uva bouldering climbing gym charlottesville at slaughter rec center

UVA's Climbing Center

Join a passionate community of climbers on over 2,000 sq ft of climbing surface. Routes are updated constantly.

Climbing Center

Welcome to a vibrant community of climbers and outdoor enthusiasts! The Climbing Center is the starting point for adventurous Wahoos. Join the community, take a climbing lesson or rent some gear, we've got it all right here for you to enjoy Virginia's natural beauty. 

Bouldering is available to students and adult members. Family family bouldering events happen throughout each semester.

If it's your first time climbing with us, start with a bouldering orientation.

Climbing shoes are available.

Here is what to you expect at the climbing center.

  • A welcoming and social atmosphere.
  • Dozens of bouldering routes for beginners to advanced climbers. The walls range from vertical to 40 degrees overhang.
  • Top Rope climbing open several hours week.
  • A hand crack and finger crack.
  • A tension board where you can choose between hundreds of routes of all levels through the Tension Board app. The routes are lit up by LEDs.
  • A ledge where we can teach rappelling and top belays.
  • An anchor practice wall

Additionally, each semester there are plenty of instructional programs, workshops, and social events. These include family bouldering, belay clinics, lead climbing, anchor workshops and more.

The Climbing Center is located inside Slaughter Recreation Center. The Climbing Center hours can be found here.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Who can climb here?
A: Any student at the university, or community member that has an IM-Rec Sports membership can use this facility at no cost. Guest passes however do not gain you access to the climbing center. Additionally, children 17 and under are not allowed in the climbing center unless during a family bouldering night, even if they are under a family gym pass.

Q: How are the routes rated?
A: V0 to V10, with the lower numbers indicating easier routes

Q: How are the routes marked?
A: In this gym all climbing routes are monochromatic meaning that you follow the color of the hold that you started on

Q: What does the tape mean?
A: Two pieces of tape on a low hold means that both hands start on that hold for this route. Tape on two different holds indicates that it is a split hand start.

Q: Do you all have chalk that I can use?
A: We have chalk available to the public in chalk bags attached to each bench. You are also free to use your own chalk as long as it is in ball form, not loose.

Q: Can I be taught how to belay?
A: Yes, we offer classes on the hour, and assessments 15 mins following the class

Q: If I already know how to belay can I just be tested?
A: Yes , however you still have to meet every requirement listed on our guide in order to pass

Q: If I am belay assessed in this facility, can I use my own gear to climb?
A: When roped climbing in this gym you may use your own harness but must use our belay devices and ropes. Additionally, we have harnesses that can be borrowed. All gear rental is free.

Q: If I want to rope climb, but not belay how do I do that?
A: Simply ask our climbing center staff if they can belay for you. Our staff are all well trained, and if we have enough staff on hand, then they will be more than happy to belay for you as you climb.

Q: Do you offer classes?
A: We provide a number of classes on the different disciplines of climbing both inside and out. You can find all of our courses and our calendar on the UVA Outdoor Adventure website.

Q: How often does the wall reset?
A: Our setters are all students at the university, and they generally reset a section of our wall every 1-2 weeks.

Q: How does the tension board work?
A: The tension board is a climbing training tool that allows you to access thousands of routes of various grades to train on. It can connect to your phone via the Tension Board app and bluetooth for you to use. Instructions for connection are posted beside the board.

Q: What are other ways to get involved?
A: A few times a semester we have late night bouldering sessions where there are games and pizza! Additionally, we will occasionally host competitions and courses for our community.

Q: What do I do if my question is not answered here?
A: Please ask our staff! They’re all super chill folks that are happy to help.