I am a freelance writer, living in Bath with my wife and son.
I love my city, and love to live here. I write about Bath a lot, and sometimes about travels in Ireland and France.
Published October 28th 2020
Clip 'n Climb climbing for indoor climb enthusiasts
Clip 'n Climb is an indoor climbing centre in the St Werburgh's area of Bristol. It is just off the M32 motorway and 5 minutes from the city centre (25 minutes from Bath). It offers exciting, safe and challenging climbing walls for people of all ages and all experiences. There are over 20 different climbing walls available, along with the dreaded 'Leap of Faith' for more daring visitors. With a licenced cafe and comfy sofa seating for observers, it is a fantastic place to spend a few weekend hours.
With its safe and secure 'Belaymate' climbing rope system, climbers can clip themselves in and climb independently, without the need of a 'belayer' beneath them. The ropes feed into a spooling system at the top of each wall, which supports the climber at all times. Once you reach the top, you just lean back and float back down. Awesome. The system operates so that you can only begin climbing once your harness is securely fixed to the belaymate, so there is no possibility of falling. Even more awesome!
Following a brief and entertaining safety talk, climbers are encouraged to choose their climbing challenges at will. There are staff members circulating throughout the one-hour sessions but younger children will need supervising. Adults can harness up themselves, or be on hand as an observer. The belaymate system is very simple to use but little hands might find it difficult to clip on and off the walls unaided. Having said that, today the little ones were racing ahead of the adults!
The walls are not particularly high but I found it a little nerve-wracking when I reached the top of the walls. Ironically, the hardest part of the experience for me was letting go of the wall after leaning back! The Jenga-like 'stair wall' was my favourite climb by far. Never fear though! There is always great music playing at clip 'n climb to help you. Having said that, I could have done without Tom Petty's 'Free Fallin' belting out, as I was at the very top of one of the walls!
Taken from the top of the 'Jengaish' staircase wall.
After exerting myself for an hour, my son and I had a snack from the cafe, which is just next door to Clip 'n Climb. They offer hot, cold and alcoholic drinks, pies, wraps and chocolate energy snacks. The cafe also overlooks BLOC, which is the more serious climbing centre, for more advanced climbing. The walls in BLOC have overhangs and look a lot more like rock faces and the climbers there looked a lot more athletic and wiry than most of the Clip 'n Climbers.
All of the walls offer different routes upwards and tease climbers with different challenges. Most operate a colour gradient system, where you can tackle easy, medium and hard routes. What we called the 'glowing drainpipe one' was great fun, and we tried several routes up using handholds of just one colour. Some were a lot more difficult than others!
Clip 'n Climb is great fun, whether you are climbing or not. All of the registration and fitness waiver form filling is done online beforehand, so you can just turn up and climb. We saw families, couples and individuals of all ages climbing today, and the staff there were all very enthusiastic and helpful when we were climbing. It cost us £25 for two of us to climb for an hour, which we felt was well worth it. By the end of the hour, we both felt a little fatigued and wobbly-armed, so more than an hour would probably not be as fun as the initial 60 minutes. Next time we visit, we have decided to brave the 'Leap of Faith' - a free-jump into thin air to grab a target which is winched out into the air. Don't worry though, there is the good old Belaymate system to catch you and gently deposit you onto the firm ground! Bring it on!
Sounds good Tom - for the young and brave. I must admit I am scared of heights. Having said that I must also admit that I have logged over 150 hours flying light aircraft with the door removed so parachutists can jump out. It appears my height fear is if there is something between me and the ground, rather than several thousands feet of air.