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Before top roping, lead climbing or using the auto belay on your own, you must take and pass the required test or orientation first.

Top Rope Belay Test Requirements

Climbers must be able to put on and secure their harnesses correctly according to the specifications of the harness manufacturer.

Climbers must demonstrate proficiency in tying into their harness correctly with a retraced figure eight knot, with a least 6 inches of tail.

Belayers must select the type of belay device they wish to test on, either a "Tube Style Device" (such as the ATC, Reverso, etc) or an Assisted Braking Device (such as the Grigri, MegaJul, ATC Pilot, etc).  Show your belay device to staff if you are not sure which category your device falls into. Belayers may test on both styles of device if they wish, or test on the second style at a later time.  Belay certification will be issued for the type of device tested.


Belayers must demonstrate the ability to properly load their belay device, demonstrate proficiency and ease of top-rope belaying with their selected device while maintaining constant control of the brake strand of the rope with a designated brake hand, demonstrate the ability to properly and immediately catch at least 3 simulated top-rope falls, and lower a climber.

Failure to demonstrate proficiency in any part of the Belay Test will result in a fail. You will not be able to belay that day but you can still enjoy climbing with staff or friends who are belay certified (who must tie you in). You CANNOT retest the same day.

Lead Climbing Test Requirements

You must first be Belay Certified to top-rope at Sportrock, with the style of device you wish to use.

Lead tests require at least 3 people. All lead testing is done with a top-rope back up and for your lead belay test you will need someone either testing with you or someone who is already lead certified at Sportrock.

Lead climbing tests will be done on a 5.9 of the tester’s choosing.

Climbers must demonstrate proficiency in climbing a 5.9 with no falls, clipping errors, clear and audible lead communication, awareness of lead climbing concerns and the ability to correct them immediately which include back clipping, Z-clipping and back stepping.

Lead belayers must demonstrate proficiency and awareness while lead belaying which includes audibly and clearly calling out concerns to their lead climber. We do require a purposeful fall during a lead test, both as a climber falling and

belayer catching. Failure to demonstrate any part of these requirements will result in failing the lead test. A designated brake hand must maintain control of the brake strand of the rope at all times.

Auto Belay Test Requirements

Climbers must take the Sportrock Auto-Belay Orientation.

Climbers must be able to put on their harnesses correctly according to the specifications of the harness manufacturer.

Climbers must demonstrate the ability to properly clip into and out of an Auto Belay, and safety check this setup.

Climbers must demonstrate the ability to climb and lower appropriately while clipped into an Auto Belay.


  • You must be 13 years of age to Top Rope Belay or Lead Belay/Climb unless participating in a Sportrock program.

  • You must be 5 years of age to use the Auto Belays and children under the age of 10 must use a full body or chest harness.

  • Active adult supervision is required for any child under the age of 13 who wishes to use the Auto Belays and supervising adult must complete and pass Sportrock’s Auto Belay orientation and test prior to usage.

  • The only knot with which you can tie in at Sportrock is the retraced figure eight with at least six inches (6") of tail. No other knots are allowed.

  • Belaying off of any type of hitch is not allowed.

  • GriGri “shuffling” with any belay device is not allowed.

  • Alpine harnesses or harnesses that lack belay loops are not allowed.

  • Tri-loading carabiners is not allowed.

  • Belaying must be done off of your belay loop. Carabiners loaded through bridge and cross straps are not allowed at Sportrock.

  • Practicing knot tying or belaying in Sportrock before a Top Rope Belay test is not allowed.

  • Lead climbers may bring their own lead rope, or rent a lead rope from Sportrock. For these purposes, lead climbers must bring a UIAA Certified Dynamic Single Rope of at least 45m in length, and are responsible for ensuring all equipment is in good condition.

  • Cell phones, Bluetooth devices, headphones and MP3 players are not allowed while Top Roping, Lead Climbing or using the Auto Belays.


Be mindful that the top rope belay test must be taken immediately upon entry to the facility.Let our staff at the front desk know that you would like to take an auto belay orientation, top rope, or lead test, as soon as you arrive at the gym. During busy times there may be a wait for the test and a lead test may not be possible to perform.

Sportrock is a member of the Climbing Wall Association and several of our staff members are certified American Mountain Guides Association instructors with decades of combined climbing, instructing and guiding experience. Several of our instructors are also WEMT, EMT, and WFR certified. Our standards and policies are all based upon requirements from the CWA and AMGA and are in fact above AMGA standards for outdoor climbing and guiding.

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