Campus Rec Center Climbing Wall 101: How to Maximize Programming Opportunities and Enhance Educational Value 

Campus rec centers can maximize programming opportunities and increase educational value at university climbing walls with just one inclusion: auto belays. Adding auto belays to a campus rec center’s climbing wall opens up a wide range of possibilities for climbers of all abilities. Plus, auto belays make it easier and safer for universities to offer a variety of climbing classes, including learning to belay, lead belaying, lead climbing, rappelling and more.

As climbing becomes an increasingly popular workout of choice, campus rec centers have the chance to elevate the sport and promote development through educational tools like auto belays. Here are a few other specific ways that auto belays can add value to any university, fitness or recreation center climbing wall:

Auto Belay Your Way to Perfection

Auto belays are an exceptional tool for advancing knowledge and participation in critical climbing skills — take belaying for example. At a basic level, belaying is a technique that climbers’ use to create friction within the climbing system, most commonly on a climbing rope, so that if the climber falls, they don't fall far. It is crucial for all beginner climbers to become proficient at belaying as it is a key technical skill used when rope climbing.

The beauty of an auto belay device is that it makes learning to belay a safer and more welcoming experience.

When available, climbers can clip into an auto belay device as a backup, all but removing the danger of a new belayer accidentally dropping a climber. Talk about taking the pressure off! Campus rec centers with auto belays at their climbing wall then not only minimize risks for those still perfecting vital climbing skills, but also help climbers find the courage to try new techniques.

Strengthen Lead Climbing Skills

Campus rec centers can offer more for climbers with auto belays, especially those looking to level up in lead climbing. Rather than utilizing a rope anchored at the top of a route, lead climbing at the gym requires ascending climbers to clip the rope in to quickdraws as they make their way up the route. Lead climbing involves gaining skill sets that grow with time on the wall. Well-seasoned lead climbers master mental readiness, clipping draws, rope management, building anchors and more. Auto belays help to prevent accidents and encourage skill development, like learning to lead climb, by providing reliable protection while getting in reps during practice sessions.

Accommodate More Students on the Climbing Wall

For facilities that want to accommodate more climbers at the same time but might lack the supervision or staff to do so, auto belays can help. A climbing wall with auto belays makes it easier for staff and coaches to oversee multiple people simultaneously.

A class leader can teach new skills and proactively watch and coach climbers as they practice on auto belays.

No matter what stage climbers are advancing to, auto belays allow more people to get on the wall in an allotted class period. Campus rec centers can become the go-to place of progression for climbers of all levels with the power of an  auto belay.

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Campus rec centers looking to attract more members of the climbing community to their climbing wall can do so in more ways than one. For example, auto belays are a beneficial addition to getting more climbers on the wall practicing techniques that build confidence in the gym and outside. Auto belays also make it easier to offer climbing programs at campus rec centers because students can practice their new skills while having an auto belay as a back-up.

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