Your First Visit
We will show you around the gym and explain how 24-hour Member access and the honor system work. We'll make sure that you understand the climbing wall, routes, and grading. Most climbers at VITAL are excited to help newcomers, whether that means offering simple encouragement or useful tips. We also offer clinics at our Bellingham and Oceanside locations which will go a long way towards helping you improve!
We encourage you to bring socks if you plan on renting shoes, but you do not need to bring anything else. Climbing shoes help because you will be able to use much smaller footholds than with any other type of shoe, but you can climb in your street shoes if you wish. You must be at least 5 years old to climb, and if you are under 18 you will need to have your parent sign a waiver. The waiver can be completed and signed online here. If you are under 16 then you will need to have a parent with you while you climb. Please review child safety information here.
As You Get Going
Minor injuries are common in Bouldering. Climbing too hard right away can tear up the skin on your hands.
You may develop pain in your fingers or elbows (aka tennis elbow) because your tendons are being strained from intense use. Pace yourself, warm up, and aim to progress slowly but consistently. You will be surprised by how much you will improve in a few months if you stay consistent and focused and don’t push yourself too hard too quickly. Here is a great resource on injury prevention and treatment.
It is a good idea to watch how more experienced climbers move, how they use their feet, their weight, and their hands - and try to imitate them. Taking one or both of our introductory clinics will help you to improve more quickly than trying to figure everything out on your own.