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First Time on Rock

Indoor climbers wanting to try climbing on rock

Climbing is a brilliant way to get exercise, develop good balance, movement, problem solve, and switch off from normal life for a few hours or a day. We run indoor courses for absolute beginners throughout the year. But for most climbers, the ultimate aim is to climb outdoors.

Climbing on rock is a whole new experience. The grades are different, there are no nice coloured blobs to tell you where to put your hands and feet, and there is a whole new array of gear you need to be able to use.

First Time on Rock is a two day course that will introduce you to climbing on actual rock. and provide you with the background knowledge you'll need to begin seconding or taking your indoor top roping outside.

If you would like to discuss a climbing day for friends/family/clubs or societies, please see the Adventures for You page or just get in touch to discuss options and prices

First Time on Rock

Where they are run:

We can run these courses across Yorkshire and the Peak District. Typically we tend to head to Brimham Rocks (near Harrogate in North Yorkshire), the Wainstones or Scugdale (Western North York Moors near Stokesley or Thirsk respectively), or Stanage in the Peak District (near Hathersage).

These venues typically have a relatively short walk in (apart from the Wainstones - but that's not necessarily a bad thing). We tend to meet at the venue and get started pretty much straight away. We may have a zoom call before the course to just run through gear, meet each other, and get an idea of everyone's aspirations.

There are no loos at any of the venues apart from Brimham Rocks which is a National Trust property (with significant parking fees which aren't included in the course fees). Parking fees are creeping up everywhere so please always ensure you have some change in case parking meters have popped up since our last visit.

What the Course Involves:

This is aimed at those who have climbed indoors (top rope or lead climbing) but have never climbed outdoors before. We will introduce you to the fundamentals of "trad" climbing on single-pitch rock crags.

Trad climbing means traditional climbing. There is an interesting history around the sport and for those interested - I'd recommend watching Valley Uprising which covers the history of rock climbing in Yosemite.

Single pitch basically means one length of rope between the top and bottom. So single pitch crags are generally no more than 40-50m high. This differs from multipitch climbing in the mountains where your route may be hundreds of metres high requiring more advanced techniques and skills.

In essence however, trad climbers bring their own protective gear which is placed in cracks in the rock to protect them against falling. When the lead climber has reached the top, they will use their remaining gear and rope to attach themselves to the top. Their belayer at the bottom climbs up (now in turn being belayed from above) and retrieves the protective gear. We will not cover lead climbing outdoors on this course. If lead trad climbing is something you are interested in, please get in touch.

Video coming soon - but you can google videos for single pitch climbing!

Typically we'll cover:

  • Interpreting guidebooks, understanding grades, finding your crag and honing in on your route

  • Looking at how we move

  • Gear, gear, more gear, and how much gear...

  • Building a belay

  • Extra safety and environmental considerations

We tend to cover all of these topics on day 1, and then come back on day 2 to cement the skills. By the end of the course, you will have a basic understanding of building top rope belay systems to enable you to emulate top rope climbing wall scenarios outdoors. Under 18s naturally are welcome so long as the parent / guardian is present (even if not participating). ​

We can take a minimum of 2 and a maximum of 4. Please get in touch if you have more people you'd like to book for as soon as possible - we'd need to bring in another instructor and that depends on their availability. We often get booked up months if not years in advance).

Important Information

Given the nature of the weather, we may have to reschedule at short notice so please be flexible. Sometimes we have to make a dash to a local climbing wall should we get a summer downpour, but if we know we're in for a few days of rain, it is better to reschedule as the whole point of the course is climing outdoors. Taking out travel insurance will benefit you.

Climbing outdoors is potentially extremely dangerous. On a two day course, we can only introduce you to some basic skills and techniques. It is up to you to judge whether you have the necessary experience to head straight out and climb in this manner. We'd recommend you join a local mountaineering or climbing club where more experienced members can help you develop and use your new skills.

If you just want a fun day out as a group then please get in touch with Fabian


We run these courses in collaboration with Nick from Nick's Outdoors. This means we can also cater for bigger groups. If you are looking for more advanced climbing courses (lead climbing or moving into the multipitch zone), please get in touch to arrange. These tend to be run in Snowdonia or the Lakes.


Please see the Climbing Specific section of the Gear List. I can provide a harness, helmet and belay device should you need. It is expected that you have your own by this point (bar helmet perhaps!). I will also provide all of the technical gear and ropes. If you have bought some trad gear (nuts, hexes, cams etc) by all means bring them along and we can have a play.


An interest in learning to climb, have some fun abseiling, take your indoor climbing skills outdoors.


First Time on Rock courses cost: £180 per person for the two days with a discount for booking a friend on. There is no extra charge for using our technical equipment.

You will need your own insurance and accommodation if required.

Images from Past Events

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