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Sussex School uses the outdoors to promote skills in creativity, courage, citizenship, and critical thinking. The Sussex School Climbing Program is one facet of our outdoor programming, which is available to all 6th-8th grade students. There are three levels for students to choose from, based on prior climbing experience. Students split time between the newly-renovated bouldering and climbing wall at school and at the Freestone Climbing Center during the duration of the program. A breakdown of the required skills and desired outcomes of each level are below:


As the name suggests, this is an introduction to some of the basics of climbing. This is the perfect launch point for a student who has never or rarely climbed, but is interested in learning more. We focus only on bouldering and building a baseline of fitness and technique. Students  progress from “rainbowing” to the top of the bouldering wall to eventually completing set bouldering problems. If student progress allows, students will have the opportunity to begin top rope climbing.


This program is for students who have spent 10-15 days either in the gym, outside, or both. This group is both bouldering and top rope climbing. Students are expected to complete routes and problems, both inside and outside, as they are set. Students learn safe top rope belay techniques, basic climbing knots, and how to safely communicate with their climbing partners. Students work on progressing through more difficult climbs over the course of the program.


 Students will be expected to be proficient in top rope climbing, bouldering techniques, and climbing communication. Students in the advanced group  focus on pushing their abilities through focused training, advanced instruction, and multiple opportunities to climb outside. If students demonstrate focus and competency in these skills, students  have the opportunity to begin learning the basics of lead climbing. 

City of Rocks Climbing Trip

Students participating in the Intermediate and Advanced Climbing program will have the opportunity to climb on the world-class granite found at the City of Rocks National Reserve in Almo, ID. With more than 600 routes to climb, students will get the chance to climb crisp patinas, splitter cracks, and sticky slabs. This trip will also help students refine their technical rock skills through mock leading, introduction to anchor building, and learning crack-climbing techniques. Students will also have plenty of time to spend time outside with their buddies cooking meals, roasting marshmallows, and enjoying the surreal landscape that is City of Rocks.

Program Costs

  • Beginner $300

  • Intermediate and Advanced $700 including the City of Rocks Trip, $400 without

Note: If your intermediate/advanced climber also wants to participate in the City of Rocks Trip, you must register for it separately. 

Cancellation Policy:

If you determine that this program is not a good fit for your student, this determination must be made before the 4th climbing session. A refund will be issued based on how many days your student participated in the program.


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