Recreation and Sports

Climbing Wall

Our state-of-the-art indoor climbing wall and traverse wall add an athletic and adventurous component to each user’s workout. Rock climbing is an incredible sport for all individuals that calls upon the mind and body to work in harmony. This sport also builds a combination of flexibility, strength, balance, and endurance to ascend a rock face through a sequence of planned moves.

The 26’ high x 12’ wide climbing wall is equipped with three routes and has 75 holds that can be changed to vary routes and meet all climbing levels. The 11’ wide 19’ high transverse wall does not require a rope or harness and allows new users to become familiar with climbing in a safe environment while allowing experienced climbers to challenge themselves and work on perfecting skills.

Climbing Wall Hours: Spring 2024

The Helwig Climbing Wall is open Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday, 7:00–9:00 p.m.

Try a free equipment orientation on the first Tuesday of every month at 8:00 p.m. to learn basic climbing skills.

Registration and Check-In

  • All individuals interested in the climbing wall must present a valid NPU ID card for general admittance into the facility.
  • Participants must check in with the climbing wall attendant and sign a waiver and release of liability form. It is NPU policy that individuals under the age of 18 must have a parent or guardian’s signature on the required form prior to participation. A parent or guardian can fax the signed waiver to: (773) 244-5269, Attention: Ericka Adams.
  • A climbing wall attendant must be present for patrons to climb.


The climbing wall is a great way for groups to promote team spirit, unity, and trust by experiencing the challenges the way together. Interested parties must be affiliated with NPU and can reserve a climbing time outside of normal climbing hours with Ericka Adams, Wellness & Recreation Director, by email or by phone at extension 5618. A small fee may apply.

Climbing Wall Rules and Etiquette

  • Consult a physician prior to engaging in physical activity. Participants exercise at their own risk and are responsible for their own health and safety.
  • A climbing wall attendant must be present for participants to climb. No unsupervised climbing at any time.
  • Participants must have a signed waiver on file before climbing.
  • Vertical wall requires harness/belay system.
  • Only NPU certified climbing wall attendants can belay climbers.
  • Appropriate athletic attire must be worn at all times. It is up to the discretion of the Helwig staff to determine appropriate attire for patrons. It is recommended to be conservative with athletic attire. No jeans, sandals, non-athletic shoes or bare feet. Muddy or dirty shoes are not permitted. Participants are asked to please change into clean shoes prior to entering facility.
  • A helmet must be worn when climbing on the wall.
  • Climbers may bring their own personal helmet and climbing shoes, but must use Helwig harnesses.
  • Maintain at least 3 points of contact with the wall at all times.
  • Do not walk under climbers on the wall.
  • Do not step on climbing rope or climbing equipment.
  • Do not jump off the vertical climbing wall. Rappel down. Climbing over the wall structure (this means above the top anchors) is prohibited.
  • The traverse wall MAY NOT be used while someone is climbing on the left-hand side of the vertical wall.
  • Climbers may not sit or rest on the top of the traverse wall.
  • Climbing attendants are the only people that are allowed to adjust or fix holds on the walls.
  • Chalk is not available for use.
  • Remove all loose fitting jewelry before climbing.
  • Tie long hair back when necessary.
  • The following climbing procedures must be followed:
    • Before climbing, the climber asks, “Belay on?”
    • The belayer replies, “On belay.”
    • Climber says, “Climbing?”
    • Belayer replies, “Climb on.”
    • All accidents and equipment damage must be reported to climbing wall attendant immediately.
    • NPU reserves the right to suspend any person for violating the above safety policies and procedures or for any conduct that is viewed as unsafe or inappropriate.