Bouldering is a form of low level climbing undertaken without the use of a safety rope and typically limited to a height of 4-5m above foam crash matting to help prevent injury from falling. Since it does not require the specialist equipment and instruction associated with roped climbing, bouldering is the easiest way to get involved with indoor climbing.
With the need to incorporate safety ropes and the psychological aspect of climbing high removed due to the limited height of bouldering walls, bouldering provides a much more intense workout that concentrates solely on short sequences of athletic climbing movement. It is a really fun style of climbing that emphasises body dynamics, suppleness, power and strength yet also requires problem solving abilities combined with mental tenacity to reach the top.
Bouldering climbs are referred to as 'problems' and every bouldering problem at Beacon is colour coded to allow easy identification. The aim of bouldering is to climb a colour coded bouldering problem of your choice from bottom to top without falling off, using only the specific colour coded holds designated for use on that particular problem. The bouldering at Beacon caters for all abilities and there are hundreds of different colour coded bouldering problems spanning all levels of difficulty to choose from. Problems are changed regularly throughout the year, ensuring there are always fresh challenges to undertake.
The difficulty of ascending a problem (and hence the intensity of your bouldering workout) is dictated by the difficulty of the problem you wish to climb. Every bouldering problem is graded according to difficulty, allowing participants of all abilities to choose a problem that either falls within their current ability and can thus be climbed quickly and easily, or to choose a particularly difficult problem that may require many attempts before a successful ascent is completed!
Beacon Climbing Centre uses the internationally recognised 'V' grade system to denote the difficulty of bouldering problems. Although open-ended, the 'V' system currently covers a range from V0 to V16. At the easier end of the scale, we also use the designation 'VB' (designating 'basic') for problems easier than V0. Each problem at Beacon has a tag to the starting handholds displaying the approximate V grade for the problem, the route setter and the setting date. The coloured holds for any particular problem are used for both hands and feet - smearing on the blank wall is fine, and arÍtes and volumes are allowed.
Adults (age 18+)
First time participants are required to undertake a Bouldering Induction with a Beacon instructor, or alternatively can use the bouldering walls under the supervision of an existing registered member of Beacon.
Our Bouldering Induction covers the fundamentals of bouldering and clearly explains how to use the bouldering facilities safely and responsibly. If you are being supervised by a registered member of Beacon, then it is their responsibility to ensure that you are using the facilities in a safe and responsible manner.
All under 18s must be supervised by a fully registered member of Beacon. We offer a full range of age dependent climbing sessions and courses for all ages from 3+. Get started with a 1.5 hour Taster Session then progress onto one of our climbing clubs - check out our Climbing for Children section for a full list of options.
No specialist equipment is required other than sticky rubber climbing shoes which allow a much higher level of grip and precision to be achieved than regular training shoes. These are available to hire at reception in all sizes from child 7 to adult 14.
At Beacon, safety is our priority and we are committed to providing safe facilities, equipment and instruction. We ask that you reciprocate by strictly adhering to our safety guidelines. You must sign in upon arrival at the climbing centre.
The crash matting under the bouldering walls is intended to provide a more comfortable landing for climbers falling, and may help to prevent serious injuries. However, broken or sprained limbs and other injuries are possible on this type of climbing wall despite the padded landing. Uncontrolled falls may result in injuries to yourself or others. Any fall may result in an injury despite the safety systems in place.
Where possible it is best to climb down from your high point rather than jump, but a controlled arrival at the floor is the main priority. If you cannot climb down, then you should jump in a controlled manner, ensuring that your fall zone is free from other climbers and obstacles.
For your physical wellbeing, it is essential that you warm up before climbing. Ideally you should spend 5-15 minutes raising your body temperature (running, skipping etc) prior to using the climbing wall. Start with some very easy problems or traverses before trying harder climbs and ensure you take plenty of rest between climbs.
Important Safety Guidelines
Please keep all walkways clear of bags and other item. Pigeon holes are available for storing your personal belongings.
Only climbers that have signed into the centre are authorised to enter the climbing areas.
All climbing areas must be kept clear of hard objects (drinks, chalk buckets with tooth brushes etc).
Food and drink are not allowed within the climbing areas.
Chalk bags should be placed at the foot of the wall to avoid unnecessary spillage. The use of chalk balls is preferable to loose chalk to help create a cleaner climbing environment.
Remain aware at all times. Do NOT walk or climb below other climbers.
- Remove objects that could cause injury if fallen on (harnesses, karabiners, keys in pockets etc).
Beware of spinning or loose holds and report any such holds to reception immediately.
All duty managers and instructors are first aid trained and are available immediately should you or someone else require first aid treatment.