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It wasn’t so long ago most people thought of climbing and climbers as ‘gnarly old men with ropes, harnesses and iced up beards scaling alpine rock and Himalayan peaks… times have changed!

The term ‘Climbing’ now represents a whole multitude of disciplines and, over the last 20 years, there has been a huge shift to recreational climbing on artificial climbing structures – mostly indoors. In fact, the number of people regularly climbing on artificial walls, vastly outnumber those climbing outside. With Competition Climbing set to feature at the Paris 2024 Olympics, this increase is likely to continue.

But, to answer the original question, climbing is gaining height using mostly your hands and feet – and the occasional knee…


Pretty much anyone can have a go climbing. At entry level, it can cater for all ages and abilities, including people with mental or physical disabilities.  If you think you’re not strong enough? Think again! Whilst strength can be an advantage, it’s actually more important to develop good technique and balance. The more efficient you can be through your movement, the less you rely on your strength. 

Hint: Those who invest in coaching tend to progress quicker than those who rely on strength alone. Once you’ve completed an intro course and are climbing independently, we’d strongly recommend a coaching session or two. To explore our coaching course, click here.


Climbing is an activity you can enjoy on your own or with friends. You can make it competitive or keep the challenge purely between you and the wall. One of the great things about indoor climbing is the way the climbs are arranged on the walls. The walls are covered in coloured climbing holds with each line of colours representing a certain level of difficulty. This means people who climb at different levels can climb together in the same area, making it great fun and social too. And, because good climbing centres change (reset) their climbing holds regularly, there are always new challenges to take on!


Climbing is a full-body workout, engaging your large muscle groups, core muscles and, of course, your fingers, arms and shoulders. Climbing regularly can strengthen your back and help prevent back pain* as well as increasing overall strength, stamina and improving body tone.

It’s also a mental workout, involving concentration, problem-solving and plenty of determination. The hardest part of a climb can sometimes be, just figuring out the right ‘sequence of moves’ and how to stitch it all together.

*If you suffer from any pre-existing injury or medical condition, we’d recommend checking with your doctor before getting started.


Traditionally seen as an outdoor activity, the emergence of indoor climbing and more recently, competition climbing, has seen young children starting out around age four or five, with parents, Grandparents (or even Great-Grandparents) on belay duty! 

Climbing is now considered a rare ‘lifetime participation sport’. It is one of only a handful of UK sports seeing continual growth in participation numbers and, because it can be enjoyed indoors and outdoors, there are a multitude of varying disciplines which you can explore.