child wants to be a member but you don’t want to actually climb, you still need to be a paying member (there’s a family rate, so woohoo).

However, to get around that, it is fine to only come during drop-in hours with your member-child. In that case, you don’t have to pay the drop-in for yourself unless you stay supervising your child in the bouldering area for longer than a 1/2 hour.

Why is it so expensive?

Say whaaat? A membership to the co-op costs half the price of climbing gyms in Vancouver, and even a lot less than typical gym memberships in Powell River (which can run upwards of $100 per month for an adult compared to our $65). And city drop-ins cost $30 compared to our $17 for adults.

Consider becoming a member to make using the gym economical. Remember — you only need to climb at the gym four times per month to make it a deal!

How long can we climb for?

You and your children can stay as long you want within regular public hours, or all day every day between 5am to 11pm if you’re members. Climbing is a physical sport and we encourage climbers to rest when they’re tired and enjoy watching others have a try, chat with other climbers, or go wander around the mall (take your climbing shoes off though).

Want to stay current on what’s up at the co-op? Please follow us on Instagram (@topoutclimbingcoop) or check out our Facebook page