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Climbing indoors and out

Photo by Gemma Thorpe.

Climbing is a simple sport: it’s about moving upwards using your hands and feet. Just like many other sports, though, it has its sub-disciplines. As cycling can mean anything from road cycling to doing tricks on a BMX, climbing can describe scaling small pieces of rock or plastic just as much as it could mean ascending Everest.

Sheffield is the centre of the UK's climbing scene. People travel from all over the world to climb on the famous gritstone edges on the city's border with the Peak District. Our indoor facilities are also the best in the country.

Climbing generally falls into two types: bouldering and roped climbing. Bouldering is climbing without ropes, focussed on smaller structures. Roped climbing involves climbing taller structures with a rope for safety.

Indoor climbing
If you're new to climbing, a visit to one of Sheffield's excellent indoor climbing centres is a great way to start.

Each centre runs courses to get you learning the basics, and can cater to everyone from young children to older people. All the walls allow you to pay per visit, saving you from signing up to long contracts if climbing isn’t for you.

From indoors to outdoors
Progressing from indoor to outdoor climbing can be great fun. And if you don't have friends already experienced in climbing outside to go with, there are plenty of other options.

Many companies and independent climbing instructors offer taster days and courses for climbing outside – check that they have the relevant Mountain Leader Training England (MLTE) qualification such as a Single Pitch Award (SPA).

When you start outdoors, don't worry if the grade you climb drops – it’s best to start off easy and build your experience. Remember: there are no brightly coloured holds to pull on like inside, and you also have the weather to take into account. It will take a little while to master the slightly different style and technique of climbing outside, but you have the beauty of the Peak District to keep you smiling.

Just like any other time you’d visit a national park or public area, the best etiquette is to leave no trace behind. Take rubbish with you and brush off any excess chalk or tick marks. We are blessed with wonderful natural resources in and around Sheffield, and we should look after them.

Written by Brian McAlinden


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