Before you arrive
Before your first climb at BKB, here are a few things you can do now to prepare for your visit.
1. Sign a Waiver
Anyone coming to a facility for the first time will need to fill out a waiver. By signing one ahead you’ll get on the wall quicker when you arrive at the facility! Sign Waiver
2. Sign up for an introductory class
For our new climbers, some basic instruction can help ensure your first time climbing is a positive experience that sets you up with the right knowledge to climb safely + effectively. At all our BKB locations, we have two introductory class options depending on what kind of climbing you want to do.
For bouldering, we have a 60-minute Intro To Climbing class that walks you through the basics of bouldering in a small-group setting. For top-roping + belaying, we have a 90-minute Learn The Ropes class where you’ll learn the basics of top-roping + belaying to get on the wall.
3. Make a reservation
If you aren’t taking an introductory class, then head to our reservation page to book your climbing time online. Members + guests will need to make reservations for all upcoming visits. Scheduling your visit ahead of time will ensure timely access and allow our team to better care for our community.
4. Dress for the wall
For the best experience, dress in comfortable athletic clothes that allow your body to move freely. Skip the jeans and opt for a pair of leggings, joggers, or athletic shorts instead. Wear what you would wear to the gym or for a run, no need to invest in any new clothes!
5. Bring thin socks + rent your shoes
We don’t recommend climbing with sneakers or any other type of shoe other than ones built for climbing. Trust us, climbing with the right shoes will make things a lot easier! At every location, we have climbing shoe rentals that we recommend for the new climber until you are ready to invest in your own pair.
Make sure to bring or wear a thin pair of socks that can easily slip into your climbing shoe rental. Most climbers go without socks to get the best grip on the wall, but with rentals, we recommend a thin pair of socks instead!
6. What about equipment?
Don’t worry about purchasing any kind of gear! Just bring yourself + a positive attitude. In our introductory classes, the gear rental is included. After your first class, you can rent climbing shoes and gear from us until you are ready to invest.
Shoes, harnesses, + chalk are included with classes and available to rent for drop-in sessions at most of our facilities. For more information about gear contact your local BKB facility.
7. Review our Personal Responsibility Code + Community Health Guidelines
All first-time visitors need to complete a Personal Responsibility Code + review our Community Health Guidelines before entering our facilities. Save yourself some time by completing this before you arrive!
8. Move from beginner to badass
If you are ready to really learn the ropes our Beginner to Badass introductory package is a great option. This package is perfect for the newbie climber who wants more than the first introductory class to get started.
The package includes:
- One full month of access to any BKB location
- Intro to Climbing + Learn the Ropes classes
- Full Gear Kit rental
Visit our Pricing page to view Beginner to Badass pricing by location.
Once you arrive
Here’s what to expect when you walk in the door at one of our BKB locations. We can’t wait to see you and get you on the wall!
9. Take a tour
If it’s your first time ask one of our front desk staff to give you a tour of the location! Due to local COVID-19 guidelines, some amenities may not be available. But you can still get a feel for our community, check out our fitness studio, locate our locker rooms, and get oriented to the wall right away.
If you are taking one of our introductory classes, our instructors will meet you once you arrive, show you around the facility, and help you get comfortable on the wall.
10. Get to know the equipment
As part of our introductory classes, our instructors will get you set up with the gear that you need. For top-roping you will need a harness, lead rope, some chalk, a carabiner, a belay device, and a pair of climbing shoes. For bouldering, your only equipment is a chalk bag and climbing shoes.
All needed equipment is available as part of your introductory class. If you are dropping in climbers can bring their own gear or rent from us. Just make sure to check with your local BKB facility for gear rental before you arrive.
For our beginner climber, we recommend renting first before investing so that you can get a feel for the gear and decide what makes the most sense for you. Our front desk staff or instructors will get everything you need + show you how it all works.
As you are climbing
So you’ve finally made it on the wall! Here are a few things to keep in mind for that first climb.
11. Embrace the mistakes
It’s no secret that climbing is inherently challenging, both mentally and physically. That’s one of the reasons why we love it, but also why you need to expect and embrace the learning curve. The goal for your first time climbing is not to be an expert from the get-go, but to have fun while learning something new.
Instead of feeling embarrassed, discouraged, or intimidated, remember that all climbers started at this point. Be proud of yourself for learning a new skill and taking yourself out of your comfort zone. Lean into the mistakes, learn from them, and we promise that each time you come back to the wall you will get stronger.
12. Watch + learn from other climbers
Our BKB community is incredibly supportive + encouraging. Experienced climbers remember their first time climbing and are more than happy to cheer you on and offer guidance.
As a beginner climber don’t be afraid to watch other climbers, learn from their techniques, and ask for their beta, or advice, on a climb. While you might not be ready to replicate their moves exactly, you can start to get a feel for the right techniques to get you up the wall. You might even pick up on some climbing lingo!
13. Go easy + expect to feel sore tomorrow
Tomorrow you are going to feel sore in muscles you didn’t even know existed. That’s because climbing uses muscles that don’t get a lot of action in other sports or activities such as your fingers, forearms, and hands.
Given this is a new experience for you and your muscles, take it easy during your first few climbs as you start to build up your climbing endurance and strength. It’s normal to feel fatigued or drained pretty quickly as a newcomer. Give yourself plenty of rest and breaks throughout and when you start to feel fatigued, it might be time to call it a day!
Come back for more!
One of the great things about climbing is that while there is always room to grow, success on the wall comes pretty quickly for the beginner climber. On day one you might be feeling intimidated, overwhelmed, and fatigued. But even after just a few sessions at BKB you will be celebrating noticeable improvements on the wall and feeling much stronger and more confident.
That’s why after your first day make sure to sign up right away for your next session so you can put all you learned into action and start to surprise yourself with how quickly you improve. Before you know it, you’ll be a climbing pro and just as hooked as we are!
Ready to join the BKB community? Learn more about our membership options at each of our BKB locations (and check out our newest climbing gym in Washington, D.C.!).
For new climbers, we recommend our Beginner to Badass package or one of our introductory classes. For more tips on technique, check out our climbing tips for beginners to improve your skill on the wall, and be sure to follow us on Instagram for daily inspiration.