Climbing is a great activity suitable for all ages. Its accessibility, and the fact that kids and adults can climb together make it an ideal family activity.
But climbing also comes with falling objects (yourself and others). Keeping safe is the key to keeping climbing fun.
At the Climbing Hangar the mats make it feel safe, but climbing requires you to take personal responsibility for your safety in ways you, and especially your kids, might not have had to consider before.
If you’re visiting as a family or mixed-age group for the first time, we would ask to book a 30 min Family Taster session. They’re £20 per adult and £5 per child, which includes shoe and chalk hire, safety training and some climbing basics (you can carry on climbing for as long as you want afterwards).
In the meantime, here's our quick guide to getting the most out of the Climbing Hangar.
- If you’re supervising your kids, we cannot let in groups with more than two children per adult. This includes children who aren’t climbing (and babes in arms). This is a condition of our insurance and we will have to turn you away if you don’t meet the ratio.
- Take a few minutes to watch the induction video and complete the registration form before you arrive. It’s easier to concentrate at home than it is at the busy centre (and it will save you wall-time!).
- Children from 14-17 can climb unsupervised if a parent or guardian has signed a waiver and we have assessed them as competent.
- There are a few basic safety guidelines:
- If kids aren't climbing, they should come off the mats (and all children under 4 must be kept off the mats). Adults can obviously be on the mats to keep an eye on the little ones.
- Never start climbing while someone is on the wall above you
- No running – the mats are soft but that also makes them an unstable surface
- When you’re on the mats, stay close to the middle, away from the walls
- Under 14's are not allowed to climb after 6pm
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.
If you fancy joining a Taster session on your first visit you can book one of our daily slots or, 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.