The return to indoor climbing – statement from ClimbScotland

The announcement by the First Minister on Thurs 21st August that indoor sport facilities and gyms including climbing walls can reopen from 31 August onwards, is positive news and is already creating a buzz of excitement across the climbing wall community.

The reopening of climbing walls will be widely welcomed by clubs, individuals and the wider public. However, it is important to recognise that several challenges including the current economic landscape still need to be overcome before we are back towards anything like normal. While the desire to reopen facilities is clear, the difficulties presented by COVID-19 means that some facilities may not open on day one, and reduced capacity due to the required physical distancing will have a direct impact on the operation and economic viability of some facilities. We are in the final stages of our work with, the Association of British Climbing Walls (ABC) and sportscotland to put the guidelines in place to ensure a safe return to indoor climbing for everyone. These guidelines will then be submitted to Scottish Government for sign off. Once signed off, they will be published on the sportscotland website and circulated to our partners in the Scottish Climbing Wall Network.

We understand this will be frustrating for many people but while we all continue to work towards our shared goals and objectives, the continued support, patience and understanding of everyone involved, is more important than before.

To help members prepare and understand some of the ongoing challenges we have set out some frequently asked questions below and will continue to update members when we have more information.

Walls are open in England, so why has it taken longer here?

Yes, this is true and we are using the ABC Guidelines that have been adopted and used for many of the walls in England however, amendments are required to these guidelines to reflect the public health guidance created by Scottish Government, which differs from UK Government as it is a devolved matter. This is what we are currently working on and aiming to get turned around as soon as possible.

Which walls will be reopening, and when?

This is a mixed picture, as each of the walls across Scotland will have to assess its own individual circumstance, the forthcoming guidelines and their ability to reopen. We ask that climbers are mindful of this and respect the challenging circumstances walls have, and continue, to face. We advise that you check the individual wall websites when you plan your visit and make sure you understand fully how the wall will be operating when it reopens.

Can indoor climbing clubs get back to activities now?

This will depend very much on individual climbing walls and how they decide to proceed with reopening. The Mountaineering Scotland guidance for clubs also includes information for indoor climbing clubs, so if you are able to use your local walls, please ensure club organisers and members are familiar with the most up to date version of the guidance as well as any guidance produced by the climbing wall.

When will ClimbScotland Indoor events return?

At this time we are focusing on supporting the indoor walls to reopen. However, we will be working closely with the walls to understand their position and when things such as competitionss, academies and coaching workshops can resume.

What events are ClimbScotland currently running?

We have restarted our RealRock program, with dates currently available for young climbers looking to make the transition from indoor to outdoor climbing. We are also looking to run more dates later this year, as well as Ready to Rock for adults making the transition to outdoor climbing, so keep your eyes on our website and social media for more information!

Name of wall Location Forecast opening
Eden Rock Edinburgh Open

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