Welcome to the start of your climbing journey
If you’re already an experienced climber, head straight to the pre-register page, and we will see you soon.
Alternatively, read on to find out more about this fantastic sport and what to expect on your first visit with us.
‘Climbing’ is the catch-all term for all disciplines of the sport. Three disciplines were showcased at the 2020 Olympics:
- Sport Climbing – Climbing high up a wall with the added safety of a rope and harness
- Speed Climbing – Racing an opponent up an identical 15-metre-high climb
- Bouldering – Climbing up to four metres above the protection of a mat
The primary offering at our London centres is bouldering, but we have additional facilities at HarroWall.
What is bouldering?
Bouldering is climbing stripped down to its raw essentials. There’s no complicated ropes or harnesses, and all you need is climbing shoes.
Your challenge is to climb short but interesting bouldering ‘problems’ using technique, balance, strength, and your brain. Watch the video here to get an idea of why you should give it a go!
The beauty of bouldering is that every problem has its own solution, and to climb it successfully, you need to figure it out. Depending on your body shape and personal strengths, your solution could be totally different to the next person’s. If you’re tall, you might be able to reach the next hold more easily on spaced-out problems but find yourself hindered when the route takes you into corners or grooves on the wall.
You don’t need experience or lots of expensive kit to have a go, making it easy to get into if you’ve never tried it before. The specialist climbing shoes are available to hire from reception or buy in our shop.
Can my kids climb?
If you have children 17 and under, there are several ways to get them climbing.
Please read the three options over on our Pre-Register Page.
I want to give it a go!
Just visit our pre-register page, watch our bouldering induction video and come on down. You can also do this at reception if you don’t have time now. It’s that easy, and you can be climbing within 20 minutes of walking through the door. During peak times, pre-booking for independent climbing is only required at VauxWall West and VauxWall East. At all other times and centres, you can just walk in.
Can I climb with an instructor on my first visit?
Of course you can! We run a range of classes, and we recommend our Induction Plus class for your first step or a private coaching session if starting as a family. They’re super friendly one-off sessions that will give you all the info you need to enjoy this new sport. We run them at various times at our seven centres, so head over to Classes & Courses to book.
What will my first visit be like?
Starting a new sport can be daunting, but we are here to help. Here is how most first sessions roll out.
- Once you arrive, you will complete your registration at reception. This involves a couple of safety questions from the induction video, so please ensure that you watch it.
We recommend renting climbing shoes if you don’t have your own. The fit should feel snug but not painful.
- Head to the locker area, where you will find gender-neutral changing cubicles. All of our lockers take padlocks, and we sell them at reception if you need one.
Familiarise yourself with the centre and find the grade chart to know which colour climbs are easiest. We recommend loosening up in our gym areas and taking a couple of laps on the traverse wall before hitting the bouldering.
- Pace yourself, taking at least a 1-minute rest between climbs, and use chalk to keep your hands dry and your grip secure.
- For your first time, we recommend around one hour of climbing.
- Climbing centres are sociable environments where everyone tries to solve the climbs on the wall. Get chatting, and you’ll likely unlock a new technique.
- We serve refreshments and have seating areas if you would like a more extended break, and our gym facilities allow you to mix up your training sessions.
- When you’re done, head back to reception to drop off your shoes and check out.
- All our centres have individual showers and towel hire if you want to freshen up.
- Expect your arms to ache the next day! This is normal, and your body will adapt with a few more sessions. You will also learn more techniques to ensure you climb more efficiently.