Cities/Chicago/Health & Wellness Standards

To keep our community healthy and climbing strong during the COVID-91 pandemic, we have implemented the Health & Wellness Standards below. These standards meet or exceed all local, state, and federal guidelines.  Please review these standards closely and abide by them at all times while at First Ascent.

We’re so glad to be back to serving our community the way we love to, and we’re grateful to our staff, members, and the broader community for doing your part to promote the health and wellness of your fellow climbers. By adhering closely to these standards and remaining vigilant, we can prevent the spread of COVID-19 and continue to enjoy the mental and physical health benefits of climbing.

We truly are stronger together.

Here are the new health standards, presented in categories that help you understand how they will impact your visits to the gym.

Last updated: January 29th, 2021


Rigorous Cleaning

A professional cleaning crew deep cleans each of our facilities every night, and our staff follow continuous cleaning protocols throughout the day, including a 2:00-4:00 pm deep clean every weekday.

Medical Grade Disinfectants

We use medical-grade, EPA-registered disinfectants designated effective against the COVID-19 virus for all continuous and deep-cleaning procedures. We also utilize next generation electrostatic handheld and back-pack sprayers that efficiently attack microbes, providing 3x more coverage in the same amount of time than traditional efforts. Climbing holds will be disinfected while on the wall using electrostatic sprayers during the day and o-zone generators each night after close. This equipment will also be used to fully disinfect lockers and fitness equipment.

Increased Air Circulation

Where possible, windows and doors at our facilities will be open to allow for additional fresh air circulation, and HVAC equipment will be set to allow the maximum amount of outside fresh air, achieving complete air replacement at least once every hour.

Facility Improvements & Adjustments

We’ve made some adjustments to the facility to promote the health and safety of staff and visitors, including adding plexiglass shields at the front desk, hand sanitizer stations throughout the facility, and signage to help promote healthy practices.


Reservations Required

Reserve your climbing or fitness session online before you come to the gym so we can closely follow capacity limits set by State and City guidelines. 

Currently, all First Ascent facilities are operation at no more than 25% capacity (State & Local Guidelines currently allow 40% capacity) with capacity restrictions for specific areas of each gym in place. First Ascent members as well as 10-Pass holders, Day Pass visitors, and member guests can reserve a session.

Health Declaration

By reserving a gym session, you certify that you are not experiencing any COVID-19 symptoms and you have not been exposed to anyone with any COVID-19 symptoms over the past two weeks. You also certify that you are not currently within a mandatory quarantine period based on the City of Chicago’s Emergency Travel Order. You will be asked to re-certify when you arrive at the gym.


Hand Sanitizing

Hand sanitizing is required first thing when you enter. A hand sanitizer station will be placed right at the entrance for use when entering. We also encourage you to wash or sanitize your hands regularly during your time at the gym.

Face Masks

Adequate face coverings (medical masks, 2-ply cloth masks, N-95s, etc.) are required at all times while at First Ascent. Neck gaiters, bandanas, and masks with valves are not permitted.  Disposable face masks are available for free at the front desk.

Health Declaration Affirmation

When you arrive, we’ll ask you to reaffirm your health declaration with a head nod or thumbs up.

Touchless Check In & Payment

Use touchless scanners to check in, or make purchases or payments using your card on file.


Socially Close, Physically Distant

Please practice social distancing at all times while at First Ascent. Distancing cues will be marked in the fitness areas, locker rooms, and climbing areas to help you maintain 6 ft. between you and other FA members and visitors. 

Liquid Chalk + Chalk Balls Only

Only liquid chalk and chalk balls will be permitted for use. Loose chalk is not permitted to improve overall air quality in the gyms. Liquid chalk with 70% alcohol content will be provided for free in dispensers. The liquid chalk we use has the same alcohol content as hand sanitizer, helping keep hands and climbing holds disinfected while also providing the same hand drying benefits as dry chalk.

Rotating Top Rope Routes

To ensure physical distancing is possible in tighter areas of the gym, top rope routes will be marked for use every other day with blue and red tags.  To confirm which routes are available to climb on the day you visit, please check the route tags. All boulder problems and lead-only routes are available to climb any day, any time.

Limited Class Offerings

Some climbing classes, youth classes, and private instruction are available at reduced capacity in accordance with State and Local guidelines – check out our Programs page here for more details. 

Yoga and fitness classes are currently only offered virtually. More information on our virtual First Ascent Anywhere classes here

Temporarily Closed: Showers, Drinking Fountains, & Overnight Storage

Showers and drinking fountains are closed for the foreseeable future, and overnight storage in lockers will not be permitted. Be sure to bring a water bottle – bottle fillers will be open.


Air Fist Bumps

We’re so glad to welcome you back, we thank you for your help keeping the FAmily healthy, and we’ll look forward to seeing you again soon.


Contact us if you test positive for Covid-19

If you test positive for Covid-19 within 14 days of your last visit to First Ascent, please notify us by emailing or by calling 312‑801‑4423. 

We will notify anyone who visited First Ascent during that session while keeping your identify and information confidential. If there is any evidence of further spread of COVID-19 happening within the gyms, we will quarantine that gym and notify all staff, members, and visitors immediately.

Questions on the plan above?

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Thanks for your help keeping your fellow climbers healthy and climbing strong. Climb on!