What to expect

on your first visit to Vertical Ventures St. Pete

Filling out waivers before entering the gym.

Waivers

All visitors to Vertical Ventures need to complete one of our waivers. This can be done online or in the gym. Any minors will need to have their parents complete and sign the waiver for them. Unaccompanied minors will also need a copy of their parents drivers license. Fill out a waiver now.

Types of Climbing

Top Rope

This is the most common form of climbing in gyms. In top rope climbing, there are 2 people involved - the climber and the belayer. As the climber ascends the wall, it is the belayers job to control the pre-hung safety rope so that when (not if) the climber falls, they don't actually fall, they just rest in their harness. The belayer is able to control the rope by using a belay device. This device applies friction and mechanical advantage to the rope allowing the belayer to arrest the climbers fall. Proper training is needed to safely use a belay device. One must be 13 or older to belay at Vertical Ventures.

Autobelay

Similar to top roping, the autobelays allow one to climb up higher walls, but without needing an additional person to belay. Instead of the climber relying on a belayer to catch their fall, they rely on the autobelay machine to slowly lower them back to the ground after a fall. VV St Pete has 6 autobelay stations. Autobelays are a great option for parents with kids too young to belay.

Bouldering

In bouldering, the climber ascends or traverses (climbs sideways) on terrain up to 14' high, without a rope. Though not as tall as top rope and autobelay climbing, bouldering, by its nature, can be more difficult and dangerous. Being unroped means that every time a climber falls, they impact the ground. VV St Pete has 13" thick professionally designed flooring to help minimize impact forces. We offer bouldering for all ability levels, though the climbing tends to be steep and gymnastic. There is no age limit for bouldering, but all climbers under 13 must be supervised.

Lead Climbing

Lead climbing is a more advanced form of roped climbing that requires intensive training and practice, and is not done by novice climbers. Unlike top roping, lead climbing does not employ the use of pre-hung ropes, and exposes the climber to actual falls. The climber (leader) will tow a rope that they are tied into up the wall while climbing. As the leader climbs, they will stop at regular intervals to clip the rope through various protection points (quickdraws), thereby maintaining a belay system as they ascend the wall. It is important to note that when the leader falls they will fall approximately TWICE the distance between them and their last protection point.

Introductory Class

This $25 class includes everything you need to get you scaling the walls: 30 minutes of belay instruction, all equipment, and a free 2 week membership. Please note, you must be 13 or older to take this class.

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beginner bundle

Combine our Intro Belay Class with our Intro to Movement Class for only $50 and get a FREE MONTH MEMBERSHIP to hone your skills.

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Quick Climb

Short on time? Want to just sample climbing? Our $10 Quick Climb is for you. You'll get to climb on the autobelays or in the bouldering area for 1 hour. Includes a rental harness.

For Kids

Rock climbing is a great activity for kids. Maybe you can't keep your little one from climbing up everything in the house? Sounds like a great future rock climber! Though we have no minimum age limit for climbing, in our decades of experience we've learned that kids 5 and up do best.

Vertical Ventures' Autobelays are a good place to start. As a parent, you'll be able to simply clip your kid in and then watch (or coach) as they climb up the wall. Some areas are easier, and some areas are a bit more challenging. The Bouldering area also has terrain that your little monkey can explore.

For even more climbing options, we recommend that you learn to belay in our Intro to Belay Class. This will allow you and your young climber to climb on all of the roped terrain on the Main Wall.

We do require all climbers under the age of 13 to be actively supervised. Please see our Facility Rules for more info.

Joining other climbers and exploring the gym.

Gearing Up

Our staff will get you setup with the gear you need for your climbing experience. A harness is needed for all roped climbing, and climbing shoes are highly recommended. The climbing shoe is an important tool in climbing and will improve your experience significantly. Lastly, chalk will allow your slippery hands to stick to the climbing grips much more effectively.

Checking out rental gear at the front desk.
Clipping in after taking the belay class.

Instruction

Whether you sign up for the Introductory Class, or just the Quick Climb, Vertical Ventures staff will take time to show you how to properly use the climbing equipment. We want to get you climbing just as fast as you want to get to the top of the wall, but this step is critical in ensuring the safety of all participants. Please be patient with your instructor as they go over all of the aspects of climbing safety with you.

Climb!

Now you're ready to climb! All of our walls feature climbing routes of varying difficulty.The Top Rope and Autobelay routes are rated from 5.4 through 5.12. The lower the number after the decimal, the easier the route. The higher the number, the harder the route. Most first time climbers will be able to climb routes up to 5.7 or 5.8.

Our Bouldering area features routes that are marked with 1-5 logos. The more logos, the harder the bouldering route(problem). Most beginners will be able to climb some "problems" with 1 logo, but not all of them. Bouldering is hard!

Practice and good technique will take you into the higher difficulties.

Consider signing up for a Movement & Technique Class to accelerate your climbing learning curve.

Joining other climbers and exploring the gym.