Get Inspired: How to get into Climbing

Climbing is literally on the up - it's increasing in popularity and, with hundreds of climbing walls around the country, you don't need to live in a mountainous area to get involved.

There's a huge variety of activities you can do within the realms of climbing, be it indoors, outdoors, roped or non-roped (bouldering). Generally, there's something for everyone.

Climbing is not currently an Olympic sport, but its three competitive disciplines: speed climbing, bouldering and lead climbing tick all the boxes of the Olympic motto: "Faster, Higher, Stronger".

Why is it good for you?

Climbing is a full-body workout: great for improving muscle-tone as well as sharpening your brain.

British Bouldering Championships 2011

It uses lots of muscle groups, both in the upper and lower body. Your fingers, arms, back and shoulders as well as abdominal muscles and leg muscles in particular all get exercised. Regular climbing can improve stamina and endurance as well as muscle strength. In addition, all the reaching and stretching for holds improves flexibility and agility.

Climbing requires a lot of mental concentration and focus, problem solving and mental strength. Many people enjoy it as it allows you to escape everyday worries and just focus on the climb. Climbing also helps improve self-esteem, mental agility and self-awareness, so it's good for general well-being.

Climbing is a very sociable activity and you build trust between you and your climbing partners. It also can give a great sense of achievement

Get involved

There are many ways to get started  . Here are a few:

Did you know?

• British paraclimber Fran Brown is currently World Paraclimbing Champion

• Climbing was on the shortlist of eight sports under consideration for inclusion in the programme for the 2020 Olympics

• Ice climbing was a demonstration sport at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi

1. Go to an indoor climbing wall. There are over 400 climbing walls around the UK. Many walls run introductory climbing sessions and have equipment available to hire. Find an indoor climbing wall near you using the climbing wall directory on the British Mountaineering Council website  . For further information and videos see the beginners' guide to climbing walls. 

2. Join a climbing club. There are around 300 climbing, hill walking and mountaineering clubs in England and Wales affiliated to the BMC. Find a club near you in England and Wales on the British Mountaineering Council website  . For Scottish clubs see the Mountaineering Council of Scotland  and for clubs in Ireland see Mountaineering Ireland  .

3. Go on a course. By concentrating on the essential skills, a professionally run course can fast track your progression.

Useful resources:

• BMC's Young People  , a parent's guide to climbing.

• Lots of information on skills and best practice can be found on the British Mountaineering Council website.


Rock climbing in Britain is generally thought to have started in the 1800s, however climbing on artificial structures is a relatively new phenomenon.

There have been connections between climbing and the Olympics for many years. Olympic gold medals from the 1924 Winter Olympics were awarded to members of the 1922 Everest expedition. First ascensionists of the Eiger North Face also received Olympic medals in 1938.

In 1989, the BMC ran the first ever World Cup event in Leeds which was won by our own Jerry Moffatt. Fellow Briton Simon Nadin went on to win the World Cup Series in 1989. British climbers have continued to compete worldwide with notable success.

Are you inspired to try Climbing? Or maybe you are an enthusiast already? Get in touch and tell us your experience of the activity by tweeting us on @bbcgetinspired  or email us on

See our full list of activity guides for more inspiration.