Outdoor Recreation Center - Climbing Wall



Marquette, Michigan is a wonderful setting for outdoor fun and sports.  One of the more popular sports/activities is competitive and recreational rock climbing, both in and outdoors. One of the hot spots for NMU students, especially in this chilly weather, is the 25 foot tall rock wall at the PEIF’s Outdoor Rec Center. The wall, named the Boreal Boulder, is a 1,450 square-foot wall with numerous different colored trails to follow and hundreds more if you create your own on the way up.

Lately, the wall at the PEIF has gotten really busy at night, and a climbing club has formed. Alumni Haley Eisenhardt had this to say about the Climbing Wall: “It’s such a good workout. I feel so strong after it. Indoor or outdoor, you can do it basically anywhere! It’s a really good way to meet new people who are chill, relaxed, and friendly; my group of friends comes here all the time,” she said.


Outdoor Rec Center & Climbing Wall Hours

Fall 2019

August 26th - December 14th

ORC rental equipment can be rented during the times listed below or by making a reservation up to two weeks in advance. 

Please call the Rec Sports office at 227-2519 to reserve equipment.


Sunday Open Climb 6 p.m. - 10 p.m. 
Belay Lessons
Open Climb
5 p.m. - 6 p.m.
6 p.m. - 10 p.m.
Belay Lessons
Partner Climb
5 p.m. - 6 p.m.
6 p.m. - 9 p.m.
Partner Climb
Open Climb
7 a.m. - 9 a.m.
6 p.m. - 10 p.m.
Thursday Partner Climb
6 p.m. - 9 p.m.
Partner Climb
Community Route Setting
Kids Climb
10 a.m. - 1 p.m. 
1 p.m. - 3 p.m.
6 p.m. - 9 p.m.
Saturday Partner Climb 5 p.m. - 7 p.m.

One of the most popular activities NMU Recreational Sports offers is its 1,450 square-foot climbing wall, named the Boreal Boulder, which is located in the Physical Education and Instructional Facility (PEIF) of the NMU Sports Complex, near the basketball courts.

  • Activities at the wall include climbing for adults and children, partner climbs and classes. Trained staff members are on hand to assist with climbs and teach proper technique. All climbers MUST follow the climbing policies and youths are required to have parents sign a waiver form.
  • The wall is also available for group events, including youth birthday parties, campus groups, and community organizations.

Experience the rush of climbing the wall!  For more information, e-mail Christopher Smith chrsmith@nmu.edu or call the Outdoor Rec Center at 906-227-1369.


Belay Training/Lesson
Belay training is a time set aside for climbers who wish to become belay certified at the ORC's climbing wall. The cost is a onetime only fee of $5. Climbers are expected to arrive at the start of the lesson. You are required to be belay certified through the ORC if you wish to attend Partner Climbs or belay your friends - even if you are certified at another gym! 

- Contact chrsmith@nmu.edu or 906-227-1561 if you would like to get certified during Summer 2019. 

Open Climb
Open climb is a time at the ORC where anyone can come in, whether you are a beginner climber or advanced. The ORC has staff on hand to help with belaying or give you tips on how to master that route you've been stuck on. No belay certification is required for Open Climb shifts.

Partner Climb
Partner climb allows climbers to come in and belay for themselves. This is a time that is usually quieter than Open Climb and allows the climbers to climb the wall without waiting in any lines. In order to attend Partner Climb shifts, you must be belay certified through the ORC.

Lead Climb
In top rope climbing, the rope goes from the belayer on the ground through the anchors at the top of the wall and back down to wherever the climber may be on the route.  The climber is below their protection - what catches them when they fall - at all times.  At the ORC we offer another style of climbing called lead climbing.  In lead climbing the rope goes from the belayer on the ground right to the climber, who clips into their gear as they climb up the wall.  They are not anchored in at the top until they get there, so the climber is literally "leading" the rope up the wall.

Kid's Climb Fridays (5 - 16 yrs old)
Need a fun family activity for Friday night? Come join the ORC crew at the climbing wall for an evening of adventure. Let the kids go crazy! This is a family-friendly program to help teach the sport of climbing to the next generation. Kid's Climb is held every Friday night from 6 - 9 p.m. unless otherwise noted during the fall and winter semesters. The climb is FREE for rec members and non-members must obtain a $10 day pass.

Climbing Lessons - Semi-private or Private

The NMU Outdoor Recreation Center offers climbing lessons for individuals and groups of all ages and abilities.  Whether you are new to the sport wishing to learn the basics, or a seasoned climber wanting to take your technique to the next level, we can provide you with a great learning experience!  To sign up for climbing lessons please contact the Rec Sports office at 227-2519. 

  • Semi-private: $50 Member rate, $60 Non-member rate
    • Lessons include 6 sessions.
  • Private: $90 Member rate, $100 Non-member rate
    • Lessons include 6 sessions.

User Fees

There is no charge for recreation members to use the climbing wall during open hours. For non-members, a valid day pass is required (purchased at the Info Center for $10).

  • Climbing shoes: may be rented for $2 on a first-come, first-served basis. Socks must be worn with all shoe rentals.  Harnesses and belay devices also are available for checkout during open and partner climb hours at no charge.

Fees for group packages or wall rental vary with the number of participants, length and content of the event.



To sign up or get more information, e-mail recsport@nmu.edu, call 906-227-2519,  or stop by the Rec Sports office at PEIF 126.

NMU Rec Sports