Climbing walls were originally built to enable rock climbers to train and continue climbing through the wet and cold winter months or in areas where outdoor climbing was difficult to access. Large cities were some of the first places to build commercial walls enabling a captive climbing population to stay climbing fit.
Indoor climbing has boomed over the past few years and now many people use climbing walls just to stay fit, meet friends and train. There are many people now who never climb outside, just using indoor walls as a kind of vertical gym, climbing has become super cool! Climbing is also now going to feature in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics for the first time, so climbing is going to get huge!
Competent climbers who know how to use the ropes and equipment (we allow any recognised climbing knot and belay device) can register (Registration form) at climbing walls and climb unsupervised to their hearts content (you can also register online here). New climbers can either climb under the supervision of a competent friend or climb under instruction with Centre staff or qualified instructors, there is usually no need for them to complete a registration form.
Walls will often have a policy to enable under 18yr olds to climb unsupervised once they have demonstrated their competency, its worth checking to make sure young climbers can climb without supervision.
Most commercial walls now follow guidelines laid down by the Association of British Climbing Walls (ABC) and offer a range of courses lead by staff with national climbing qualifications run by the Mountain Leader Training Board (MLTE) as well as offering coaching and advice for experienced climbers.
Some walls offer outdoor climbing lessons and guiding services, walls offering outdoor sessions to U18's must hold the HSE required AALA licence and will be inspected to ensure suitable standards are maintained.
Climbing walls vary from tiny home facilities to enormous commercial walls usually in old industrial buildings or disused community buildings such as churches! There are now boulder only Centres without ropes, creating low level climbing above safety matting. Bouldering has exploded in popularity and is accessible to everyone without the need for equipment or rope work skills.
Most walls run competions for either roped climbing or bouldering and involve climbers of all abilities and ages as well as hosting special events and climbing festivals.
Indoor climbing is extremely sociable and walls are great places to meet new friends and hang out. Larger Centre's will have cafes serving the all important coffee as well as a selection of food from simple snacks to full meals. Lots of people have been hooked by the atmosphere and vibe surrounding climbing walls and have discovered a new and exciting activity. See here how to belay and here how to tie in! Check out how the grading system works HERE
If you want to try something new or you are an active experienced climber Dart Rock is the place to climb!
COME CLIMB WITH US!