Welcome to the Johns Hopkins Climbing Wall and Bouldering Cave! The Climbing Wall and Bouldering Cave are located in the Ralph S. O’Connor Recreation Center. Our Climbing Wall features 13 top rope areas, 3 Auto-Belays, and several lead climbing routes, as well as numerous features including cracks, flakes, and overhangs. Check out the information below to learn more about all we have to offer at the Climbing Wall and Bouldering Cave!
Classes and Competitions
Need a refresher on belaying or want to learn how to belay? Come to our free class! It’s open to any Recreation Center member. Class are held during the Fall, Spring, and Summer semester. Please check the Recreation Center Hours for the class schedule. Bring a friend or climbing partner and please be on time!
Want to brush up on your lead climbing skills? Check out our “Learn to Lead” class. No prior lead climbing experience is necessary but you should be proficient at belaying and be able to top rope a 5.8 climb. To sign up, visit the climbing wall. A $10 fee is due upon signing up, which will be returned when you attend the class. Please be aware that space is limited to 9 participants. Attendance for each of the 3 classes is mandatory.
Dates and Times To Be Announced
Want to take your climbing skills to the next level or get some tips to finish your project climb? Check out our “Movement” class. To sign up, visit the climbing wall. A $10 deposit is due upon signing up, which will be returned when you attend the class. Please be aware that space is limited!
Dates and Times To Be Announced
Each fall we host a Top Rope Competition as part of the Mid-Atlantic Collegiate Climbing Series. This competition is typically scheduled to occur in November from 10 a.m.–5 p.m. at the JHU Recreation Center.
Tickets are $12 online and $15 at the door. Categories include women’s and men’s advanced, intermediate and recreational/beginner.
Each Spring we host a Bouldering Competition. Though this competition is not part of the Mid-Atlantic Collegiate Climbing Series other college and university students are welcome to attend. This competition is typically scheduled to occur in April from 10 a.m.–4 p.m. at the JHU Recreation Center.
Tickets will be $10 at the door. Categories include women’s and men’s, advanced, intermediate and beginner.
Climbing Wall Employment
The JHU Climbing Wall employs undergraduate students that are passionate about climbing, teaching climbing skills, and route setting. If you are interested in working at the JHU Climbing Wall and Bouldering Cave as a Climbing Wall Instructor or a Route Setter, please apply online through the links below. We accept applications towards the end of every Fall semester.
Frequently Asked Questions
All members of the Ralph S. O’Connor Recreation Center have access to use the Climbing Facilities. Guests are allowed to use the wall with a valid guest pass and accompanied by a member. Everyone that who uses the wall or bouldering cave must sign a waiver. If you want to use the auto-belays or roped climbing you will need to take a test.
Installed in Spring 2021, we have 3 True Blue auto-belay systems, perfect for a quick climb without the need for a belayer. These systems take in slack as you climb and when you are ready to come down, lower you at a consistent rate. Before your first use of the auto-belays there is a short orientation video and test you must complete.
Belaying refers to the technique of controlling the rope that is attached to the climber. The belayer uses a belay device to create friction that keeps helps control the rope thus reducing the length a climber could fall.
We offer a one-hour belay class every week. In the class you will learn the proper techniques needed to belay a climber. After you take the class and are comfortable with belaying you can come back (at least 24 hours later) and take the test. Check the schedule above for class times. Space is limited so please be on time. Belay classes are free to attend.
If you already know how to belay you can take the belay test at anytime the wall is open by asking a climbing wall staff to administer the test. You will be required to belay with a tube (ATC) style belay device. You will be required to take the belay test at the beginning of each school year. The belay test is free to complete.
We have harnesses, climbing shoes, and belay devices for rent at the climbing wall. All climbing equipment rentals are free.
If you are interested in learning the skills necessary to lead climb at our wall we offer several “Learn to Lead Climb” classes each semester. See the climbing wall schedule above for upcoming classes. Sign up for classes at the climbing wall front desk. If possible please bring a climbing partner as it will be easier to teach and learn the skills. Classes require a $10 deposit that will be returned to you when you attend the class.
The bouldering cave is located in the Athletic Center. It requires a bit of map reading skill and a sense of adventure but it is well worth it. Remember, stop by climbing wall front desk to pick up rental shoes if you need them.
If you are interested in having your team, organization, or club use the climbing wall facilities, please contact Andrew Padilla, Assistant Director of Experiential Education, at firstname.lastname@example.org.