The Beginners Guide to Choosing an Indoor Climbing Wall

Climbing has exploded in popularity over the last couple of decades and indoor climbing walls have been popping up all over the country to meet the demand. If you’re looking to get into the sport, the sheer number of different places offering indoor climbing can make it hard to know which one to pick. Here are some things to look out for.

Photo by Charlie Brewer / CC BY

Taster Sessions

Most climbing walls offer taster sessions where all the necessary equipment will be provided so you can try out the sport without having to spend too much money. These are usually a great introduction to the sport, taking you through all the basics that you’ll need to know to get started. They’re also let you see exactly what the wall is like, get to know some of the staff and decide whether it’s somewhere you’d like to come back to on a regular basis.

For many indoor climbing walls, it’s compulsory for beginners to complete a taster session before being let loose on the wall by themselves. Although you might be raring to get up there and have some fun, a club that insists on these kind of safety precautions is likely to be one you can trust.

Safety Equipment

One of the most fundamental pieces of climbing safety equipment is a harness, which should have two loops for your legs and a belt that goes around your waist to help distribute your weight evenly around your body and keep you secure. Any ropes you use should show no signs of wear or fraying and you should also be advised about, or provided with, appropriate footwear.

Many indoor climbers choose not to wear helmets due to the relative safety of this type of climbing. However, they should be available for anyone who would prefer one and many climbing walls insist on this for inexperienced and younger climbers. In general, few serious injuries occur at indoor climbing walls, especially when adequate climbing wall matting is in place to absorb the shock of any falls which do occur.


The main organisation in the UK for indoor climbing wall owners is the Association of British Climbing Walls (ABC). One of their central objectives is to “improve industry standards, promote safety and best practice” meaning any wall that is a member of ABC is more likely to be a safe place to climb. ABC also helps organise a series of countrywide programs known as the National Indoor Climbing Award Schemes (NICAS) which recognise individual climbers’ achievements as they progress from novices to experts, which is a great way to track your progress if you do commit to the sport long term.

If you’d like to find out about some of the climbing walls we’ve supplied with our high quality climbing wall safety matting, or if you run a climbing wall and are looking to upgrade your safety precautions, get in touch today by email or call us on 02392 387 198.

Posted on 29 Sep 2014 by Smith Brothers
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