What’s the difference between your two locations?
Basecamp Annex – has both rope climbing and bouldering. The Annex location has some training equipment including hang-boards, pull up bars, & free weights.
Basecamp Queen West – focuses on bouldering and training. The Queen West location has a full service training area, including a campus board & Moonboard.
Did this used to be a theatre?
Yes, both of our locations used to be movie theatres. Turns out they have high ceilings!
How do I get into the building?
Queen West Location:
You can access Basecamp from Spadina or Cameron st.
Is there parking available?
Our Queen West facility has paid parking on the surrounding streets and several Green P and private parking lots nearby. There is underground parking available in the building, accessed from Cameron St. $10 flat rate from 6am-6pm, $5 flat after 6pm and weekends
What about bikes?
There is no bike parking available inside the building, but there are designated spots on Spadina and Cameron
Do you sell drinks & food?
We do sell small snacks and beverages in our retail areas. There are also a large number of fantastic food options near both locations!
Do you sell climbing gear or other retail items?
Yes! We stock a limited selection of climbing accessories including chalk and brushes.
*Please note that we do not sell climbing shoes.
Are you open on holidays?
You bet! We are open every day of the year excluding Christmas Day & New Year’s Day. Keep an eye on our social media for updates to holiday schedules.
Do you have gift certificates?
Yes! They can be purchased online or in person at either of our facilities.
Do you have lockers? How about locks?
Queen West: Yes! We have small valuable sized lockers on the main floor and cubbies in all of our benches. Day use locks are available free of charge. We recommend bringing your own lock.
Your Climbing EXPERIENCE
What should I wear?
We recommend wearing comfortable athletic clothing that is easy to move in, though you may want to avoid wearing shorts as knees can get scraped against the wall. Please remove all jewelry on your fingers and hands and tie back long hair before climbing or belaying.
You are welcome to wear indoor athletic shoes that have never been worn outdoors. However, we strongly recommend wearing climbing shoes as they are specifically designed to perform on the wall. If you will be using our rental climbing shoes we suggest that you bring thin socks to wear with them.
How old do I need to be to climb?
There is no minimum age limit to climb, however if your child is younger than age 6 we recommend visiting the facility beforehand to check it out, and to see if your child is interested.
You must be 12 years of age or older to climb without adult supervision in our facility and there is no maximum age limit!
Do I have to take a lesson?
Annex: If you would like to use the top ropes at our Annex location and you don’t already know how to belay, you will need to take a lesson before using this part of the facility.
If you would like to boulder or auto belay, then no lesson required! Our staff will orient you to these facilities at the beginning of your visit
Queen West: No lesson required! Our staff will orient you to the facilities at the beginning of your visit. We also offer an optional “intro to bouldering” lesson, described below!
What is covered in your intro lessons?
Intro to Top Rope: This lesson will prepare you to use the top rope facilities at our Annex location. You will learn several safety skills including proper application of a climbing harness, tying a figure-eight-follow-through knot and stopper knot, and the use of a GriGri belay device. Aside from practicing safety skills, climbing is not a main part of the lesson. Please plan for some more time for climbing after your lesson if you wish to do so!
Intro to Bouldering: This lesson will give you a basic introduction to bouldering – a type of short, powerful climbing without the use of ropes. You will learn about warming for climbing, basic “holds” (plastic meant to simulate rocks on the wall), and get an introduction to climbing movement. Unlike the Intro to Top Rope, this lesson is not required for use of our facilities.
What is “belaying”?
Belaying refers to a variety of techniques used to keep a rope tight while a climber ascends the wall. This prevents the climbers from falling very far if they come off the wall.
Auto-belays are machines that do the belaying in lieu of another person, so you can climb if you don’t have a partner with you! We have 5 Auto belay machines in our Annex location.
What is expected in your Top Rope Test? What is expected in your Lead Test?
For all tests we require participants to perform buddy checks and demonstrate effective communication with their partner.
In our top rope tests we expect our participants to be able to:
- put on a harness
- tie and retrace a figure-8 knot with a stopper knot
- belay safely using the PBUS method on a GriGri
- lower their partner safely
Top rope tests are provided free of charge
Our lead tests have a ground school portion as well as a climbing portion. We require participants to:
- Tie and retrace a figure 8 knot and stopper knot
- Show appropriate rope management
- Demonstrate safe clipping techniques
- Demonstrate correction of unsafe clipping techniques
- Belay using a GriGri
- Give a dynamic catch on a lead fall
- Lower their partner safely
Participants must pay a 20 dollar deposit for a lead test, which will be refunded upon successful completion of the test. See below for required equipment.
Do I need to bring my own equipment (ie. rope, belay device, harness?)
If you have them, you’re welcome to bring your own harness and shoes. For top rope climbing we provide a belay device (Grigri) already attached to the rope.
For lead climbing you must bring your own belay device (Grigri 1, Grigri 2, or Grigri), locking carabiner, and 40m (minimum) rope.
We provide rental harnesses, rental shoes and chalk bags if you do not already own this equipment. We do not provide ropes or belay devices for lead climbing.
Can I climb alone?
Solo climbers have access to our bouldering areas and auto belay stations, but you will need a partner for rope climbing. If you need help finding a partner, ask a staff member or check out our Facebook ISO group here.
I have a physical disability – can I still climb?
Every individual is unique. Please call ahead to discuss with our staff how we may be able to accommodate you. Our Annex location works with the Canadian Adaptive Climbing Society and we may have programming available to suit your needs.
Do I need to book in advance?
While we recommend giving us a call and speaking with a front desk staff before any visit to the gym, you do not need to book in advance to come in and climb on your own at either facility. However, all lessons or programs requiring Basecamp staff must be booked in advance.
How long should I plan to be there?
We suggest planning to be at the facility between 1-2 hours for your first time. Your Day Pass lasts all day, so you can always leave and return later in the day.
If you are taking a lesson then plan to be there for 3 hours, just in case. You will spend up to 2 hours in the lesson. After the lesson, participants typically spend 1 hour climbing on their own, or with their new lesson friends!
I have used other belay devices, but not a GriGri, can I still belay at Basecamp?
Depending on your experience, as well as the availability of our staff, we may be able to facilitate a transition to GriGri for lead or top rope climbing. If you do not have experience with a GriGri, please plan on using our auto belays or bouldering in the case that you are unable to transition to GriGri.
What happens if I fall?
Bouldering: You will land on our padded mats. These mats do not guarantee your safety, but we will cover the best practices for falling/dismounting during your orientation. We ask that you down-climb as much as possible.
Auto belay: The auto belay will engage and you will be lowered slowly towards the ground.
Top Rope: You may drop a small amount, but the rope will stop you in about the same place you came off of the wall.
Lead Climbing: Depending on where you fall, you may fall to the ground, stay in the same place, or fall several feet before the rope catches you.
Not Climbing: You will land on the ground. Ouchie.
What if my partner and I have a larger weight difference?
For bouldering this generally not a concern, as climbers climb independently. If your climbing buddy requires a spot, please take care to only spot other climbers who are close to your weight and size.
Our top ropes use a belay bar as an anchor with a double wrap, which increases friction in the system. This means that for top roping you can belay someone with a large weight difference.
For lead climbing, we require climbing partners to be within a 50 pound weight difference between one another.
What if I want to go climbing with a large group?
If you & your friends don’t know how to belay, or have never been climbing. We recommend you book a Group Climb. You will be assigned a staff member to “show you the ropes” of the facility of the annex location, and facilitate safe climbing on our roped walls.
Not into big heights or tying knots? Bring your group to our Queen West location where you can all enjoy our bouldering facility together
Your Child’s Experience
I want to bring a minor for whom I am not the parent/guardian, can I sign their waiver?
You must have the legal parent or guardian of the minor sign their waiver. This can be done online in advance of your visit.
Can I drop off my child without supervision?
If your child is under the age of 12, a supervising adult must accompany them everywhere in the facility.
We have pre-registered after-school, PA day, holiday, and weekend programming at both of our locations. Children must be at least 6 years of age to be registered in our programming. Check out kids programs section for more information!