Kids at N3C

We often get questions about bringing kids to N3C. This page endeavors to answer the most common questions we get about kids and climbing at N3C.
North Country Climbing Center-North Country-N3C-Rock Climbing-rope climbing-bouldering-adventure-climbing lessons-aerial silk-yoga-outdoor guiding-New Hampshire-wilderness-outdoors-rock wall-White Mountains. Kids at N3C
North Country Climbing Center-North Country-N3C-Rock Climbing-rope climbing-bouldering-adventure-climbing lessons-aerial silk-yoga-outdoor guiding-New Hampshire-wilderness-outdoors-rock wall-White Mountains. Kids at N3C
Can I bring the whole family?
Quick: name a physical activity in which three generations of a family can participate at the same time where everyone is challenged JUST the right amount. What comes to mind?

Hiking? Skiing? Soccer? Basketball? All of these are awesome activities to do with the whole family, but inevitably someone is holding back for someone else and sometimes family members are left out in the cold.

What about indoor climbing?

Kids LOVE climbing – we are all born with an innate interest in scrambling up things to the point that parents spend a good bit of time telling their kids NOT to climb on things that they shouldn’t climb on (furniture, the dog, store countertops, etc.). Why not take kids to a place where climbing isn’t only allowed but is actually promoted?

But climbing isn’t only for kids. It is a life-long activity that has no expiration date. Just as kids love climbing, so can octogenarians.

Of course, parents and grandparents don’t have to climb when they bring kids to N3C. We have comfy padded benches where people can rest between climbs or just sit and watch the action. Just remember that anyone who enters N3C needs a signed waiver.

How young a child can I bring?
We have no minimum age for participants at N3C. Some kids as young as 2 or 3 enjoy climbing in the bouldering area. In order to rope up, we need children to be at least 30 pounds.

Many kids really start being able to climb full-height routes at about age 6. Like any activity, some children really take to climbing at a young age while others do not.

Can I bring my child’s friends?

Of course you can bring other peoples’ children to N3C! However, all children under 18  need to have an N3C waiver signed by a parent or legal guardian, so if you don’t fit into that category, you’ll need to get a waiver signed before you show up at N3C with the child. They can fill it out online here and it will be sent to the gym! 

Do we need a new waiver signed for each visit?
No. Once an N3C waiver is on file, you do not need to fill out another one each time you visit. The only time we would need another waiver is if a change in law or policy compels us to modify our waiver.
How does it work? Do I need to know anything about climbing to bring my child climbing?

Neither you nor your child need to have any experience to have a great time climbing at N3C. We have all the expertise and gear to get you going. And we have routes for all ages and skill levels.

We offer basically three types of climbing:

  • Roped climbing: This is what most people envision when thinking about climbing. There is a climber tied into one end of a rope and a belayer who controls the rope. N3C has approximately 25 top rope stations and about the same number of lead climbing stations. In order to belay at N3C, you need to pass a belay test so we know that you know how to belay safely.
  • Auto belayed climbing: Auto belays remove the need for an experienced belayer. The climber clips into the auto belay’s cord and the auto belay mechanism retracts the cord as the climber ascends the wall. When the climber lets go or falls, the auto belay lowers them to the floor at a controlled rate. N3C has three auto belays that are frequently moved around the gym. We ensure that at least one of the auto belays services beginner climbs as well as more advanced climbs.
  • Bouldering: Bouldering is rock climbing on a shorter wall without a rope. N3C has a dedicated bouldering area with 14 foot high climbing walls and a 13 inch thick, 3 density, seamless, padded flooring system (in other words – the whole bouldering floor is soft!).

You can also learn more about climbing in general on our Climbing Basics page.

There are a lot of options, what do you recommend?

We have found that most parents (at least those who are not climbers themselves) choose the Open Climb package for their children. The Open Climb package includes everything needed for lots of climbing: a day pass, full climbing gear rental, and skilled N3C staff to provide belays until your kids can’t lift their arms. (You might notice that they are having so much fun that you choose to join them!)

You can bring your child in to use the auto belays and to boulder at any time during business hours. If you are an experienced belayer, then you can take our belay test to become certified to belay at N3C. Once your child gets hooked on climbing, you will probably want to learn how to belay them so that you can share this great experience with them. Our Learn to Belay Lesson will provide you with the skills you need to belay.

As a reminder, everyone who enters N3C needs a signed waiver – those of us 18 and over must sign our own waiver while those under 18 need to have one signed by a parent or legal guardian. Click here to fill out the waiver online.

For more information about your first visit to N3C, click here

When can I bring in my child? Do I need reservations?

You can bring your child to N3C anytime during our business hours. We are open 7 days a week, 3pm – 10pm Monday through Friday, and 11am – 8pm Saturday and Sunday. No reservation necessary – just show up! If you would like to make a reservation to speed up the check in process you can purchase the Open Climb Package or Day Pass online. 

Is there any charge for me to belay my child?
No, there is no charge to belay at N3C.
How long should I plan on being at N3C with kids?
Some kids get tired of climbing quickly and others would be happy to climb non-stop all day. On average, however, we have found that about 1 ½ to 2 hours is just about the right amount of time for kids at N3C.
What should my child wear?
Comfortable, loose-fitting clothing that they can move well in. Remember that they will be wearing harnesses, so neither skirts nor super-short shorts work very well.
Do we really need those special shoes?
Most people prefer to use climbing shoes since they make climbing significantly due to their sticky rubber soles and their unique shape that helps them grip small footholds. That said, N3C does not require that people climb in climbing shoes. Clean athletic shoes or even just socks are fine by us. We don’t allow barefoot climbing (for sanitary reasons) or climbing in shoes that have been outdoors recently (since we want to keep the gym clean).

 If you have any other questions, just ask us! Call us at 603.838.5300, contact us online, or message us on Facebook.

Visitor and Liability Release Agreement

All visitors, whether they are climbing or not, must complete a Visitor Agreement. Any visitor under the age of 18 years must have their parent or legal guardian sign their form. You can either fill out when you arrive or download it, print it off, sign it, and bring it in.

Please write legibly! We actually do read and transcribe all the information from the form into our customer database.

Also, note that the signature space is on the second page.