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When transitioning from the Gym to Rock it's critical that you learn best outdoor climbing practices. There are many safety and etiquette considerations that aren't present in the gym; skill and respect are paramount in the outdoors. 

Sign up for a Climbing Course with On the Rocks to make a smoother transition.

Learn the Climbers Code of Respect (below) before climbing outside!

Climbers' code of respect

respect the dangers


Outdoor climbing poses many safety concerns that are not present in a climbing gym. Make sure that you are properly prepared for rock climbing outside. 

  • Learn necessary outdoor climbing skills from a guide/mentor 

  • Learn about the cliff: style, protection, difficulty, area hazards (ie. Poison ivy)

  • Wear a helmet as rocks can break, yell “rock” if rock/gear fall

  • Watch for sharp edges that can damage/cut rope when lowering/rappelling

  • Inspect/clean your gear often. Replace when worn/expired

  • Triple check and back up your systems (harness/knot/belays/anchors/rappels). 

  • Communicate with your partner and other climbers

  • Learn how to detect if fixed gear/bolts are safe

respect the ENVIRONMENT


Climbing areas are more environmentally sensitive than you may think. Lead by example and leave the cliff cleaner than you found it. 

  • Pack out your trash & pick up after others

  • Stay on designated trails to lessen impact

  • Do not urinate under overhangs or in caves. It does not wash away!

  • Use existing bathroom facilities/dig a hole, cover it and pack out TP

  • Do not feed or hurt animals

  • Do not damage trees or plants

  • Leash dogs to not disrupt wildlife & others

  • Keep gear/back-pack on non-vegetated surfaces to avoid damaging plants

  • Do not damage/chip the rock. Brush off your tick marks

  • Start fires only in designated/contained pits

  • Be aware of seasonal fire bans and follow regulations



respect others

Please be respectful of land owners and other people at the cliff. Stay educated about cliff rules, as well as any cliff access issues that may be present. 

  • Share climbs with others

  • Climb in smaller groups

  • Check if dogs are allowed 

  • Pull your ropes when finished, yell “rope” when pulling ropes

  • Keep noise levels appropriate, no loud music/profanities

  • Do not smoke around others

  • Respect the “right of way” on multi-pitch/shared anchors



respect access

Local access groups and volunteers have fought hard to keep climbing areas open. It is imperative that you be on best behaviour to keep it that way. Stay educated on climbing area access considerations:

  • Respect land owner rules or provincial/federal regulations

  • Do not leave gear unless permitted

  • Park considerately, carpool if possible

  • Camp only in designated/permitted areas

  • Respect area closures (seasonal/permanent)

  • Pay required entrance fees/permits

  • Get involved with local access coalitions

  • Follow Transport Canada regulations for drone use

The 'Climbers' Code of Respect' has been created with the help of access groups across Canada, in an effort to unify climbing information and create a national resource for Gym to Rock Transitioning. We would like to extend a huge thank-you for their incredibly valuable feedback and support on this project. For more information about provincial access groups, click here. 

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