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Go climbing without leaving the city

Indoor climbing is a great way to keep fit

You don’t have to live near mountains to satisfy your thirst for adventure, and why not start with climbing?

Bouldering is rock climbing in its purest form: no ropes, no harnesses – just you and the wall. Its popularity has exploded, partly thanks to the emergence of the UK’s Shauna Coxsey (pictured), who in June won her second IFSC Boulder World Cup title.

There are bouldering centres in most UK cities. Walls are never higher than five metres, and crash mats provide protection if you do slip and fall.

“Bouldering is a really good entry point for anyone interested in climbing,” says Captain Patrick Snow, the Army’s sport climbing secretary, who organises Army competitions and mountaineering expeditions.

Walls are set up so that beginners climb alongside the experts. It’s not all about brute strength either: no amount of muscle can compensate for balance and flexibility. 

“It’s a pretty good leveller because technique is so important,” Captain Snow adds.

With sport climbing added to the Olympic programme for Tokyo 2020, there’s never been a better time to take up bouldering.

Find an indoor centre near you at

Looking for other adventurous ways to get active? Why not try your hand at freestyle canoeing?