ABOUT CLIMBING

"IN LIFE WE ARE ALL CLIMBERS"

For some, it’s a recreational activity, enjoyed every now again with family and friends. For most, it’s a fun and rewarding way to keep mentally and physically fit. And, for a relative few, it’s a way of life; the main focus driving them to improve their performance, or push the boundaries of adventure, exploration, or competition.

 

One thing's for sure, it’s a rare ‘lifetime participation sport’; a challenging and rewarding activity you can enjoy from a very young age right through to your 80’s and beyond.

CLIMBING. WE GET IT.

CLIMBING FOR FUN

Climbing centres attract people from all walks of life. They're friendly, social environments where race, gender, colour, and age don't matter; everyones climbing side by side.

This 'inclusiveness' is one of climbing's biggest attractions, along with the challenge, the achievement, and the coffee and cakes...

CLIMBING FOR FITNESS

Climbing is a full-body workout, think of it as bodyweight training, engaging your large muscle groups, core muscles and promoting strength, stamina and improving body tone

There’s also the mental work out, involving concentration, problem-solving and plenty of determination. It’s totally absorbing and, once you pull-on’, you’ll find it a calming and focusing experience.

CLIMBING FOR LIFE

Indoor climbing can be a stand alone recreational activity or a gateway to adventure and travel.

It can take you from an urban warehouse to French limestone cliffs, remote granite boulders to snowcapped alpine peaks.

It's escapism, it's a lifestyle.

Welcome to the rabbit hole.

CLIMB YOUR LIFE

BEFORE YOU START

Below is a list of questions we’d recommend everyone reads before coming to Highball. It’s easy to forget we once knew nothing about climbing so, we’re always listening to what new customers say and ask, and regularly review the questions
to keep them current and relevant.

 

ABOUT CLIMBING : Frequently Asked Questions

Climbing activities can be dangerous; they are enjoyed at height and therefore always carry a risk of a fall - which can cause serious injuries. If you choose to climb, you must accept these risks and, if you wish to climb independently, learn how to keep yourself safe and understand how to manage the risks - they can never be completely removed.

 

You must exercise self-preservation at all times.

The primary risk of swimming is drowning. The primary risk of climbing is falling (and hitting the floor). Both can result in injury or death. Both sports have evolved differently in terms of how they manage the risks.

When you go to a swimming pool, no one checks whether you can swim or not and no one asks you to sign a ‘waiver’; this is because trained lifeguards are on duty, supervising everyone and keeping them safe. Climbing Centres are not supervised environments* and therefore, only people with a minimum level of knowledge and experience (competence) can climb independently, without supervision.”

 

*Although most climbing centres offer supervised activities and courses with trained instructors.

In its very basic form, climbing is the action of gaining height using hands and feet. When it comes to recreational climbing, the term ‘climbing’ covers a whole genre of activities and is generally assumed to mean using a rope and harness for safety, but not always. For example, bouldering is a form of climbing free from a rope or harness so, if you fall you hit the ground. But, it’s still climbing.

 

Here’s an example of how ‘climbing’ is used as the generic term for all forms of climbing activities:

 

Mike: Hey guys, what did you do at the weekend?

Tim: I went climbing

Tina: So did I.

Mike: Where did you go?

Tim: I just went bouldering down the gym

Tina: I went Ice Climbing in Norway.

Mike: Cool! I went to Wales and climbed Snowdon.

 

Note: Mike actually went hillwalking…

If you are an adult with previous experience and a good level of knowledge of how to keep yourself safe when climbing, you can turn up, register and climb without supervision.

If you have limited or no experience or, are aged under 18, you will need to be supervised by an instructor or, a ‘competent’ adult.

To keep things simple, for the rest of this article we’ll refer to the first group of people as ‘competent’, and the second group as beginners (regardless of age). The term ‘climber’ or ‘climbing’ refers to all climbing activities.

If you are a competent climber you can just turn up, register, and climb. If you are a beginner and don’t know someone who can supervise you, you will need to book a supervised activity or course.

If you are climbing independently without supervision, most climbing centres, like ours, operate with a ‘day pass’. This means you pay once and can stay for as long as you like.

If you book on a course or supervised activity, these will have a defined start and end, normally 1 - 2hrs depending on the session.

Competence isn’t related to your climbing ability. Competence is about understanding how to use the equipment correctly, understanding the risks and how to manage them, and being able to demonstrate safe practice.

If you are asking this question, you’re probably not, but here are a few things to consider - the more yes’s, the better:

 

Is climbing something you do regularly, is it your hobby, and do refer to yourself as a climber?

Are you registered as a competent climber or boulderer with at least one other indoor climbing centre?

Are you an active climber and do climb regularly, at least once or twice a month?

Have you previously attended a structured course delivered by a trained professional?

Do you have your own equipment, for example*:

Bouldering: Do you own your own climbing shoes and chalk bag/brush?

Climbing: Do you own your own climbing harness, belay device and know how to use them correctly.

 

*Just going out buying new equipment doesn’t make you competent but, if you’ve bought some and are using it regularly, it’s a sign you are ‘into it’.

Only competent adult climbers can supervise beginners. This could be a trained highball instructor on a pre-booked session or, by a friend/family member who has completed registration.  All instructors are trained and can, therefore, manage small groups of people. Independent climbers can only supervise up to 2 guests. 

 

Read more on supervising guests here.

See above. If you are aged 18+ and are a competent climber, you can supervise guests, including your children. We have specific ratios and more information on supervising guests here.

If you book a pre-booked session or course, all equipment is provided. We also have equipment available to hire if you don’t have your own.