What is belaying?

Belaying is the process of managing and holding the rope for the climber.

This is my first time. What are my options?

Option 1: Take the belay course

Belaying is easy to learn and Island Rock recommends that everyone (15 years old and older) learn to belay by taking a belay lesson. The Quickstart Package includes the lesson, day pass, harness, and shoe rental. Once you are belay proficient, you can come back anytime Island Rock is open and climb for the day holding the ropes for your friends and family!

Option 2: Hire a staff belayer

For those climbers that do not have a belayer or for those parents that just want to kick back and watch, Island Rock has staff belayers. For this option, you will be hiring an instructor to do all the rope work for you for a half hour or hour with the instructor doing all the belaying and knot tying.

Option 3: Boulder

Bouldering is climbing shorter distances (normally around 12 feet) without any ropes. It can be done solo, though what it lacks in height it tends to make up for in difficulty!

What age is this appropriate for?

Climbing with a belayer: recommended 6-7 and up

Belaying: mandatory 15 and up

Bouldering: 8-14 spotter required; 15+ spotter recommended; 7 and under restricted

Do I need reservations?

Quickstart Package and Belay Lessons

  • Reservations are required for all staff-led programing, including Belay Lessons.
  • Belay Lessons are held at 11 AM , 1 PM, and 3 PM on Saturdays and Sundays, and on a reservation basis during weekdays. Walk-ins are also accepted but may be subject to a wait.
  • Call us at (516) 822-ROCK (7625) to make your reservation!

Staff Belays

  • Reservations are required for all staff-led programing, including Staff Belays.
  • Staff Belays are available by the hour and half hour session.

If you are coming for a lesson or staff belay, you can call to see how busy we are at that time. However, we can’t guarantee a spot when you arrive. We are people that hate to wait ourselves, so we will do our best to minimize the time you have to wait in the event someone is not immediately available.

What do I do if I learned how to belay somewhere else?

For those that have already learned to belay and tie the knots, we will give you a belay test in which you must demonstrate the following:

  • put on a harness properly
  • tie directly into the rope using the figure eight, figure eight follow through, and double fisherman’s knot
  • know the climbing commands: on belay, belay on, etc.
  • show proper safety and belay technique using a Gri-Gri

What should I wear?

You can wear tights, sweats, long shorts, T-shirts, tank tops and sports bras. Anything that isn’t movement restricting will work, although very baggy clothing can get in the way when you climb. For girls, no skirts can be worn. Traditional gym attire is appropriate. If you’re attending an event (party, scouts, etc.), make sure you wear athletic sneakers.

What should I bring?

The only thing you need to bring is the motivation and excitement to climb. We supply everything else.

Do I have to be strong in order to climb?

Absolutely not. Island Rock has walls for every ability. If you can climb up a ladder then you can climb here. Climbing is a sport that you get progressively better at the more you do it. Perseverance is the most important factor when you climb. If you are not in good shape, you will see improvements rapidly when you start climbing. The word “can’t” will soon leave your vocabulary, and you will see that you can soar past any limits you previously thought you had.

What are the benefits of rock climbing?

Rock climbing is FUN, plain and simple. Beyond that, climbing is a total body workout. If you’re not in shape and want to get in shape, rock climbing is perfect for you. You’ll get your heart rate pumping for a cardio workout while you work your upper body, abdominals and lower body for strength. If you already exercise, this is an amazing workout that beats the boring workouts you can suffer at other gyms. Climbing has been featured in health and fitness magazines along with cable and prime time television specials. And it’s easy to stay motivated because it’s so much fun! This is the ultimate fitness experience!

What happens if I’m afraid of heights?

This is for you! There is no better way to get over your fear than to face it. Climbing at Island Rock is a very safe and controlled environment in which you can get over your fear. Our staff is extremely knowledgeable and helpful with people who are afraid of heights. And it turns out that the people afraid of heights, once over their fears, are often the best climbers in the gym!