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Beginners Guide to Climbing
Beginners Guide to Climbing
Beginners Guide to Climbing

Beginners guide to climbing

This guide is a simple overview of the types of climbing, from ice to sport to trad and the climbing gear, from climbing to karabiners, belays and cams to help you with the basics. There are many types of climbing including: Traditional, Sport, Ice, Mountain, Bouldering, Soloing, and Top Roping.

Types of climbing

Indoor climbing

Safe, supervised, warm and dry. Develop a head for heights and learn the ropes on challenging and entertaining routes. If heights and knots aren’t your thing try launching yourself up the Bouldering wall before flopping a few feet onto crash mats.

Join thousands of other budding beginners who are socialising, having fun and getting a workout. All that’s required is some basic equipment that can be purchased or hired from your local climbing centre.


So you’re not keen on heights? There is even a type of climbing for you. Bouldering, the most fun and social form of climbing, tests your technique and strength to the limit.

The only consequences of failure are a benign tumble onto crash mats and the laughter of your friends. Needing little more than a pair of rock shoes when indoors, and only a portable crash mat in addition if you’re heading outside, bouldering is the most accessible type of climbing. 

Sport climbing

Technical, athletic and absorbing. Sport climbing follows lines of secure steel anchor points meaning a rest and safe haven are rarely more than a few feet away.

This extra security allows you to tackle steeper, more demanding faces while rapidly developing your stamina and technique. With little more knowhow and equipment required than for indoor climbing, sport climbing is often the natural progression.      

Traditional climbing

One of the oldest and purest forms of climbing. The ultimate mental and physical challenge. When ‘trad’ climbing not only must you make upward progress but also hang around to arrange hand placed anchors to safeguard yourself. Use all you’re your wits, technique and determination to do what few others can.

How to try it


Indoor Climbing (routes) - After attending a couple of short introductory courses you and a friend are free to start having fun and getting fit
by yourselves.   

Bouldering – With no safety equipment or rope-work required anyone can turn up and have a go at their local indoor wall. Alternatively, if you already have your own boots and chalk bag, all you need is a bouldering mat and guide book to start exploring the world of outdoor bouldering.         

Indoors climbing walls & climbing clubs

Meet like minded people and learn about climbing with experienced guidance. For a comprehensive listing of UK climbing walls and clubs try one of the following websites;

Guiding and Instruction

Enjoy climbing in the great outdoors with the peace of mind that can only be provided by a professional and experienced instructor.

Related guide: Choosing a climbing harness