Rock Climbing Taster Courses -
Snowdonia and North Wales
This rock climbing course is aimed at those who want an introduction to climbing and can be run either as a stand alone adventure or as the first steps in learning how to become a rock climber.
We run this rock climbing course for groups of all sizes; from couples and families to larger parties. We can cater for groups of all sizes, but we will never exceed a climber: instructor ratio of more than 1:6.
We can run this course at many different venues depending on where you are based and the weather - there are great crags close to main of the common bases - Clogwyn Cyrau (Cliff of the Edges) lies just above Betws-y-Coed, Lions Rock, Yellow Wall and Spotty Wall on the outskirts of Llanberis, Conwy Slabs close to the lovely Sychnant Pass above Conwy and the Pinnacles above Capel Curig. There is normally good climbing within 30 minutes of where you are staying.
We can also run the course indoors at the Beacon climbing wall in Llanberis.
This climbing taster course normally lasts between 3.5 hrs and a full day (7-8 hours) and we supply all of the technical safety equipment. The course can run in either the morning or the afternoon and we try to adapt as much as possible to your timelines.
We also have a full range of climbing shoes that can be hired; these have high friction (sticky) rubber soles that make standing on small holds much easier and the climbing much easier. We have climbing shoes for hire in all sizes from children's 11 to adults 13.
We normally start by going to a local crag where we will get kitted out in a climbing harness and a helmet, warm up, stretch and go over some basic climbing movements so that you know how to move up the rock - confident footwork, good balance and positioning your centre of gravity correctly will make the climbs feel much easier.
Once warmed up we look at basic rope work and the equipment that we will be using so that each member of the party knows how to keep the other members safe. Climbing involves a lot of trust and teamwork and this is often one of the unexpected positive experiences that comes from the course.
People often find it inspiring to learn that a climbing harness must be able to hold a weight of 1.5 metric tonnes and the climbing ropes you will be using will hold more than this.
We will then set up the ropes on the first routes and climb some introductory routes chosen to get you moving and used to being above ground on a rope. Once fully warmed up we will move onto more climbs at a similar or more challenging grade depending on how you found the initial routes.
On this course you will be climbing on a top rope i.e. the rope is always above you so that if you do fall off, slip or need a rest then the rope will hold you in place.
Once at the top of the route the rope will lower you back down to the ground - this is often the point when people become most nervous as they commit their weight to the rope, but we will show you how to position your body and feet so that you 'walk' down the cliff in a relaxed and controlled fashion.
We can also look at learning how to abseil with the security of an additional safety rope.
As you become more confident in your ability and in the equipment we will show you the different techniques climbers use to overcome difficult and strenuous sections.
We will always try to pace the session so that you are climbing, abseiling and learning right up to the end of the course.
We can vary amount of technical information in the course according to your requirements - if you want to know more about the rope systems, climbing equipment and safety considerations in more detail then we are happy to help you learn.
Above all this is an exciting, fun filled day to give you a taste of the world of climbing and hopefully it will inspire you on to join your local climbing wall or climbing club and gain more experience ... or you could come back to us for the 2 Day Learn to Climb Rock Course.
Our Learn to Rock Climb courses are more comprehensive and cover:
- Climbing Equipment - We will look at the equipment that rock climbers use, how climbers choose their equipment and how to use the equipment to protect yourself and your climbing partner.
- Route Descriptions, climbing terminology and grading systems
- The Crag Environment - How to stay safe at the crag, rock fall and loose rock, reading the routes and objective dangers.
- The Environment - Our responsibilities as climbers and access issues.
- Rope Work and Belaying Techniques -How a team of climbers use the rope and work together to ensure each others safety.
- Top-roping, seconding and leading
- Movement techniques - We will look at the how climbers use the rock features to climb upwards.
- Protecting a Route - How to use the climbing equipment to form a safety system - We will look at how to use nuts, cams and sling so that you can stay safe.
- Belays - Constructing safe belay stances, equalising anchors and thinking ahead.
- Abseiling - How to descend safely from climbs
We try to cover all of this whilst on the rock so that the instruction is as authentic as possible. You will do plenty of climbing and from the first day you can expect to be climbing routes on either indoor climbing walls or outside on the crag.
All of our courses can be totally customised so please do not hesitate to get in touch if you have specific requirements.
There is general information about our courses on the General Information page and this also has the answers to a lot of common questions. There is also a reasonable amount of information on climbing equipment on the Climbing Advice page.
How to Start Climbing
- Climbing Clubs, Climbing Walls and Rock Climbing Courses
There are many ways to start rock climbing; traditionally the first step into climbing was either by joining a climbing club and going out with members of the club or by learning from experienced friends. This traditional climbing apprenticeship is an ideal way to both learn the practical skills needed whilst also getting lots of climbing done.
There are lots of climbing clubs, both local and national, and they can provide a great opportunity to learn the core climbing skills. Most clubs are supportive of novices as it is this new blood that sustains their membership and they will often arrange trips to various climbing areas for their members. The British Mountaineering Council is the representative body for climbers and publishes a lot of useful information for those starting to climb. This includes this full list of the climbing and mountaineering clubs that are affiliated to it and their contact details.
Indoor climbing walls are another popular method of starting climbing and most offer a variety of instructional sessions to get you started with the basic climbing techniques of belaying and leaving top-roping indoors. Learning in this controlled environment is a great way to covering the core skills whilst also meeting other climbers.
In order to find a local climbing wall then there are two good sources; UK Climbing has a searchable wall directory and the BMC has a list of walls available as a PDF. The British Mountaineering Council also provide a lot of information for people starting out; including some useful features that were originally published in Summit magazine including: Climbing Indoors - Climbing Wall Basics.
There are also lots of good articles in the Safety and Skill / Climbing skills section of the BMC web site.
Once you have mastered the indoor skills then a lot of climbing walls also offer courses to help you gain the extra skills needed to climb outside.
The other main method people use to learn how to climb is to go on an instructional course; this has the advantage that you will be learning with an experienced, qualified instructor who will teach you the best and safest climbing techniques whilst also ensuring your safety.
The Association of Mountaineering Instructors is a good source of information and has a full list of qualified climbing instructors.
If you are looking for a god instructional book on climbing techniques then we can recommend the following: Rock Climbing - An Instructional Guidebook by Pete Hill and Rock Climbing: Essential Skills & Techniques by Libby Peter
There are more climbing articles on the Climbing Tips & Advice page.
Rock Climbing Instructor
The Rock Climbing Company is run by Silvia Fitzpatrick, who is a fully qualified rock climbing instructor who has the Mountain Instructor Award and is a full member of the Association of Mountaineering Instructors and the Mountain Leader Training Association.
Silvia is an extremely enthusiastic climber and respected instructor who worked for several outdoor pursuits centers before turning freelance. Silvia has the skills, experience and knowledge to help climbers of all abilities, whether they are just starting out or whether they want to gain specific rock skills at an advanced level.
Silvia originally trained and qualified as a PE and Modern Languages teacher before becoming engrossed by climbing and becoming a climbing instructor.
Silvia holds a current and full AMI insurance policy and is sponsored by two of the leading climbing manufacturers; DMM and Mammut. Thus clients will be using the latest, state of the art equipment.
Silvia has climbed at a very high level for many years and has an impressive climbing resume; on rock Silvia has climbed up to 8b on sports routes and up to E6 on traditional gear; in the mountains she made a televised ascent of the North Face of the Eiger with Jim Bridwell from USA. She also made the first female ascent of Cerro Fitzroy in Patagonia. In 1989 she was the indoors South American champion and the British Indoor Champion in 1994. More recently, in 2010, she was invited to Buckingham Palace to celebrate the importance of outdoor activities and the recognition to people who had made a significant contribution to the different outdoor sports, including rock climbing.
There is no elitism involved though; Silvia just enjoys nothing better than being in the hills - Silvia used to work with a local charity in Snowdonia providing vocational outdoor activities to clients with learning disabilities.
Silvia runs as many of the Rock Climbing Company courses as possible herself and those she can't run because she is already booked up will be run by one of our regular instructors - all our instructors are fully insured and have the relevant and necessary Mountain Leader Training Board award(s) and equally important: we know them all well and trust them.
Pricing and Booking
Prices. A list of all prices are found below and all prices include VAT
|Type of Course||
3.5 hrs climbing indoors or outdoors
1:1 to 1:3
£150 per group
1:4 to 1:6
£200.00 per group
7 hrs climbing indoors or outdoors
1:1 to 1:3
£180 per group
1:4 to 1:6
£240 per group
Contact us for details - prices are dependent on group numbers and composition, Prices can range from £45 pppd
Equipment provided by us: The Rock Climbing Company will provide all technical equipment for the Climbing Taster course. This includes ropes, climbing hardware plus a helmet and harness for each client.
The climbing on the course can be done with mountain boots, approach shoes or stiff trainers, however climbing is much easier with rock shoes and we can arrange hire rock shoes for you. Rock shoes use a smooth, high friction rubber sole that makes standing on small footholds much easier.
Rock shoes can be hired at £3.00 a pair per course.
What you need to provide: You will need to provide suitable clothing for the time of year - always bearing in mind that we will be in the mountains and a collection of warm clothing and a full set of waterproofs (top and trousers) could prove very useful. Loose, synthetic trousers that allow good movement are more comfortable and best; cotton jeans should be avoided - you can't move freely and once wet you will stay wet and cold.
Hats and gloves are great for providing extra comfort and for regulating temperatures.
The crags we use on the Climbing Taster course are generally within 20 minutes walk of the parking area and you will need suitable, supportive footwear for the approach walk.
You will need a rucksack (30 - 40 litre capacity) with a bit of room free to carry some of the gear plus food and drink for the day. A thermos of hot drink is always a welcome relief if the weather is cool - cinnamon tea with plenty of sweetener is a good warming drink and hot chocolate is always great.
There is a more complete list of equipment and clothing to bring on the Equipment for Courses in North Wales page.
What is not included: Prices do not include, transport, accommodation, meals or personal insurance.
The prices above do not include climbing wall entry fees if we go to a climbing wall
Ratios and course sizes: The Climbing Taster courses are best taught in a ratio of between 1 to 6 clients to 1 instructor. This relatively low ratio allows us to keep the course interesting with everybody active. We can run courses for larger groups - just contact us for details.
Please do not hesitate to contact us for more information.