Here are some common climbing wall questions:

What is a competent climber?

A competent climber is someone a climbing wall see as being experienced enough to climb safely at their wall without supervision. When signing in or registering at walls, people will often be asked if they are competent and maybe even tested before being allowed to climb. This is to ensure they don’t hurt themselves or anyone around them.

Climbing walls run courses to help people become competent climbers. Check out your nearest wall to see when their next course is running.

Can I sign people in?

Most climbing walls allow a competent climber to sign in two guests. The competent climber must abide by the terms and conditions of the climbing wall. This includes being responsible for the safety and conduct of guests.

What age do I have to be to sign myself in?

Climbers aged 17 years and under cannot generally sign themselves into climbing walls. However, there are some exceptions. Some climbing walls allow climbers aged 14 – 16 years and older, to climb without the supervision of an adult or an instructor. This is usually if:

  • The parents have signed parental consent forms
  • The staff/instructors know the climber
  • The climber has been assessed by an instructor at the wall
  • The climber has completed NICAS levels

This is at the discretion of the climbing wall and is not the case at all facilities.

What is the minimum age for climbing walls?

This can vary from wall to wall based on their policies and there being suitable equipment, such as harnesses, to allow safe participation. We advise that you check in advance before visiting a climbing wall.

Are indoor climbing walls safe?

Climbing walls in the UK are subject to numerous safety standards and inspections. They must also have staff trained for that particular wall or, more often, staff who have been trained through the Mountain Training Association.

The most common awards for people working in a climbing wall to hold are:

  • Climbing Wall Instructor Award
  • Rock Climbing Instructor Award
  • Climbing Wall Development Instructor Award

What should I do if I haven’t been climbing in a while?

It is common that people who haven’t climbed for a long time to be a bit rusty, especially in skills they may have learned several years ago. If you are returning to climbing and aren’t feeling 100% sure about your skills then we advise that you speak to a climbing instructor at your local wall.

Don’t hesitate to ask for help or guidance. Walls will be happy to have a quick look and assess your ability.