Drop-in Climbing

Wilson Climbing Centre Hours

Monday to Friday: 11:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. (external doors lock at 7:30 p.m.*)
Saturday & Sunday: 12:00 to 6:00 p.m. (external doors lock at 5:30 p.m.*)
Statutory Holidays: 12:00 to 6:00 p.m.

Belay Tests

The Wilson Climbing Center DOES NOT recognize external gym belay checks - anyone caught belaying and/or high wall climbing without a current, facility-specific belay check will be asked to leave the facility indefinitely.
  • Minimum age for belay checks:
    • Top Rope: 13 years*
    • Lead: 14 years*
      • *Exceptions may apply
Practicing for belay tests/teaching other patrons how to belay, tie in, or otherwise set-up for/perform high-wall climbing, is NOT ALLOWED ANYWHERE in the climbing facility.
  • Patrons caught practicing for a belay test or attempting to teach belay skills to others will be asked to leave the gym for a minimum of 24 hours - no test will occur, and no refund will be provided (if test fees have already been paid)
    • We offer both lead and top-rope classes (during which Climbing Gym Instructor guided practice can be performed) on a weekly basis
    • You can find more information about our Learn to Top Rope and Learn to Lead Climb courses (in addition to our other programming) here.
Fees & Logistics
  • The test fee for top rope is $6.00/person
  • The test fee for lead is $10.00/person
    • All test fees are non-refundable (i.e. you will not receive any refund if you fail the test).
  • You will be required to bring a partner that can belay you on either top rope or lead (depending on which test you are taking)
    • Your belay partner can take the test at the same time as you.
  • You will be required to belay with an ATC (belay tube) or gri-gri for top rope.
    • You may use a GriGri OR belay tube for the lead test.
  • All necessary equipment (e.g. belay tubes, carabiners, shoes, harnesses, and chalk) can be rented from the front desk for an additional, non-refundable fee
Timelines & Availability
You can challenge a belay test once every 24 hours
  • If successful, the resulting top-rope or lead check will expire in 1 year (after which, another test must be completed successfully before access to the highwall area is re-granted)
  • We do not book belay tests ahead of time
  • Staff are not available at all open times to proctor belay tests
    • Please phone the Wilson Climbing Center (780-492-2767) or email on the day you anticipate attempting the test, to see when/if belay tests are available.


At the Wilson Climbing Centre, we predominantly serve students and staff but our facility is open to all ages. Caution must be exercised when bringing young children into the climbing environment, especially during our busy drop-in times. Below are the drop-in guidelines for bringing children into the facility.

Children under 6 years of age
  • Are not permitted in the facility during drop-in times.
Children 13 & under
  • Must be actively supervised and within arms reach of a parent/legal guardian at all times.
  • Adults who have successfully completed and passed the top rope test (at the Wilson Climbing Centre) in the past year can top-rope belay children 13 and under. 
  • During drop-in hours, children under 13 are not permitted to belay. 
Patrons 14+
  • Patrons older than 14 are allowed to climb independently in the facility.

U of A Student Access

  • Students are required to check-in with a valid piece of photo ID at the front desk each time they visit the Wilson Climbing Center.
    • Students who are taking classes on-campus (and enrolled in either a full or part-time course load) will be assessed for current Athletics and Recreation Fees at the time of check-in
      • These mandatory fees are typically included in tuition costs and cover access to the Climbing Centre during drop-in hours
      • Climbing equipment (shoes, harnesses, etc.) are not included in this fee but can be rented from the front desk of the Wilson Climbing Center for an additional charge
  • Students scheduled for off-campus study/academic practicum placements (e.g. work experience students) or performing post-doctoral/co-op work, may need to "opt-in" for Athletics and Recreation fees through the office of the registrar

More information can be found here

Drop-in prices will apply to students who do not have an active Athletics & Recreation Fee at the time of check in