Frequently Asked Questions

Questions Regarding Our Facility

1. How tall are the walls?
Our Walls range in height from between 35’ to 40’. This will be the tallest climbing gym in Durham and one of the tallest in Ontario.

​​2. Who can Climb in your gym?
Everyone is welcome to climb at Pinnacle! We welcome all ages and skill levels! We recommend coming in and trying a Day Pass for any new climber. Our friendly staff will show you around and show you how things work. Once you get on a wall and reach the top you will be hooked!!

Parental or adult supervision (18 and older) is required for all participants 12 years of age and under.

3. Do I need to be there if my children are climbing?
Children 12 years of age and under require adult supervision (18+) at all times in our facility. Unless participating in our youth classes or programs, parents or accompanying adults are required to stay in the facility during the child’s visit.

4. Are climbing shoes mandatory?
Climbing shoes are not mandatory but they are highly recommended, however if visitors are not prepared with clean indoor athletic closed-toe shoes they may have to rent our climbing shoes. Climbing shoes improve your climbing experience as it increases your ability to grip climbing holds with your feet more effectively. Sticky rubber and a stiff edge provides control and security on the climbing walls.

5. Do you have Auto-Belays?
Yes We DO! We have multiple levels of difficulty set at our Auto Belays so you will be able to challenge yourself if you are climbing alone!

6. I am coming alone, can I climb the top rope routes?
Yes, you can climb on our top rope routes but you must book an appointment to have a staff member belay you while climbing. Additional fees will apply.
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 ​7. How often do you change your routes/problems?
We change our routes regularly – we want to make sure we have a lot of variety and new challenges for our climbers, however we also want to make sure they will have a chance to solve a problem they may have been working on for a while. Our climbs are always fresh! Routes can be up for up to 3 months based on popularity.

 ​​8. Do you take walk ins or do you have to book a time to come in?
You can just walk in to climb – please take note of our hours of operation. We have a ‘First Visit’ special if you are new to climbing. We also have classes/coaching available that will need to be booked in advance. We offer a drop-in special for first time visitors to get started.

9. Do you provide staff for if I need someone to guide me on belays?
Guided belays are available but will need to be booked in advance.

10. Can I leave and come back on the same day?
If you purchase a day pass, you are able to climb that entire day. If you need to do an errand, check in at work 😉 or just take a break you can come back in – just check back in when you return, so our staff can verify your check-in from earlier in the day.

11. Will you have climbing Birthday Parties?
YES! You can have a climbing Birthday Party. Call to enquire about taking your party to new heights!!

Lessons

1. Do I need to take a belay lesson?
If you have previous climbing experience you will not need to take a belay lesson. You will need to have a belay test done to ensure your competency. If our staff pass your belay test, you are good to go! If you have no experience belaying, or if you do not pass our belay test, a belay lesson will be required that you will need to pass before you will be permitted to climb on belay. The lesson usually takes a little over one hour. The lesson includes a day-pass and rental gear so you can climb for as long as you like during your visit after the lesson.

2. I’ve climbed before; do I need to take a lesson?
When you climbed before, did you learn how to handle the ropes, tie into your harness with a figure eight follow-through and a double fisherman’s knot? Did you learn to belay using a Petzl GriGri off your harness?

If yes, you will be required to take a belay test which includes the following:
– Your ability to put on a harness correctly;
– Tie a figure-eight knot and a figure-eight follow-through into your harness with a double fisherman’s keeper knot;
– Belay off your harness using a Petzl GriGri and demonstrate manufacturer’s recommended belay technique, without letting go of the break end of the rope.

If you are unable to demonstrate the aforementioned criteria, our staff may recommend taking a belay lesson to ensure you have the safest practices moving forward. This may or may not be something we can perform on the spot. It will be based on the availability of an instructor.

If it has been a while since you last belayed, our staff will perform an assessment based on how much you remember. “Refreshers” can quickly turn into a belay lesson so it will be to the discretion of our staff to determine what is required. A belay test should not take any longer than 15 minutes. Beyond 15 minutes, we may request that you take a lesson to refresh your skills.


3. I’m an arborist or construction worker and I’ve worked with knots and harnesses. Why do I need to take a belay lesson?
The specific safety requirements for indoor rock climbing are different than those of working at heights. The gear and equipment appear similar but are not exactly the same. The dynamics and the nature of falling and lowering are not regular practices when working at heights. Only precautionary measures are taken in case an accident occurs.

If you are unable to confidently demonstrate the following, we recommend a belay lesson:
– Your ability to put on a harness correctly;
– Tie a figure-eight knot, a figure-eight follow-through knot into your harness with a double fisherman’s at the end.
– Belay off your harness using a Petzl GriGri and demonstrate manufacturer’s recommended belay technique, without letting go of the break end of the rope.


4. I have a lot of years of belaying a certain way, why do I have to change the way I belay to climb here?
To belay at Pinnacle, you are required to belay using the belay technique endorsed by Petzl, the manufacturer of the GriGri device. Some previous methods of belaying are outdated and no longer deemed to be the safest techniques.

Previous “latch and slide” techniques were originally adopted for use with the Munter hitch. This method made its way to friction belay devices through tradition, but is fundamentally vulnerable to accidents due to a delayed and unnatural belayer response in the event of a fall, and ultimately it is not the safest practice.

We teach Petzl’s endorsed belay technique to new climbers at Pinnacle and expect the same from veteran climbers to set a positive example for the newer generation.