Starting out can be tricky enough – there's technique and etiquette to learn, fitness gains to be made, weird shoes to get used to. And then you’re hit with a language barrier, probably not something you expect when you haven’t been jet setting off to somewhere exotic.
Climbing does have its own terminology, some of which makes perfect sense, some of which still baffles those of us who have been climbing for more decades than we choose to admit.
Allez will never make much sense outside of France, ‘dry fire’ sounds more impressive than ‘let go’ which is essentially what happened, and if something is bomber, it’s very, very good as opposed to very, very bad like the bomber raids you studied in history at school.
But never fear if language isn’t your forte – we've got you covered. Starting off with the names of our beloved walls. But one side-note here, some of our walls carry industry standard names, some... Do not.
Slabs are walls that have an angle that slopes away. Think like a steep hill or the angle you’d set a ladder at to clean your gutters (well done if you actually do that by the way).
You’ll find a slab at pretty much all indoor walls, and then there are plenty of slab climbs outside too.Our slab is immediately on the left as you walk in. It’s the easiest place to start, and it has a corner to it too which can be fun if you want to try ‘bridging’ which is climbing with one leg on each wall with the two feet pushing away from you and thus forming a ‘bridge’.
Top tips for slabs – keep your hips close to the wall!
The boulder is a multi-faceted top out wall. As you look at it from reception, the left-hand side is also slabby, the right-hand side is slightly overhanging.
The blunt sloped end facing reception is the down climb area.The slab side is simple, climb up and over onto the top, walk along the top and come down the ‘down climb’ which is marked with down arrows.
That’s why it’s known as a ‘top out’ wall.The overhang side is slightly trickier to climb, as the angle slopes towards you. This means a little bit more upper body strength is required, along with some technique. But the end is the same, up and over the top and down the down climb section.
Again, a lot of indoor bouldering centres will have a top out boulder, it just might be a little different in size and shape.
The ProwThis is the far end of the boulder, the bit that looks... Imposing. It’s named after the front of a ship, that arches under the water, and back in the day often sported a carving of a beautiful lady for good luck.
And remember that term overhanging? That’s what the prow does. It requires good technique, some upper body strength and the ability to pull with your core.It’s hard in short, there are not a lot of easy routes here BUT when you finally reach the top and heave yourself over the edge, the feeling of accomplishment is hard to beat.
The Mini Slab
This one should be self-explanatory. It’s a slab so an easy angle to climb at, and it’s small. It’s on the right as you look from reception, and it is another top out wall.
It’s a great place for kids to climb as it isn’t as high, it’s also good for warming up and for anyone who is a bit scared of heights. It’s great terrain to traverse on too (climb across rather than up) - just make sure no one else wants to jump on a route.
The Wine Glass
This one might not feature at other climbing walls. We named it for how it looks rather than what you might treat yourself with after a session.
The wine glass is deceptively tricky. It is slightly overhanging but not enough to look really difficult.
But getting to the top requires a surprising amount of effort. Because it’s another low wall, there are less moves to complete on an individual route but they are often more challenging pound for pound, with moves that move up and across rather than just up which often requires a change in mindset.
The wine glass is a top out wall, and another one where reaching the top is surprisingly satisfying.
There are overhanging walls and then there are really overhanging walls.
The cave is the latter, as tough as it gets, a full ‘roof’ where you climb completely horizontally. That’s if you want to complete the hardest routes though, there are plenty of kinder routes with juggy holds on the edges which require less raw strength.All the cave routes top out again.
Another one that is a ‘Chimera’ name rather than industry standard is the wave. It’s the big wall standing alone on the righthand side of the centre near the pull up bars.
It’s called the wave for the way the sections break piece by piece, and the slight overhang makes it a technical wall that is nowhere near as easy as the slab.There are beginner routes on it, just beware that you need to conserve some strength for climbing down.
The Comp Wall
The huge wall that spans the whole back of the centre is the comp wall. It is split into different sections will all sorts of angles at play.
The routes set here are a completely different style, and by and large, there is not a lot of easy stuff to go at. But it is well worth exploring as you’ll pick up different skills and get to work on a whole range of techniques.
Just beware that this is the only wall where the colour grading isn’t applicable, and any colour can be easy or hard.When we host comps, it is where the majority of the routes are set so it is worth getting familiar with, even if you can’t quite get to the top from word go.
The Training Room
Upstairs is the training room, which features the sport board on the lefthand side as you walk in, and the 40 board at the end.
These are the terrain of those working endurance and power. The sport board is a circuit board and used for those who want to get fit for climbing sport routes outside – generally longer routes on ropes.
The 40 board is a great place to build strength and power, and work on finger gains.
This is not a place for beginners – we generally recommend you climb for at least six months before venturing onto the 40 board.