How fit / strong do I need to be?
You don’t need to be fit or super strong to start climbing. You’ll find problems (what we call individual climbs) you can do on your first visit, and the more you practice the stronger you’ll become! Just make sure you warm up before you start to minimise the risk of injury, and you can get cracking right away (our staff can help if you need guidance – just ask).
Do I need to book in advance?
Unless you are booking onto one of our coached classes (such as kids clubs or improvers), there is no need to pre-book for your session.
We always recommend that new climbers book a taster session as their first session. These run throughout the week and include half an hour of instructor-lead training followed by as much climbing as you like. If you can rustle up more than three or you, arrange a Taster at a time to suit you. Take a look at the classes section for more information, or drop us an email.
What equipment do I need?
You don’t need to bring anything with you except your enthusiasm and some comfortable clothes. Shoes and chalk are available to hire at The Climbing Hangar (included in Taster and 1-2-3 card entry), and if you want to buy your own kit then our on-site shop has everything you need, including a shoe fitting service.
What should I wear?
General sports gear is fine. The important thing is to be comfortable, and wear something that allows for a lot of movement. It can also be chilly at The Hangar, although you’ll warm up fast once you’re climbing, so layers are good. You can always remove your sweater once you get sweaty!
I want to come with a mate but they’re much better than me and I’m just starting out. Can we climb together?
We mix the problems on the wall, so beginner’s climbs will be next to more challenging climbs. This means people of all abilities can climb together throughout the centre.
Do I need any training?
When you come for your first climb, you’ll watch our induction video which will help you understand how to use the centre safely. If you want further guidance, you can book a Taster session which gives you some coaching with a member of staff. A lot of people learn to climb simply by watching others, or joining more experienced friends, and we run a beginners course if you’d like to really get to grips with the basics under the watchful eye of an instructor.
I don't like heights - how high is the wall?
Bouldering isn’t about climbing high. The wall is only 4.2m at its highest point. And remember, while your hands might be at the top, your feet are unlikely to ever be more than 3m off the ground. The Climbing Hangar has crash mats throughout and we can teach you to land safely to minimise the risk of injury. As you gain in confidence you will stop noticing the heights.
What do the colours mean?
Each problem is set in one colour and each colour represents a particular difficulty level or grade. There is a board next to reception which explains which colours relate to which grade so you can easily identify problems for your skill level.
How safe is bouldering?
Bouldering is a risky sport. But as long as you are aware of the particular type of risks associated with bouldering and how to avoid unnecessary dangers, it’s actually no more dangerous than normal kids’ play activities or adult sports. The induction video will tell you what to be aware of and how to stay safe, and our waiver document outlines your responsibilities as a Climbing Hangar customer. We’re fully insured and our team is qualified in coaching (and first aid should you need it).
What kind of people go bouldering?
All sorts of people and all ages go bouldering. There’s really no particular ‘type’ although in general boulderers are a friendly and helpful bunch who like nothing more than to see people overcoming their fears and succeeding on the wall. Whether you’re just starting out or climbing in the top grades, everyone has a move that scares them or a challenge that they can’t quite master, and everyone is cheering each other on. We love to meet new people and introduce them to this fantastic sport. You will be warmly welcomed at The Climbing Hangar.
Why do I need to pre-register?
We do everything we can to make climbing fun, but it is still a dangerous activity. Registering is our way of making sure that you've had the basic safety messages. It includes a short video that explains what bouldering is and tips on how to stay safe on the wall. You'll then answer a couple of questions to make sure you've got the main points and be asked to complete a waiver document stating that you understand what you're getting yourself in to!
It takes a few minutes and it's often easier to do it at home so when you arrive for your first climb you're all set to go.
We want to bring a group of kids down - how many adults need to be with the group?
You must have one adult with you for every two children, and this includes children who aren't climbing. So for four children you would need two adults.
Children under four can climb here but supervision must be one-to-one and you must be within arm's reach of your child at all times. So if you're bringing two children, one of whom is under four, you'll need two adults supervising.
You will be turned away if there aren't enough adults to supervise the kids as our insurance wouldn't cover you. Take a look at our guidance on supervising children at the Climbing Hangar.
The only exception to this is where you have done our instructor training in order to bring down a school or youth group.
Do you run children's parties at The Climbing Hangar?
No, we don't run children's parties. If you'd like to bring a group of children to The Hangar under your supervision you're very welcome - please get in touch with us before hand and we'll talk to you about what's possible.
I'm 16 and I'd like to come and climb without an adult. Is this possible?
14-17 years olds can climb at the Hangar unsupervised, but you must be accompanied by an adult on your first visit in order for the waiver to be signed off. This still applies if you complete the registration at home before your visit. Unfortunately if you don't have a parent or guardian with you on your first climb, we won't be able to let you on to the wall due to our insurance.
What's your cancellation policy for classes?
For all pay as you go clubs and classes, we're happy to refund the cost of the session providing you cancel at least 24 hours in advance. No refund is available if you cancel less than 24 hours in advance.
We'd like to hold our own self-supervised kids' party at the Hangar: Do we need to book?
There's no need to formally book if you're bringing a group of kids down, but there are a few things that make it easier for us to ensure you have a good time!
- Give us a call first, preferably 24 hours beforehand so we can ensure we have enough staff on. If you can let us know roughly when you'll arrive we'll make sure there's someone on hand to do a quick safety briefing with everyone
- Check you have one adult for every two children you're bringing
- Pre-register at home to save time when you arrive. You can register for yourself as a supervising adult and your junior climbers
- We don't allow anyone to bring their own food or hot drinks to The Climbing Hangar. Our cafe serves a range of drinks and snacks. If you have particular dietary requirements just have a chat with us beforehand - we're very
- In really busy periods (and especially during school holidays) we sometimes have to limit climbing times in the Little Hangar and we might reserve seating areas for customers who have purchased food in the cafe.