Climbing is an inherently risky sport, and safety is our main priority. This page answers common parental/guardian questions while providing the insight you need to have the best experience possible.
Need to Knows Before Arriving
- Complete a waiver here! Everyone needs a waiver—spectators and participants.
As we do not provide staff on-demand to supervise kids, here is what you can do at the gym:
- Boulder with your child.
- Pass a belay test or take a belay class so your child can climb on the tall walls!
- Enroll your child in an After School or Summer Camps.
- Schedule a private lesson with one of our staff.
My kids want to come boulder, what do I do next?
- You will need to actively supervise your children. Children 13 and under who want to boulder must be closely supervised by an adult (be a helicopter parent!).
- You can purchase a day pass and rental gear when you arrive.
My kids want to try top roping (the tall walls), what do I do next?
- Come with someone who is Touchstone belay certified or can pass our belay test, or…
- Take an Intro to Climbing Class
Rules, Etiquette, and Community Love
We love kids and are excited to welcome them to the world of climbing! However, our gyms are not a playground. Like adults, kids are expected to share the space safely with other climbers and must behave accordingly.
Be a “Helicopter Parent”
It’s not enough to keep an eye on your child from afar or while you’re trying to get in your own climbing session or working from the lounge. Children are often not as aware as adults are of what’s going on around them, so actively participate in their safety by ensuring they’re not walking or climbing under anyone. Keeping them within arm’s reach will allow you to step in quickly if needed, and will make other climbers feel safer knowing you’re aware and involved.
Set a Good Example
Nobody is more instrumental in instilling safe practices in your child than you are! Demonstrate safe and courteous behavior, and they will follow in your footsteps.
Check out our YouTube channel for more climbing and safety tips!
- There must always be a 1:1 non-climbing adult-to-child ratio for kids 5 and under. When bouldering, a 1:3 ratio for kids 6 to 14 and 1:5 when climbing routes. All kids 14 and under must be directly supervised. Direct supervision means keeping children within arm’s reach at all times.
- Bouldering involves risk. All falls are ground falls. All boulderers must be willing to take personal responsibility for their own safety. Children 13 and under who want to boulder must be closely supervised by an adult (remember—be that helicopter parent!).
- Kids who are active members of our Climbing Club or Team Touchstone may boulder without supervision with approval from their Coach.
- Children 13 and under are not permitted in the weight room or cardio area unless directly supervised by an adult. Some equipment is totally off limits to kids and is labeled as such.
- Swinging on/playing with ropes or any of our gym equipment is strictly prohibited. Kids should not be touching ropes unless they are being tied into rope climb.
- Be aware of your surroundings when you have infants and small children in climbing areas. You are responsible for keeping them out of harm’s way and out of the way of other gym users.
- No running.
- No wrestling or rough-housing in the gym and on the mats.
- When others are waiting to climb, please step away from the wall and take turns.
- No barefoot climbing.
- Never walk directly under climbers on any wall, whether they are rope climbing or bouldering.
- When moving through the gym, keep your head on a swivel and be mindful of your surroundings. Make sure to look above you when walking.
- Avoid walking between climbers and belayers.
- Never step on ropes.
- Keep personal items off the mats and out of any fall zones.
- Do not touch anyone else’s gear and do not allow your children to do so.
These rules are not exhaustive. If we need to remind you or your child(ren) of the rules multiple times, or if we receive more than two complaints about their behavior, we will ask you to leave the gym for the day.
My child is interested in climbing, but I’m not/I’m unable to be at the gym with them. Do you have staff available to supervise my child? If not, what are my options?
We do not have staff available to supervise general day use of the gym. We do, however, offer several Youth Programs for kids who are looking to climb more frequently such as private lessons, climbing camps, and clubs.
We have family in town. Can we bring in a small group of children if it’s not for a birthday party?
You’re welcome to bring in a small group of children, but we require a 1:3 ratio of non-climbing adults to children in the bouldering area, and 1:5 in the roped area.
Do you offer birthday parties for children?
We no longer host birthday parties. However, you may still bring a small group of kids into the gyms to celebrate if you are self-sufficient in climbing. If you’re not an experienced group, please read below to find out what is necessary in order to become one.
- Everyone needs a waiver—spectators and participants.
- All self-sufficient groups must reserve their spot at least one week in advance by emailing [email protected].
- We do not allow self-sufficient groups with kids under the age of 14 to exceed 15 participants.
You must meet the following criteria to hold a self-sufficient event in our facility:
Due to the high volume of adults taking ground falls in the bouldering area, it’s especially important that adult chaperones keep all children within arm’s reach at all times. If you are looking to boulder only, we recommend visiting Dogpatch Boulders.
- For every 3 climbers, you must provide at least one experienced boulderer. An experienced boulderer has taken our Intro to Bouldering Class (this class is offered at Dogpatch Boulders) or has been bouldering for more than 6 months.
- It is important that you request a safety/falling lesson when you arrive as well as review the kids’ safety brochure that we provide at the front desk.
- For every 5 climbers, you must provide at least one Touchstone-certified belayer over the age of 18. A certified belayer has a laminated Touchstone belay card or can pass our belay test with no assistance. It is recommended that any belayers take the Intro to Climbing Classes prior to the day of your event if a refresher is needed.
- For every 3 kids under the age of 14 years old, you must provide 1 adult chaperone.
If you have any questions about whether you meet these criteria, please contact the gym and speak with one of our staff. You may not be able to hold your event at our facility if you don’t fulfill the requirements above.