Rock Climbing for Kids & Teens

Parent Q&A

Climbing lessons for kids Oct 29, 2021 (5 responses below)
Rock Climbing for Elementary Kids Jul 19, 2021 (9 responses below)
Climbing spots for 5 year old? Feb 26, 2018 (13 responses below)
  • Climbing lessons for kids

    (5 replies)

    Our kids are very interested in rock climbing, we have no experience.  Are there any gyms/organizations that offer lessons for kids (preferably on a weekend day)?  All I've found so far are gyms that have open hours or adult workshops.  Our kids are 7 and 10.  

    RE: Climbing lessons for kids ()

    Ironworks has programs for kids. You may need to add them to a waitlist.

    RE: Climbing lessons for kids ()

    The same company that runs Berkeley iron works has other gyms not too far where there might be additional options for kids programs.

    RE: Climbing lessons for kids ()
  • Rock Climbing for Elementary Kids

    (9 replies)

    Anyone know of a rock climbing course or rock gym that would accept a minor child (with parent)?  Our soon-to-be-3rd-grader is interested in trying rock climbing, but we'd like to start in a more structured/ safe indoor manner.  Yelp failed me.  RedTri too.  Go, BPN!  TYIA.  

    Diablo rock gym in concord has programs for kids 

    All the touchstone gyms (Ironworks, Great Western, Dog Patch, etc) allow minor kids with parents - or at least the did pre-covid. Ironworks is probably the best of those, and the adult will have to pass a belay test to belay the kid. 

    Check out touchstone climbing. They have gyms all over the bay. Plenty of young kids there. I think they even have a youth competitive group as well. 

  • Climbing spots for 5 year old?

    (13 replies)

    I'm looking for recommendations of places for a five year old to climb in Berkeley or Oakland.  So far we've only found a few places, such as the rope structure at Ohlone Park, but that's now getting old.  Unfortunately, she's too young for Berkeley Ironworks, for which you have to be 14 or older.  Any suggestions for vertical challenges would be most appreciated.

    RE: Climbing spots for 5 year old? ()

    Check with Bridges Rock Gym in El Cerrito.

    RE: Climbing spots for 5 year old? ()

    I'm not sure what you are referring to when you say kids have to be 14 but I've been taking my son and his friends to Berkeley Ironworks (and the other Touchstone gyms) since he was a toddler and he is 10 now.  If you are an experienced climber, taking your child there to climb is no problem at all.  I think the only age restriction is on kids belaying, but I can't imagine you were planning to have your 5 yr old belay anyone.  

    RE: Climbing spots for 5 year old? ()

    We take our 4 and 6 year olds to Iron Works all the time. They love it. There's also Great Western in Oakland and Bladium in Alameda.

Parent Reviews

I'm an adult taking rock climbing lessons from a coach, and have not yet enrolled my kids in lessons, but it's a sport that kids pick up and thrive in very easily. I take my kids to local crags and they are agile and excited to climb. Try some climbing lessons. If your student fits the profile of her clientele, check out Emily Taylor's Brown Girls Climbing program.

Archived Q&A and Reviews


Rock Climbing Birthday Party?

Dec 2012

I am considering a rock climbing birthday party for my 6 year old. His birthday is in February and I need an indoor option. Has anyone gone to a birthday party at the rock climbing place in Oakland? What about Iron Works in Berkeley? Did the kids have fun? Jennette

My daughter had her 9th birthday party at Bridges Rock Gym in El Cerrito, and it was great. All the kids had a blast -- one of the kids even told me ''this is the best birthday party I have ever been to!'' Their layout works really well for parties -- there is an upstairs loft area where you can set up cake, snacks, etc. Bridges is also smaller & less crowded, and the layout of their bouldering wall is more kid-friendly, too. At the time (this was in 2010), their prices were competitive and their service was good. I don't have any more recent experience with their parties. Haven't been to an Ironworks party in years, but my daughter is on the teen girls' climbing team there and likes it. Staff is definitely friendly and professional. I haven't been to the gym in Oakland. Jennifer

I used to be a member of Berkeley Ironworks and know a lot of families who celebrated birthday parties there. Lots of fun! Courtenay

We held our daughter's 6th birthday party at Bridges Rock Gym in Richmond (right behind the Pacific East Mall). They did a great job coaching the kids and letting them climb. The pizza from the cafe was also very good! Camille

Rock climbing class for 6-year-old

September 2002

My six year old monkey girl would love to do rock climbing. Does anyone know of a class that would be appropriate for a girl her age? One that is safe (physically) that she would not be the only girl in? Thanks.

Recommendation received:

Rock climbing class for 13-year-old

July 2000

This summer, my almost 13 year old daughter intensely enjoyed a three day class in rock climbing, offered by Cal Adventures. Does anyone know where, or how, she might continue with this activity, outdoors, with some degree of supervision or instruction, year round? Are there any (teen or adult) rock climbing clubs, events, or ongoing classes around that anyone knows of?


Recommendations received:

Rock Climbing birthday party

Dec 1997

The Emeryville rockclimbing gym is called City Rock and it's a great place. They do do birthday parties, though they're a bit pricey. Not sure it's advisable for kids younger than 6 or 7. My 9-year old found it when she was 8 and loves it. Nina

From: Wendy

How about rock climbing? Mission Cliffs is in SF (and, BTW, they showed up on Nash Bridges a couple weeks ago). They have little cliffs that my 4 year old was able to climb, and bigger ones for the 8 year olds who had the confidence. The place seems extremely safe, though everyone has to sign a slightly intimidating release of liability. I believe there is a similar place in Emeryville; if you can't find it, just call Mission Cliffs (I believe they are affiliated with each other).

Extra possible bonus: Parents can try climbing, too (separate from the kids!). I think they can do it half price if there's a party their kids are attending.