Climbing walls

Purpose-built walls for climbing practice

There are countless numbers of indoor climbing walls in the UK, particularly in sports and leisure centres. Climbing walls are a great way of developing your climbing technique, before you go out and take on some real mountain climbing. Here’s our quick guide to climbing walls.

Some climbers see indoor climbing as a discipline in its own right, but most use these purpose-built walls for practice. Many seriously active climbers have even built their own wall in their home.

Climbing walls

Climbing walls are ideal for practicing techniques, as holds and walls can be adjusted for different levels. Not only will the wall be set at various angles to make it harder, the holds will be molded to different sizes too and positioned at certain distances apart to vary the difficulty of climb.

The grips will be color-coded to represent the different grading levels of rock climbs. These moulds are bolted on, so can be changed regularly. Most climbing walls will have ropes already attached, which means climbers can tie their harness up straightaway.

There are many competitions organised on climbing walls, which climbers of all levels and experience can take part in. One of the benefits of this type of climbing is that it is not weather dependant and can be done all year round.

The Welsh International Climbing Centre near the Brecon Beacons is one of the biggest indoor climbing walls in the world. With climbs over 17m high, 300 separate routes, 8m overhangs and 20,000 square feet of climbing surface, it just shows how much fun you can have without even putting one foot outside.

The British Mountaineering Council and climbing
While climbers are not required to participate in training courses to take part in the sport, many will sign up for lessons with local climbing centres or clubs before heading up a rock face, and sensibly so. We cannot emphasize enough the importance of taking lessons before starting climbing.

Many clubs are affiliated to the British Mountaineering Council, which supports access, conservation, mountain safety and technical investigation work. It also represents the needs of climbers, hill walkers and mountaineers to the Government. Benefits of club membership include up to £10,000 personal accident cover and up to £5 million in liability insurance worldwide for affiliated clubs.

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