Getting Started with Auto Belays at Your Climbing Wall

Adding auto belays to your climbing wall can have a huge impact on your business, and they are easy to install and operate. But how do you get started with auto belays? We put together the basics that you need to know when adding TRUBLUE Auto Belays and where to go from there. These tips will also be helpful for gyms who want to make the most of auto belays they already have.

How many auto belays should I start with?

For a climbing gym wanting to test the auto belay waters, we recommend a minimum of four auto belays to start with. This amount will give you an opportunity to see some of the benefits that auto belays can provide and to learn how to best use them in your gym or at your climbing wall.

When you're ready to fully outfit your climbing walls, a desirable concentration is approximately one auto belay per 1,000-2,000 feet of climbing. This provides enough auto belays for high traffic hours while also providing route variety for beginner and experienced climbers alike.

Where should I hang the auto belays?

Both beginners and advanced climbers will be using your auto belays, so hang the TRUBLUEs over a variety of terrain and spread them throughout the gym. Pair two next to each other on a vertical or slab wall for kids or beginners. Always consider potential climber swings from overhanging walls and make sure there are no sharp edges or large overhangs that the webbing could wear on.

What do my staff need to know?

What do my staff need to know? Staff should be thoroughly trained on the proper use of auto belays and inspection procedures. Staff should provide auto belay orientations for new climbers and reinforce the importance of climber awareness while using auto belays.

Route setters should be trained to consider webbing wear factors, climber swing potential, how to set with belay gates, and setting within boundaries. Two professional route setters provided great tips for route setting and setting auto belay routes.

What do my climbers need to know?

In addition to best practices for gyms, there are a number of auto belay safety best practices for climbers, and requiring an auto belay orientation is a great way cover the essentials. Climbers should always be aware of their surroundings when using auto belays and double check they are clipped in before climbing. While it may be tempting to climb nearby routes, always stay in the climbing lane under an auto belay.

What's next?

Once you have your TRUBLUE Auto Belays up, the ongoing challenge is keeping the routes fresh for your climbers. We recommend setting easy and difficult routes under each auto belay, and even throw in a 5.13 on auto every once in a while as a surprise for dedicated clients. Another option is to occasionally move the location of your auto belays so solo climbers enjoy a variety of terrain.

Also consider ways to utilize auto belays to maximize the programming at your gym or climbing wall. Auto belays allow fewer staff to supervise more climbers, which is great for kids climbing groups or birthday parties. Auto belays also allow one instructor to provide more input and feedback during adult technique classes.

Speed Climbing

The next generation of climbers will have their eyes set on podiums and gold medals in climbing. That means climbers will be training for speed climbing and looking for gyms with the right setup for their training needs. Add a speed wall with a TRUBLUE Speed Auto Belay to set your gym up for the Olympic hopefuls and speed climbing training and events.

Don't forget!

Climbers will start enjoying the auto belays right away, but there are ongoing maintenance and inspection requirements to remember. Webbing inspections and annual recertification are essential elements of owning TRUBLUE Auto Belays. Make sure both are a priority at your climbing wall.

We highly recommended adding one item to your TRUBLUE Auto Belay setups: belay gates. Belay gates are an easy and effective method to help climbers remember to clip in. As an extra benefit, the gate lays flat on the ground while someone is climbing to warn those walking below that a climber is above.

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