• What kind of climbing can I do at Granite Arch?

    At Granite Arch climbers can top rope, boulder or use our auto belays. More advanced climbers can also lead climb after passing a lead test.

  • What is top rope climbing?

    Top rope climbing involves the use of a rope wrapped over a bar (or through an anchor) at the top of a climbing wall to protect the climber once they begin climbing. The climber ties into one end of the rope at their harness, while the other end of the rope is held and managed by a partner, known as the "belayer."


    All persons belaying at Granite Arch must pass a comprehensive belay test prior to belaying anyone. Anyone can top rope climb, provided they are climbing with a GA certified belayer.

  • What is belaying?

    Belaying is a technique or skill employed to protect a climber if they fall during a climb.


    When a climber is "on belay", they have a person (the belayer) tied into the other end of the rope managing the slack, or belaying them. Today the most common and effective way to belay involves the use of a small brake device attached to the belayer's harness. The rope is fed through the device allowing the belayer to manage the slack as a climb progresses. In the event of a fall during the climb the device enables the belayer to lock off the rope and prevent an uncontrolled fall of the climber. In top rope or lead climbing in the gym the belayer is also responsible for safely lowering the climber to the ground when they have completed the climb, or they unable to go any higher


    All persons belaying at Granite Arch must pass a comprehensive belay test prior to belaying anyone. 


    Don't know how to belay? Want to learn? CLICK HERE for more information on our belay classes at Granite Arch.


  • When are your belay classes and how much do they cost?

    Group belay classes are held Monday through Saturday at noon, 2:00, 4:00 and 6:00pm, and at noon and 2:00pm on Sunday. The cost of the class is $8.00, in addition to your day pass and equipment rental. For more information on our belay classes and age restrictions CLICK HERE.

  • What is bouldering?

    Simply put, bouldering is climbing without the use of ropes, anchors or a belay for protection. Bouldering is done on walls or rocks ranging in height from ten to fifteen feet; anything higher you enter the world of "high ball" bouldering and eventually, if you keep going, you cross the line into the extreme world of "free soloing."  When you fall bouldering you will impact the ground-guaranteed.


    Granite Arch has a separate indoor bouldering area where our walls range from ten to twelve feet in height. Sorry, no "high-balling" or "free soloing" in our top rope area (although we do allow traversing). We also have an outdoor boulder park that is available only for our members (and their guests) to use.


    If you are bouldering in our outdoor boulder park, you will need a spotter and a crash pad (Granite Arch crash pads are available for use at no cost to our members). We highly recommend the use of a spotter indoors, as well. Drag pads (that's an indoor crash pad) are available in the indoor boulder area, if you would like additional fall protection from your ground impact.

  • What are auto belays?

    An auto belay is a device that mechanically performs the job of belaying a climber. It effectively takes the place of a human belayer, thereby enabling people to climb the top rope walls without a partner.


    Granite Arch has six, state-of-the-art auto belays for your climbing use. Anyone using or supervising the use of our auto belays must take an auto belay orientation (no cost) prior to using. The orientation takes five to ten minutes and is mandatory to ensure all auto belay climbers and anyone supervising others (i.e. minors) using the auto belays understand how to properly use the device and know its limitations. You must be at least 14 years of age to be certified to use the auto belays (i.e. take the orientation). Keep in mind, however, if you are under the age of 16, you still must be under the direct supervision of an adult (someone 18 or older) while climbing in our top rope areas, which is where the auto belays are located.


    Although climbing is much more enjoyable when you have someone to climb with, auto belays can "fill-in" for your partner when you arrive a bit early and you are eager to get on the wall. Or maybe you want to get in a quick lunch-time workout (or for that matter anytime workout) and you don't have a partner--no problem. Auto belays can help you get that "pump." The auto belays are also an alternative way for your kids to climb (in addition to just bouldering) when you're not certified to belay.

  • What is lead climbing?

    Unlike top rope climbing where the rope is secured at the top of the climb to protect the climber in the event of a fall, in lead climbing the rope is clipped by the climber into anchors affixed to the wall--also known as "draws"-- as he/she progresses up the wall. The person belaying the lead climber must feed out the rope to the climber as they move, being careful not to pay out too much rope to minimize how far the climber falls before the belayer catches them. The belayer must also be careful not to keep the rope too tight thereby hindering the climbers movement as they climb or when they attempt to clip into the next draw.


    All lead climbers and lead belayers must pass a comprehensive lead climbing and belay test before lead climbing or belaying.  We recommend calling ahead to ensure the appropriate staff is on hand to administer your test. You must have your own lead rope.


    Lead climbing requires special skills. CLICK HERE and scroll down to Basic Lead Climbing to learn more about Granite Arch's lead climbing classes.

  • If I come in to climb without a partner, can Granite Arch staff belay me?

    Unfortunately no. Granite Arch staff are only available to belay reserved groups, such as birthday parties, school groups, scout troops or corporate group outings. If you are interested in making a group reservation (minimum group size is 6), please call us at 916-852-7625 during our normal business hours (see side bar) at least one week in advance of your desired date for available times, dates and requirements. To learn more about group reservations options CLICK HERE.


    Other options for climbers without belay partners include bouldering or using our auto belays. Granite Arch has six auto belays for climbers without partners. If you are unfamiliar with bouldering or auto belays, or simply would like more information on either of them, see above questions "What is bouldering?" and "What are auto belays?" or give us a call.


    If you were planning on coming in with a partner, but neither of you know how to belay, then why not learn!  For more information on belay classes or better yet, our Climbing 101 class, CLICK HERE.

  • I have never climbed before and would like to give it a try. How do I get started at Granite Arch?

    If you are new to climbing, and you are at least 16 years old, the best way to experience climbing for the first time at Granite Arch is to bring a friend (who is 16 or older too) and come in get a day pass with equipment rental (that’s $24 for anyone 12 years of age up to 21, or $28 for adults 22 and older) and take a belay class (cost of belay class is $8.00/person).  After completing the belay class you and your partner can climb until your arms start screaming at you or it's closing time, whichever comes first.  Belay classes are held at noon, 2:00, 4:00 & 6:00pm, Monday through Saturday, and at noon and 2:00pm on Sundays.  CLICK HERE for more information on belay classes.  You must be at least 14 years old to take the belay class.


    If you and/or your partner are between the ages of 14 and 16, you will need a responsible adult (at least 18 years or older) supervising you while you are at Granite Arch. The supervising adult must remain at Granite Arch for the duration of time you are in the gym and be supervising you, i.e. that means staying with you and observing you while you are climbing. The supervising adult can also pay to climb and take the belay class with you, if they would like (our recommendation).


    Please note everyone coming in to Granite Arch must have a waiver on file (CLICK HERE or on the Waiver tab at the top to learn more about our waiver requirements).  REMEMBER YOU MUST BE 18 OR OLDER TO SIGN YOUR OWN WAIVER.  If you are under the age of 18, your waiver must be signed by YOUR PARENT OR COURT-APPOINTED LEGAL GUARDIAN.