Countdown to the “New Normal”

ready2climb: a stock image of a sand timer

ready2climb will open to the public on Saturday 25th July after 133 days of enforced closure. This post explains how we will be operating to ensure that you and our staff are kept safe during the difficult months ahead.

Not every activity that ready2climb offers is affected in the same way, so it is important for you to understand how the activities that you and your children enjoy are going to operate – on an activity by activity basis…

You can follow the links on the right to take you straight to the particular topic, but before you do, please read these first few paragraphs.

The Headlines

Extended opening hours

As it’s the summer holidays, we would normally be open for longer than we are during term time – with a reduction in capacity and a new activity to play on, we need to open for longer just so that everyone who wishes to climb or boulder can do so. Full details can be found here.

Every activity will require pre-booking online.

We cannot accept “drop-in” customers. There are a number of reasons for this decision. Firstly, we need to know the details of who we are expecting in case of a local outbreak. Secondly, we need to minimise the interaction between staff and customer so reception flow has to be managed and thirdly, our capacity is going to be significantly reduced to enable us to quarantine and/or disinfect equipment.

One way system

We have a one way system in place in the building and this will include segregation of waiting areas and toilets. All customers will be required to leave via the Fire Exit at the rear of the building.

We have completely re-configured the front part of the building to enable customers to be socially distant while they wait for their climbing activity to start.


Normally, we welcome family members to spectate and we enjoy the interaction with your family members. Unfortunately, we need those people to stay away wherever possible. We have to manage the number of people in the building and we have to manage where those people go – HM Government is even suggesting that parents wait outside the premises while their child completes their activities. We don’t believe that this is a necessary step for us to make.


Update: On Friday 24th July, it became compulsory to wear a face covering indoors in shops. You are not required to wear a face covering at ready2climb.

However, if you feel comfortable wearing a face covering, you are welcome to wear one.

Social Distancing

The reception area has been completely re-organised to enable family units to sit together while they wait for the session to start. Please ensure that your children stay sat with you, rather than running around.

If you choose to sit downstairs to spectate, please ensure that you leave a suitable gap between you and other spectators

The Fun Climbing is our most popular activity and we will be doing everything possible to ensure the smooth running of this crucial business activity. There are some changes.

4 year olds

We have always limited the number of 4 year olds in a fun climbing session. For the foreseeable future, we will only be permitting one 4 year old in a session.

If your 4 year old has climbed at ready2climb before, simply purchase the specific 4 year ticket.

If your 4 year old has not climbed at ready2climb before, then there are a few extra requirements for you:

  • Proof of age brought on their first visit – passport, NHS red book or school acceptance e-mail are ideal. No ID, no climbing.
  • A non-climbing parent must accompany the 4 year old in the fun climbing zone

Reduced session sizes

To ensure social distancing is maintained, our sessions will be reduced in size. For the first few weeks, the sessions will be limited to 10 climbers.

To enable us to thoroughly clean the area after your climb, session times will be reduced to approximately 45 minutes.

Parents fitting & removing harnesses

This is probably the greatest impact that parents will notice. We need to minimise the risk of your child(ren) coughing or sneezing over our staff. We know that they do, we’ve been coughed on and sneezed at for 7 years but our normal procedures will not protect our staff from COVID-19. As parents, you know where they’ve been. We will teach you how to fit the harness safely, but it will take extra time, so please arrive in good time. The session will start without your child if you arrive late and are then struggling to fit the harness.

If your child needs the loo half way through the session, you will need to remove the harness (usually quite quickly!) and then refit after the loo stop.

Queue management

There are certain climbs (such as The Steps) which are universally popular and a queue can form. We will prevent the queue from forming and will ensure that a climber only has a single go on popular climbs.

Our climbs are generally 1.5m apart, so we will ensure that a gap exists between all climbers from different households.

Hand Gel

After clipping, every climber will be given a squirt of hand gel and the climber must stay on the ground until the hand gel has dried. Once the gel has dried, then the climb can be completed. Prior to unclipping, hand gel will be provided again.

This relentless and persistent approach to hand cleanliness will help ensure that the climbing surfaces themselves remain an unlikely source of infection transmission. It is impossible to adequately sanitise climbing surfaces between climbers, so instead, we need to ensure that hands are kept clean.

If you or your child are intolerant to alcohol based hand gel, it is important that you bring an appropriate means of cleaning hands between climbs.

Staff PPE

Our staff are used to the concept of PPE – they wear a harness all day long. Fun Climbing staff will be wearing a minimum of a faceshield and may even be wearing a mask. For certain of their duties, they will be wearing gloves.

We know that small children may be ‘spooked’ by an OTT response, so we will do what we need to do, nothing more, nothing less.

We want people of all ages and abilities to enjoy the sport of bouldering as much as they enjoy the Fun Climbing. Our Bouldering, whilst a brand new activity, has been in the planning stage for many months and we have every confidence that our approach will lead to a widespread knowledge and appreciation of this Olympic sport.

Sessions will be run in small groups under the guidance of a qualified member of staff. Sessions will start with a short briefing, a warm up and then some simple bouldering exercises (including learning how to fall off!). And then you’re off!

Outdoor shoes are not allowed in the Bouldering area, so anyone climbing needs to wear indoor specific shoes – a cheap pair of plimsolls is fine, or you can rent a pair of climbing shoes.

Staff will provide a squirt of handgel prior to the start of a problem and another after the problem has been completed

For a variety of COVID-19 related reasons, we are not able to offer these activities for the foreseeable future. We hate to see them languishing in the corner gathering dust, so we hope to get them up and running again soon.

Due to the close interaction required when teaching climbing, we are not able to run climbing lessons. We can run skills based tutorial sessions such as our “Learn to Lead” and “Learn to Trad” but beginners will have to wait a while.

We hope to be able to run adult lessons and Bouldering Inductions by the end of August and we are hoping to run our competent teenager club in September – but to be honest, we don’t really know.

Welcome back – have a challenge!

We look forward to welcoming our competent climbers back as soon as possible. We’re in the process of a major strip and reset, including some brand new styles of holds.

Our lead wall has been completely stripped and reset. The top rope walls will be kept ‘as is’ for a few weeks until climbers re-familiarise themselves with the joys of pinches, crimps and slopers.

Reduced Capacity

To ensure social distancing and the reduction in airborne particles, we will be operating at a reduced capacity. To help us manage this capacity restriction, we need all climbers to book their climbing slot online. This will feel alien, we know. We feel that this is a better solution compared to the “Sorry, we’re full. Please wait outside (in the rain…)” approach that we know some centres are planning to run.

Climbing slots will be 3 hours in duration and can include bouldering, subject to space availability.

Socially Distanced climbing

Some centres are managing social distancing by stripping every other rope line. We don’t feel that we have to do this – in fact, we disagree with the philosophy. Instead, our floorwalkers will actively manage the rope use and ensure that climbers climb on every other rope, but we will keep routes on every rope. Hand gel and rope disinfecting materials will be plentiful.

New registration & membership

We’ve been very relaxed over the years about individuals renewing their membership – if you kept on coming climbing, then we needed to do very little to manage your account. We now need to do more and therefore, we will need every climber who registered with us more than a year ago to re-complete a registration form and pay a membership fee of £10.

The membership fee can be purchased online alongside your climbing ticket

We are not accepting competent ‘guests’ at this time

Bouldering is our newest activity and we look forward to welcoming a new group of customers who enjoy this very demanding sport.

Due to COVID-19 restrictions, the capacity of the bouldering zone is dramatically reduced and all competent boulderers must book online

Careful Timing

As it’s the summer holidays, we will be running supervised bouldering sessions during the day. Most of the people bouldering in these sessions will be families and youngsters. If you want to boulder quietly and peacefully, then avoid these sessions. 2 hour slots are available in the evenings on Monday, Tuesday and Thursday as well as Saturday and Sunday afternoons.

Our opening hours are here

Registration & Membership

Prior to bouldering independently, all competent boulderers over the age of 15 must register and pay an annual membership of £10. At the moment, we are not accepting competent ‘guest’ boulderers.

ready2climb: a bouldering area with mats fitted

You can keep track of the progress of our new bouldering zone here

Appropriate clothing & language

ready2climb is, first and foremost, a family climbing centre. We expect a level of decorum from our customers – so wear a top and make sure that your beta language is appropriate for small (and eagerly listening) ears. We run evening sessions specifically for adults where the banter and language is often more fruity!

We continue to offer a range of outdoor climbing activities for a range of abilities. We climb at a number of venues some of which are suitable for beginners while others are more suitable for those looking for a challenge…

Each November, we try to run a climbing trip abroad – in all likelihood, we will not be able to organise a trip this year 🙁

All of our outdoor activities can be booked online

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2 Responses

  1. sue

    Hi, I cant find where your wall is after having a navigate thro the website, also price for recreational lead climbing?


    • hensonia

      Hi Sue,
      I will e-mail you the details in case you don’t pick up this comment. Our location is mapped out on our Contacts page at

      For recreational lead climbing, we currently need you to register as a member (to meet Track & Trace requirements) which is £10 per year. This gives you discounted climbing at £8 which at the moment are in 3 hour sessions

      Ian H

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