Bouldering is unroped climbing, climbing freely in areas where specially designed landing mats are laid to soften the impact should you fall. If you’re over 18, you can join the Centre, watch the Bouldering Safety video, and start bouldering straight away!

Roped Climbing

All roped climbing requires you to wear a harness, to which a rope is attached. For your own safety, you must be competent at putting on a climbing harness correctly, fixing a rope to that harness, and holding the rope of another climber. Over 18s can affirm they are competent on joining- we will assess you to make sure you know what you’re doing, for your own sake. If you are not yet competent in these tasks, we offer a variety of course to get you there (see the How Do I Start page on the Climbing section of this website to choose the most appropriate course to suit you).

There are three sorts of roped climbing- top-roping, auto-belay, and lead climbing.

Top Roping

Top-roping is where you climb up following a rope which is threaded through a pulley at the top of the climb, and your partner takes in your rope as you go up. This is called belaying. When you reach the top (or when you’ve had enough!) your partner gently lowers you back down.


An auto-belay does what your partner does mechanically. You fix your harness to the auto-belay, then set off, and the auto-belay takes in the rope as you go. When you reach the top (or when you’ve had enough!) you simply let go, and the auto-belay gently and slowly lowers you to the ground.

Lead Climbing

Lead Climbing is when you have no rope above you. You take the rope up yourself, clipping it in to special links called karabiners, so that if you were to fall, you would only fall down to where your last clip was placed. Your partner has the important responsibility of paying the rope out gently as you climb up, so as to not pull you off, but at the same time being ready to hold you using a special device called a belay brake which stops the rope from slipping away.