An Introduction to Sport Climbing

Have you ever fancied trying out sport climbing but not sure where to start?

Read this blog for further information and advice videos to answer all your questions on sport climbing…

What is Sport Climbing?

Sport climbing is a popular sport that has been taking place since the 80’s and continues to be a favourite today. It typically involves relying on permanent bolts and anchors fixed to the rock for protection and the climber using a rope and harness to ascend the route, as well as the aid of a ‘belayer’*. These permanent bolts and anchors are found on the rock at various locations outdoors in the UK and around the globe. As each bolt is reached along the route, the climber has to attach a quickdraw** to the bolt and then clips the rope through the hanging end of the quickdraw.

*Belayer: this is the person at the bottom of the ascent who controls the safety of the rope for the climber so that he/she doesn’t fall.

**Quickdraw: this is a piece of equipment used by climbers to attach their rope to pieces of protection when climbing.

If you’re a beginner to climbing, always remember to go climbing with an experienced climber to ensure you’re safe. We recommend going climbing indoors first, at an indoor climbing centre. This way, you can get used to the principal, and receive some expert advice. As always, if in doubt, ask for help! If you want further advice on indoor climbing, check out our indoor climbing blog.

Molly Thompson-Smith and Steve McClure sport climbing
Steve McClure sport climbing

Getting Started at The Crag

Once you’ve had some practice indoor climbing and learnt more about sport climbing, it’s time to head to the crag! Again, always ensure you go with experienced climbers when you’re just starting out, to ensure you’re safe.

Sport Climbing Etiquette

It’s important you know the rules around etiquette if you’re new to sport climbing, or any outdoor climbing for that matter. Looking after the crag to keep it clean and safe is super important so that climbers can enjoy their climbing experience.

The Professionals

Molly Thompson-Smith

We caught up with Molly Thompson-Smith, an avid climber who climbs for Team GB and is an athlete climber for Petzl, one of the UK’s leading climbing brands. She has been climbing for 17 years and has been competing for 12 years. Molly has always dreamed about competing in the Olympic Games; she’s hoping to qualify for the 2024 Olympic Games in Paris and is ready for the challenge ahead!

Check out our interview below to hear what Molly tells us about her passion for climbing:

Steve McClure

We also spoke to Steve McClure, one of Petzl’s athletes and all-round climber. Steve first got into climbing about 50 years ago, so he’s an absolute veteran at the sport by now with half a century of experience under his belt. Steve got the perfect introduction to climbing from his parents, who were both very keen climbers. So, from a young age, Steve was up there on the rock with them.

Check out our interview with Steve bellow, to find out more about his life climbing:

What Do I Need for Sport Climbing?

If you’re wondering what gear you need to get started in sport climbing, then check out our guide below!

If you want to read more great content like this, check out our blog here.