The Mt. Mendota Climbing & Bouldering Wall supports bouldering, top roping, and sport climbing. The Bouldering Wall is 13 feet tall and the Climbing Wall is 32 feet tall, for a combined 1,900 square feet and 8 lanes of climbing surface. Climbing is free for all members during regular hours, and all gear including shoes, harnesses and chalk is free for all members as well! No experience is needed to participate. We’ll have staff to help out anyone who’d like to climb.


Bakke Recreation & Wellbeing Center
1976 Observatory Drive
Madison, WI 53706

Daily Schedules

Mount Mendota


September 4 – January 21

Day of the Week Hours
Monday - Thursday Noon - 10pm
Friday Noon - 8pm
Saturday & Sunday 2 - 8pm

Adjusted Hours

Day of the Week Hours
August 30 CLOSED



Climbing clinics are single day instructional programs focused on specific climbing skills and techniques. Clinics are perfect for any climber looking to improve their climbing experience or build new skills.

Image of climbing staff giving instruction to a member.

Lead Climbing Clinic

This clinic will teach you what you need to know in order to indoor lead climb and lead belay at Mt. Mendota. Participants must be Top Rope Belay certified at Mt. Mendota and be able to comfortably climb a climbing grade of at least 5.9.

Price: $10

Tuesday, October 3
Thursday, October 26
Friday, December 1

Time: 9 – 11:45am


Top Rope Belay Lesson

In this Top Rope Belay Class you will learn how to tie in and belay another climber. Our trained staff will teach you everything you need to know about belaying.

Price: $5

Dates and times vary, check our registration page below for more information.



Climbing wall events are a great way to meet other climbers, learn new techniques, and challenge yourself in a fun and supportive environment. Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced climber, there’s an event out there for you!

Image of member climbing on the Mt. Mendota climbing wall

New Climbers Night

New to climbing and want to learn the basics? Mt. Mendota’s New Climber’s Night is an opportunity for people who want to begin their climbing journey to learn and be encouraged. This free event will feature several climbing instructors who are ready to teach you what you want to know! Register for a free, one hour section.

Date: Tuesday, September 19

7 – 8pm
8 – 9pm
9 – 10pm


Image of woman climbing on mt. Mendota climbing wall covering a portion of her face with her hadn

Women+ Climbing Night

Want to experience indoor rock climbing in a welcoming and supportive environment? Mt. Mendota’s Women+ Climbing Night is a free, drop-in event that is staffed by knowledgeable and experienced women and non-binary student staff members. All women, trans women, nonbinary, gender expansive, and anyone who is seeking this community is encouraged to attend. All skill levels are welcome and instruction will be provided!

Thursday, October 12
Tuesday, November 14

Time: 9 – 11pm


Image of Mt. Mendota that highlights a climber on the wall as well as patrons standing nearby waiting to climb

Queer Climbing Night

Show your pride at the Climbing Wall! Mt. Mendota’s Queer Climbing Nights are free, drop-in events that are staffed by our knowledgeable and experienced members and allies of the community. All LGBTQ+ students are welcome, and folx with genders typically left out of fitness spaces are especially encouraged to attend. All skill levels are welcome and instruction will be provided!

Wednesday, September 27
Tuesday, October 24

Time: 9 – 11pm


Q & A

This is an accordion element with a series of buttons that open and close related content panels.

How much does it cost?

It is 100% free to all students and members! This includes all rental gear like climbing shoes, harnesses, and chalk bags.

Do I need to make a reservation?

No! We have open rec hours within the Bakke’s regular hours of operation. During these times, members are free to come in and climb as much as they want.

What type of climbing is available?

Mt. Mendota has a 13 ft. bouldering wall as well as a 32 ft. top rope/lead climbing wall. There are 3 auto belays and 5 ropes for top rope climbing.

Do I need to know how to climb to participate?

No! We have trained staff members to belay, coach, and encourage you up the wall. Check out our available educational programs and clinics if you want to learn more!

Are you hiring?

We are not currently hiring for the climbing wall. If you are interested in working, reach out to with questions or check our student jobs page for more information.