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Climbing

Come experience Metro Vancouver's tallest climbing wall. Designed for novice to elite climbers. The Oval offers a variety of climbing programs lead by skilled climbing coaches. These programs are for anyone ages 5 and up, including adult programming. Subjects vary based on courses and go from the basics to developing climbing techniques.

Youth Sport Climbing Course, 5-12 YRS

This “FIRST ASCENT” one-time course introduces young climbers to the sport and focuses on the fundamentals of climbing safety and technique. During the course participants will learn some basic rope work, autobelays and bouldering safety, and be given many chances to climb. No previous experience is required.

Youth Sport Climbing Programs, 5-17 YRS

These programs are taught by ACMG certified climbing coaches (Association of Canadian Mountain Guides) and focus on fundamental climbing skills, movement prep, and developing a love for the activity. Each program follows the principles of Long-Term Athlete Development (LTDA) and targeted toward specific skill levels and ages of climbers; please read course descriptions for more information.

Click here to view the 2020 Climbing Pathway.

Belay courses, 13+YRS

This one-time course provides you with everything you need to know about safely using the climbing gym during opening hours.

  • Top rope Climbing (Novice climbers)

Rope safety, belay techniques and lowering are taught in these two hours course by our certified climbing instructors.

  • Lead rope Climbing (Intermediate to advance climbers)

Learn the clipping and rope management techniques to climb on lead. These three hours course is taught by our certified climbing instructors.

Adult Programs, 16+ YRS

This program provides guided workouts and technique instruction for climbers looking to get to the next level. Get the most out of your climbing with expert instruction from our certified coaches.

Group Courses

If you are a group of 4 participants we can set up customized courses.

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Climbing FAQs

  • 01

    Is climbing a sport?

    Yes! Climbing is an activity enjoyed by many, but it is also a competitive sport.  Climbing will be included for the first time in the Olympics in Tokyo 2021, but already has a robust competitive scene around the world, with many regional, national, and international competitions each year.

  • 02

    How is the winner determined?

    The sport of climbing is divided into 3 disciplines.

    Speed climbing features head to head racing on a standardized route. Beat your opponent to the top and you can claim victory!

    Bouldering challenges strength and problem solving with short but powerful sequences.  Get to the top of these problems in the fewest number of attempts to rank 1st.

    Difficulty climbing tests your endurance and mental toughness.  Climb higher than your competitors on the wall and you will stand higher than them on the podium.  Careful though because you only get one attempt at these towering routes.

  • 03

    When are the competitions?

    In the Greater Vancouver area, the majority of competitions are bouldering and difficulty.  The Oval will have these two categories plus a speed climbing as it is getting more popular due to the Olympics. The local competitive season runs from October through May, and is divided into two parts ; The Bouldering season which ends with  Canadian Bouldering Nationals in January, and the Difficulty/Speed season which ends with Canadian Nationals at the end of May

  • 04

    Is climbing a team sport?

    Absolutely!  Just like many other individual sports, climbers’ benefit from being around supportive and like-minded individuals.  When the athletes are performing, it is just them and the wall.  But having support from your coaches and teammates in training and during the competition can make all the difference.  There are many proven benefits to being a member of a team, and this applies to more than just climbing performance during competition. Being part of a team generates friendships, camaraderie, cooperation and leadership skills.

  • 05

    What if I don’t like competing?

    Climbing is enjoyed by many people for many different reasons. Whatever your goal is in climbing, we will help you achieve it.

  • 06

    How can I find out more about Climbing Competitions?

    Competitive climbing in British Columbia is sanctioned by the Provincial Sport Organization Sport Climbing BC which is itself a member of the National Sport Organization, Climbing Escalade Canada.

  • 07

    Do I need special equipment?

    Climbing does not require a large or expensive outlay for equipment.  For bouldering, all you need is just a pair of shoes and a chalk bag.  For difficulty, add on a harness and a belay device.  The Richmond Olympic Oval has a limited selection of rental shoes and harnesses, and these are appropriate for learning how to climb.  However, it is strongly encouraged that athletes pursuing the sport have their own equipment (Shoes and Chalk at a minimum).  The Oval Sport Store has a selection of Black Diamond branded equipment (Shoes, Harness, Belay device).

  • 08

    Can I train for climbing?

    Of course!  Actually, it does not take very long for most people to learn the fundamentals of the rope safety systems and basic climbing technique.  Training for climbing is best done under the guidance of an experienced coach.  All of the programming for sport climbing done here at the Oval is in accordance to the principles laid out in the Long-Term Athlete Development plan published by Climbing Escalade Canada.

  • 09

    What programs do you offer?

    The Oval has a variety of programs for all ages and abilities.  Our Learn to Belay 13+ course will teach people ages 13yrs and up the basics of belaying and gym safety, and get you started on your journey of climbing, while the Sport Climbing programs provide youth ages 6-17yrs the opportunity to participate in the sport of climbing from the ground up.  For older athletes looking increase their climbing ability, we also have a very comprehensive adult technique course as well as a Learn to Lead Climb 16+ course.