The Scheme

The National Indoor Climbing Award Scheme (NICAS) is a UK wide scheme designed to promote climbing development and accredit individual achievement on artificial climbing structures. It can be used as a starting point for people wishing to take up climbing and mountaineering. It is open to all candidates aged 7 and upwards.

The scheme is administered by the Association of British Climbing Walls Training Trust (ABCTT) and is recognised by the British Mountaineering Council, the Mountaineering Council of Scotland and the Mountaineering Council of Ireland

Aims Of The Scheme

  • to develop climbing movement skills and improve levels of ability.
  • to learn climbing rope-work and how to use equipment appropriately.
  • to develop risk assessment and risk management skills in the sport.
  • to work as a team, communicate with, and trust a climbing partner.
  • to provide a structure for development, motivation and improved performance.
  • to develop an understanding of the sport, it’s history and future challenges.
  • to provide a record of personal achievement.
  • to point the way to further disciplines and challenges in climbing beyond the scheme.

Structure Of The Scheme

The Scheme comprises five levels of award aimed at complete novices to expert climbers. The scheme is split into two parts and takes a minimum of 100 hours to complete in its entirety. Part 1 contains Levels 1 and 2 and Part 2 contains Levels 3 to 5. Upon registering with an Awarding Centre candidates receive a log booklet for Levels 1 and 2 and a log binder with booklet for Levels 3 to 5. After achieving each level they are awarded with a certificate on behalf of the ABCTT.

The five levels are:

  1. Foundation Climber
    An entry level aimed at novices that recognises their ability to climb safely under supervision.
  2. Top Rope Climber
    Aimed at promoting good practice in climbing and bouldering unsupervised on an artificial wall.
  3. Technical Climber
    A more advanced top roping and bouldering level that focuses on developing technique and movement skills.
  4. Lead Climber
    Concentrates on the skills required to both lead climb and belay a lead climber.
  5. Advanced Climber
    The top level that focuses on improving performance, a deeper understanding of climbing systems and the wider world of climbing.

Further Information

Full details of the scheme can be found in the NICAS handbook.

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