Start climbing indoor in Ghent

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In Belgium we don’t have mountains. Luckily, we have the Ardennes where there are hills and some awesome places to go climbing. If you want to start climbing, I recommend starting indoor.

In this blog the following topics will be discussed:

Bleau is an indoor climbing hall in Ghent, Belgium. If you want to climb independently in Bleau, you need to have a certification or go climbing with somebody who has a certification.

At Bleau they also have a Boulder area which is climbing without rope and lower to the ground. For this you don’t need a certification. You can find everything on their website. Unfortunately, the website is only in Dutch, but you can easily see the openings hours and the prices on here. If you would like some help, just contact us and we’ll get back to you as soon as possible.

What to know about climbing?

The number one rule in climbing is: safety. Your life is literally hanging on a rope. Make sure your equipment is in good condition. This means check the material every time before you start the climb.

What material do you need, and which types are there? The following material will be explained:


There are three different kinds of harnesses. The seat harness is the most common one for rock climbing. The harness sits around the waist with the legs inside the loops. There is also the full-body harnesses and the chest harnesses. The full-body harnesses are used for children, pregnant women, and rescues. The chest harness can only be used in combination with the seat harness and is used for pregnant woman or if wearing a heavy backpack.

Always check your harness for wear and tear. The waist loop needs to be above the waist and needs to be tight. Wear it the right side, which means the belay loop needs to be in front. Make sure that there is no twist in the harness. Store your harness in a dry, dark space and make sure when you buy one it’s approved:

Belay devices

This is a device that is like a brake on the climbing rope. It’s essential for climbing safety. There are four types where you can choose from. The tubular is the one that is used the most because it’s suitable for any kind of climbing and you can use it for two strands of rope (for rappelling). The second type is the auto-tubular braking device. It’s almost the same as the tubular, but it has an additional loop for an easier and more assisted braking. A third type of device is the assisted-braking belay device. This is also called a self-braking or auto-blocking device. This device is designed to lock the rope when there is an unexpected force applied to it. This device will automatically hold a fall, but you still need to watch out because a device can always fail. The figure 8 is not used that often anymore, it’s an old device and mainly used for rescue, rappelling and caving.

You still need a proper belay technique for every belay device. Besides that, make sure that your brake hand is always ready to lock off the rope.


There are a lot of different carabiners. On the carabiners you should notice different numbers and symbols and you need to know that they all mean something. You will see the certificate, strength along spine when gate is closed, strength when cross-loaded, strength along spine when gate is open and the batch number.

Besides all the information that you can find on the carabiners, there are many different shapes, and some shapes are stronger than others. From Oval to D-shape and pear shape.

Always use the carabiner in the length.

One of the most important parts of the carabiners is that you know the difference between a non-locking and a locking carabiner.

A non-locking carabiner is NOT suitable for climbing, it’s also called the one-lock. This is only for quick clipping some stuff, like your helmet on your backpack or for your keychains. There are the straight-gate, bent-gate and wire-gate carabiners.

A locking carabiner is suitable for climbing. The best climbing carabiner is the trip-lock also called three-lock. It means that you need to do three steps to open this carabiner so it’s the most secure method. This is the safest carabiner to climb.

There are also two-lock carabiners like the screwgate and twist-lock, but you need to only do two steps to open them. They are both good, but it can happen that they unlock due to vibration or rubbing against a rope so less secure. The two-lock carabiner twist-lock is mostly used for Via Ferrata, but you always need two locks to be safe and place the locks in the opposite direction of each other so that they can’t open at the same time.


Mainly there are two types of ropes: the static and the dynamic. For climbing you use dynamic ropes because they are designed to stretch a bit which helps to absorb the fall of the climber. Static ropes are used for lowering injured climbers or hauling a load up because they don’t stretch that much.

Your safety

For your safety it’s important that you wear a helmet, decent climbing shoes, comfortable clothing that can’t get stuck (not too loose), gloves if you prefer and chalk powder.

Before you start climbing it’s important to do a check. Check yourself and check your partner! More about the partner check you can watch this video.

The climbing course

A climbing course is the perfect way to learn everything about this sport and learn how to climb safely. in Ghent you can do a climbing course in Bleau. You meet three times for two hours and learn the basics of climbing. The third time you do a test, and you get evaluated.

When you pass the test, you get your certification. At the time we took the course, the price was €50 which includes guidance and preparation to get the certification. What is not included is the entrance to the climbing gym, the insurance, and the rental of material. More information can be found here.

The climbing course is interesting as various topics are discussed. It’s important to follow a course because your life is depending on it. If you make a mistake it can cost your life!

The following topics were discussed:

  • The rules and ethics of climbing when you’re climbing in a climbing room
  • The knowledge of the equipment
  • Tying a climber and the belay device
  • How to secure a climber
  • The partner checks

If you want to climb independently in Bleau, the indoor climbing hall in Ghent, you need to have a climbing pass (the climbing pass 1 ‘indoor length climbing’).

Our climbing experience

We didn’t know there was so much to know about climbing. It’s interesting to learn about the different equipment and the safety. The course is only 6 hours and it’s given over 3 lessons of 2 hours. It is scary to know that there is a lot that can go wrong during climbing if you don’t do it correctly. We recommend taking a climbing course before you start on your own.

In Belgium there are many indoor climbing halls where you need to have a certification. We passed the evaluation, and we got a certification which means we can climb on our own indoor. The course is perfect for beginners because you learn the basics about climbing and of course how to climb. Besides that, you learn about safety, that’s the most important part, be safe!

If you’re in Belgium, it’s nice to know that besides indoor climbing there are a lot of climbing spots in the Ardennes. If you are a beginner like us, I would suggest you start with doing a Via Ferrata (you have many Via Ferrata’s in Belgium).

A Via Ferrata is an Italian term and means Iron Path in English. It’s a climbing route that is guided with a steel cable secured to the rock. You lock yourself with two carabiners to the steel cable (two-lock carabiners in the opposite direction), one carabiner always needs to be attached to the steel cable. You climb the route that is sometimes with metal steps, ladders, zip wires and suspension bridges. A perfect way to start your climbing skills.

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