All you need to know about turning up to climb casually at Rockstar Climbing, Swindon.


I have never climbed before...

What is casual climbing?

The phrase 'casual climbing' is what we use to describe climbing in the Centre without Instructor supervision. 

What is Bouldering?

Bouldering is the purest form of climbing because it requires no ropes, harnesses or helmets - just a pair of rock shoes which can be hired from our Front Desk and you're good to go!


Because Bouldering requires no protective equipment then our Bouldering walls are much lower in height at 4.5m compared to our roped walls which are 9.5m in height. In addition, our Bouldering walls have thick crash matting to help soften any landings. 


Anyone who wishes to climb on our Bouldering walls must undertake a short induction on their very first visit to the Centre so that our staff can explain how to use the Bouldering walls safely and gain the most from your session. 


Bouldering is very social and gives possibly the best workout you'll ever have! 

What is Roped Climbing?

Roped climbing is effectively climbing with a rope and is more traditionally what people think of as climbing. Our roped climbing walls reach a height of 9.5m which is pretty much the full height of our building and over twice the height of our Bouldering walls.

Why is indoor climbing so popular?

Indoor climbing is one of the fastest growing sports in the world and the reason for this is because it is a full body and mind workout. It is also social, relieves stress and anxiety, builds confidence, empowers both young and old, builds fitness and muscle toning and is a great alternative to the gym! It is also inexpensive and easy to get started. 


Climbing is now also an Olympic sport and Britain has its own GB Climbing Team. It is also recognised by many examining boards as being a GCSE PE sport. 

Can I take up climbing on my own?

Yes you can! Bouldering can be done individually as you do not require a partner, however, Bouldering is a very social sport and you'll undoubtedly meet and chat with other climbers as you climb and you may well find people you can climb with regularly. 


If you are a rope climber looking for a partner then we run Social Nights on a regular basis with the aim of allowing climbers to socialise and meet a climbing partner. We also have a notice board too which is a good place to look for a climbing buddy. 

What clothing/equipment do I need?

Equipment wise we have everything that you need here from climbing shoes, helmets, harnesses and belay devices all of which are available to hire for your session. 


Clothing wise we recommend anything loose fitting, so jogging bottoms or shorts and t-shirts are good or pretty much anything you'd normally wear for the gym works well too. We don't recommend climbing in jeans or hoodies. 


We also strongly recommend you remove any jewellery and watches before climbing as they can introduce a risk of entrapment as well as potentially getting damaged so these are best left at home. 

Can I just turn up and climb or do I need to book?

There is no need to book to come and climb casually at Rockstar Climbing. If you are brand new to climbing or have little climbing experience then you will be allowed to climb on any of our Bouldering walls, however, our roped walls are only open to experienced rope climbers or for participants taking part in an instructed session.


If you would like to try roped climbing then we would recommend booking onto one of our Taster Sessions or our Adult Learn to Climb course.


If you are visiting Rockstar Climbing for the very first time then you will be asked to join a Bouldering induction and complete a registration form before you can climb. The Bouldering induction and registration is mandatory for your first visit to the Centre regardless of whether you are a novice or an experience climber. This is a one-off process for first time visitors to Rockstar and usually takes between 20 and 30 minutes. 

Can my kids just have a go?

Children can come and climb casually on our Bouldering walls provided they are supervised by a responsible adult at all times.


If children are visiting for the first time then they, along with the adult(s) supervising, must attend a Bouldering induction and complete their registration forms before being allowed to climb. An adult can supervise up to a maximum of two children.


Children can also climb casually in our roped wall areas provided they are supervised and belayed by a competent and experienced climber.


There are a few more options available to get your children climbing: 

  1. They can attend one of our Junior Taster Sessions run by our instructors
  2. They can join our Rockhuggers Climbing Club if they are between 5 and 7 years old
  3. Or our Cliffhangers Junior Climbing Club if they are between 8 and 12 years old
  4. Or our Cliffhangers Youth Climbing Club if they are 13 to 17 years old

Is there an age limit?

We don't have an age limit for casual climbing as such, we work on the basis that if you are happy bringing your child to climb and you accept responsibility for them then you are welcome to visit. 


As a rule of thumb though we find that children under the age of 5 can find our roped walls and bouldering walls a bit daunting, however, we have a 2.5m traverse wall which is great for children aged 3 and above to climb and this is located right by our cafe and seating area which makes it very accessible. 


Please remember that all juniors under the age of 18 must be directly supervised by an adult at all times on our climbing walls. 

Do we need to book an induction & how much is it?

Bouldering inductions are free and there is no need to book so if you are planning a trip to Rockstar to climb casually for the first time then you can just turn up and we will run your induction once you arrive. 


If you are coming as part of a larger group or you have several kids with you then please allow up to 30 minutes to complete your induction and registration forms before you can then climb. 


Is there a time limit on our stay?

No, there is no time limit for casual climbing so once you've paid your entry you can stay until we close if you wish or until you leave the centre.

How do I get to use the roped wall?

Our roped wall is open to experienced climbers only.


If you are an experienced climber then you can request a ropes competency test as part of your induction in which we will ask you to demonstrate that you can fit a harness, tie in and belay to a high standard. If our instructors are happy that you are competent and safe then we will invite you to complete a full registration form which will mean that you can then have full use of the roped wall and bouldering walls on a casual basis. As part of your full registration you can then supervised up to two novice climbers on our roped wall or bouldering walls.


If you are not and experienced climber but are keen to learn how to rope climb then we recommend joining our Adults Learn to Climb course which will teach you all you need to know.


If you have climbed in the past but are a bit rusty and need a refresher then you can book a 1-to-1 or 2-to-1 Coaching session with us.


Children wishing to climb on our roped walls can either attend a Taster Session or join one of our Junior or Youth Climbing Clubs, or even have a Birthday Party at Rockstar.

I'm already a climber...

Do I need to do an induction if I'm experienced?

Yes, all first time visitors to Rockstar must attend an induction and complete their registration forms before climbing regardless of any qualifications or experience they have. It is a one-off process and only takes between 20 and 30 minutes so just allow this extra time at the start of your first session. 

Do you have changing rooms?

We have two toilets which are a large enough size to change in and lockers/bag drop boxes for keeping rucksacks and bags in.

Do you have showers?

Unfortunately no, we decided climbing space was more important 🙂

Do you sell food and drink?

Yes, we have a cafe that sells freshly ground coffee and speciality teas along with cold drinks and water. We also sell hot toasties as well as flapjacks, energy and protein bars and the most unbelievable brownies from the 7a Coffee Shop in Fairford.

How often do you change the routes?

Setting happens weekly at Rockstar so there's always new problems to try. On our Bouldering walls each circuit has a 4 week rotation time and on our roped walls the routes have a 6 week rotation time. 

Do you have a training area?

Yes, we have two finger boards, campus rails and a hemisphere rail currently with more training facilities being planned for the future. 

I'm an external instructor looking to bring a group...

What documentation do you need?

If you are an external instructor looking to bring a group in then we will require a copy of your CWA Certificate, a valid First Aid Certificate and a copy of your Public Liability Insurance. 


You can either bring them in on the day or email them across ahead of your session.


If you are planning on bringing a group in please call in advance (ideally a week or so) to book your session in so we can add it to our calendar.

What is the maximum ratio allowed?

The maximum ration we will allow is 9:1.