Whether you’re looking to face your fears, get fit, meet new people or just have fun, rock climbing centres are the place for you, offering all that and more. You’re never too young to begin or too old to start, so why not locate your nearest centre and give it a try. You may have no intention of climbing outdoors but this doesn’t matter; although climbing walls were once used by rock climbers between mountains, they have now become a popular and more social alternative to gyms as indoor climbing is the safest way to enjoy this extreme sport. Rather than being stuck on a treadmill, you can test your balance, strength, stamina and gymnastic ability as you tackle new routes on low walls. It’s also less mind-numbing, requiring brainwork and co-ordination as you figure how to twist your body and get your foot all the way up there! Take a look at our suggestions for some of our favourite indoor and outdoor places to get a taste for this fantastic sport.
Though the fool-proof plan, of course, is to make sure you have adequate rock climbing insurance before you go.
1. Brecon Beacon
Beacon Climbing Centre offers climbing at all levels of difficulty, including sessions for small children, so anyone can book in for a taster. If the engaging social environment gets you hooked, you can attend as many as you want to.
£14 per hour.
Taster sessions are run daily at Alton Sports Centre in Hampshire which offers extensive facilities including dedicated Bouldering and ROCKFIT walls. If you decide rock climbing is for you, at Alton you can get involved in the fun and in-house bouldering league and regular competitions at Alton.
The Quay Climbing Centre is the South West’s largest, dedicated indoor climbing wall and one of Exeter’s most identifiable buildings; the atrium provides a majestic space in which to learn to climb! It boasts over 200 climbing lines, an abseil tower and two bouldering caves so there is something for everyone. Taster sessions run regularly.
There are hundreds of climbing walls all over the country and these are just a couple of our favourites! To find out the nearest centre to you, use the BMC (British Mountaineering Council) directory.
1. Peak District
A taster session with Pure Outdoor can cater for those with little or no prior experience of rock climbing. As you try out the climbing basics you’ll also learn climbing and rope techniques. The low ratio instruction ensures ample one-to-one attention so you achieve what you may never have imagined.
£79pp for 1 day.
2. Wye Valley
This taster will give you sufficient insight into whether or not climbing is for you. You’ll be guided through the basics of rock climbing outdoors rather than learning too much about technique.
£80pp for 1 day.
With Snowdonia Adventures you’ll spend the day climbing both inside and out, offering a great all-round introduction. You’ll warm up at a local indoor climbing wall before venturing out to a local crag where you can test your skills in the great outdoors.
To find our more visit the Snowdonia Adventures website.
4. Kent and Sussex
KS Climbing use the Southern Sandstone for their climbing courses where Harrison’s Rocks, the UK number one visited crag in the country, can be found. They offer a 2 hour taster session and a 1 or 2 day introduction to rock climbing courses, each of which increase your experience and build your confidence.
£40pp for 2hrs, £60pp for 4hrs, £80 for 2 days.