How to Indoor Rock Climb




This Instructables is designed to teach first-time climbers how to safely top rope and belay Indoors.

So you're interested in rock climbing! Great news, you've come to the right place. Rock climbing is a great indoor & outdoor sport that will continuously challenge your physical and mental limits. I began climbing four years ago at my local indoor gym as an alternate form of exercise because lifting weights and running on a treadmill never quite appealed to me. The first time I went climbing I fell in love with the sports unique environment, and "judgement free" attitude associated with the community. Since then, I've been climbing indoors on a regular basis and advanced to become belay, and lead, certified.

This Instructables is a No Experience Required guide to climbing and belaying. With that being said, you have little to worry about as I cover all the basic but necessary information before you tie in to climb. Heads up: This instructables focuses on indoor climbing only and does not cover important safety topics related to outdoor climbing. I do not recommend climbing outdoors for your first time without other experienced climbers.

Essential Equipment:

Rope- Anchored to the ceiling, this is what climber and belayer use to manage safety while climbing.

Harness- Harnesses are intended to be worn, and secures a person to a rope or anchor.

Grigri- (pronounced Gree-gree) This an assisted braking belay device and is intended to secure the climber in place while moving up the feature.

Locking Carabiner- Used to secure the Grigri to the belayer.

Climbing Shoes- The interface between your feet and the rocks, these shoes should fit tight but comfortable.

Recommended Equipment:

Chalk- keep your hands from getting sweaty while you climb.

Water- Stay hydrated or your muscles will hurt.

Good News!

If waters the only thing you have on either of those lists, don't fret! Your local gym most likely has all this equipment and will rent it to you for a fee. Speaking of which, if it's your first time at any gym be prepared to sign a hold-harmless agreement stating their liability for injury. Both of these should be accessible via the web so I recommend checking out their website for more details.

Step 1: Tie Into the Rope

With harnesses securely fastened...


1. Begin by tying a figure eight knot on the end of the rope closest to the route you will be climbing.

Don't know how to tie a figure eight? I always use the idiom "Make a guy, give him a tie, poke him in the eye"
Here's a visual link

2. Pull the end of the rope containing the figure eight knot through the loop in your harness so that the knot sits close to your waist.

3. Now tie a figure eight follow-through knot.

Here is a video on this step

4. Lastly, tie a safety knot with the remaining length of rope.


1. Open the Grigri.

2. Using the end of the rope not occupied by the climber, feed the rope around the Grigri, ensuring that the break end of the Grigri goes up and out towards the climber.

It's critical that you do this correctly or the Grigri will not secure the climber during a fall. This step is clearly labeled on the Grigri itself so if you're unsure if you did it correctly, view the side of the Grigri for instructions.

3. Close the Grigri.

4. Attach the carabiner to the Grigri and then the carabiner to your harness loop.


Rock climbing is a dangerous sport. Take this step seriously; once both partners believe there ready, check each others knot and Grigri position to be sure each step was done correctly.

Step 2: Climb and Belay

This step is done Harmoniously. With the climber climbing, the person belaying needs to manage the amount of rope the climber has available.


1. Ascend the wall or feature you are attempting to climb. This is best achieved using a combination of hand and foot placements to maintain balance while gaining vertical distance.

The best advice I could give is to be efficient. Climbing isn't just an upper-body workout, use your hands to balance yourself and your legs to push you up.

2. Once you have reached the highest point you can. Communicate with your belayer. tell him/her you are ready to come down now.

3. Lean back in a comfortable position with your hands on the rope and feet pressed out against the wall.

You're belayer will now do the work of repelling you down to the ground.


1. pull the slack in the rope out (through the Grigri) as the climber ascends.

Watch your climber to anticipate when slack needs to be taken. A good belayer will keep the rope taught without physically pulling the climber up the wall.

2. When the Climber is ready to descend, pull as much of the rope as you can through the Grigri and away from the climber.

State "coming down" or "ready" so the climber knows to let go of the wall and prepare for descent.

3. Pull back slowly on the control lever of the Grigri to release the lock and slowly let your partner back down to the ground.

The control lever on the Grigri is very sensitive so be sure not to pull back quickly as your climber could fall considerably far.

I couldn't stress enough....

Safety should always be the most important part of every climb. That means communicate; before climbing always do your safety checks. Climber tell your belayer if he's not taking enough slack and Belayer make people around you aware that someone is climbing above them. After the climb, discuss the route and dish out advice that would benefit one another.

I hope you enjoy climbing and found this guide useful!

Step 3:



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    13 Discussions


    3 years ago

    As someone who has been dropped by a grigri I would like to add a few things to this before someone dies. When it's time to lower the climber: Hand on the break end of the rope first, before touching anything else. Now, don't ever let go of the break end, ever, ever, ever. Have the climber put weight on on the rope. Don't touch the grigri, hand on break rope only. Once the rope is weighted, and the climber is stopped by your break hand, then reach up to pull the lever, slowly, still using the break hand to control descent.

    Most grigri accidents are when the person isn't holding the break rope and then pinches the mechanism to release load. Next thing you know rope is flying through the device, the climber is falling, and the belayer freaks out and does nothing. Then you hit the ground.

    Remember, always hold the break rope. It's the only part that really matters.

    Climb safe.


    3 years ago

    Google (image search) "grigri gaswerkmethode" to see how to actually hold the grigri while belaying to avoid blocking the autobreak function of your grigri!


    3 years ago

    for the love of your climber please keep your break hand on the rope at all times!

    3 replies

    Reply 3 years ago on Introduction

    Agreed! I was leaving when I realized I had no picture of someone in a belay position so I, too quickly, slipped on my harness and into a GriGri to take the picture. I was never actually Belaying; but this is a great point, thank you.


    Reply 3 years ago on Introduction

    Agreed, I cringed when I saw that last picture. I've had a grigri fail on me from that exact situation. I had my had off the rope for a few seconds, climber fell and it did not automatically catch until I got a hold of the tail.

    Also, there is a cross in your figure 8. Not unsafe, but poor knot dressing and it will be harder to undo.


    Reply 3 years ago

    grigris work better for ropes 10mm and up. ATCs and tubers (even figure 8s) may be preferred for belaying (no false sense of security). maybe the OP can edit the photos (knots, hands, stance) and description to portray a safer belay.

    as a side, the instructable is informative and useful. thank you and keep up the good work!


    3 years ago on Introduction

    I don't think that's you on the cover. I see your a fan of Sasha also


    3 years ago on Introduction

    There needs to be a more in depth guide on how to belay instead of just 'pull the slack in the rope out (through the Grigri) as the climber ascends'. For instance you need to point out to the belayer to never let go of the rope whilst belaying (even though a grigri is auto locking) and you do a set move of actions to pull the rope through the grigri and not just pulling it through.

    Tecwyn Twmffat

    3 years ago

    Great Instructable but should not be a substitute for professional hands-on training.


    3 years ago

    ... unlike the last photo