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 and several lead climbing routes, as well as numerous features including cracks, flakes, and overhangs. Check out the information below to learn more about the climbing wall and bouldering cave and all that we offer!
Class 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 webpage 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 deposit is due upon signing up, which will be returned when you attend the class. Please be aware that space is limited to 9 participant. Attendance for each of the 3 classes is mandatory.
October 2018 from 12:45 p.m.-3 p.m.
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!
September 2018 from 1 p.m-3 p.m.
Each fall we host a Top Rope Competition as part of the Mid-Atlantic Collegiate Climbing Series. This year’s competition is scheduled for November 2018 from 10 a.m.–5 p.m. at the Recreation Center.
Tickets are $12 online and $15 at the door. Categories include women’s and men’s advanced, intermediate and 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 year’s competition is scheduled for April 8, 2018 from 10 a.m.–4 p.m. at the 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 is looking for students passionate about climbing and teaching climbing skills and routes setters. If you are interested in working at the JHU climbing wall and bouldering cave as either (or both) a Climbing Wall Instructor or a Route Setter please apply online through the links below. If you want to We accept new applicants at the end of every Fall semester.
Frequently Asked Questions
Anyone who has a membership to the Ralph S. O’Connor Recreation Center. Guests are allowed to use the wall with a guest pass and accompanied by a member. Everyone that who uses the wall (belayer and climber) will need to sign a waiver and pass a belay test and anyone wanting to use just the bouldering cave will need to sign a waiver.
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.
If you already know how to belay you can take the belay test at anytime the wall is open, just ask a climbing wall staff member to administer the test. You will be required to belay with an tube (ATC) style belay device. Also, you will be required to take the belay test over again at the beginning of each school year. The belay test is free to take.
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.
We have harnesses, climbing shoes, chalk bags and belay devices for rent at the climbing wall. Harnesses, chalk bags and belay devices are free and climbing shoes are $1. To rent climbing shoes you will need to load money onto your JHU Recreation ID card and purchase a rental at the Equipment Room or Welcome Desk. Bring your receipt to the wall and our staff will lend you the shoes.
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 first to check in.
If you are interested in having your team, organization, or club use the climbing wall facilities, please contact Andrew Padilla, assistance director of experiential education, at firstname.lastname@example.org.