This page is a quick reference guide for centres and coaches for the minimum coaching and facility requirements for running the NICAS Climbing scheme. More detail is found within our handbooks: contact us for more information.

NB: minimum coaching and facility requirements for NICAS Bouldering can be found here.

NICAS Climbing coach requirements

CWI Trained + Site Specific Assessed
Site Specific Assessed
CWI Assessed
CWI Trained + Site Specific Assessed + FUNdas 1
Site Specific Asssessed
CWI Assessed
CWI Assessed + FUNdas 1 & 2 or CWI Trained plus Site Specific Assessed + Foundation Coach Assessed
Site Specific Assessed + FUNdas 1 or Foundation Coach Training
CWI Assessed plus FUNdas 1 & 2 or CWI Assessed + Foundation Coach Assessed
CWDI + Foundation Coach Assessed or CWI + Site Specific Assessed + Foundation Coach Assessed
CWI + FUNdas 1 & 2 + Site Specific Training or CWDI Trained + FUNdas1 or CWDI Trained + FC Trained
CWDI + FC Assessed
CWDI + Development Coach Trained Or RCI + CWDI Trained + Site Specific Assessed + Development Coach Trained
CWDI + FC Assessed
Not available to external coaches*
*In some circumstances, which needs to be agreed with individual centres this may be possible. Contact NICAS team for details. Read more about freelancing here.

Coaches holding MIA, SPA or military qualifications should contact us with full details of all other qualifications and experience, to be reviewed on a case by case basis. Site Specific training can only be approved by a qualified Technical Advisor and evidence may be requested. Site Specific training must be relevant to the level, e.g. leading at Level 4. FUNdamentals (FUNdas) 1, 2 and 3, Physical Training 1 and 2 and Coaching Children courses are delivered by the BMC in England and Wales, Mountaineering Scotland and Mountaineering Ireland. Foundation, Development and Performance Coach are provided by Mountain Training. Holders of the Irish Coaching Awards should contact the ABCTT for mapping equivalents.

NICAS Climbing: Physical Facility Requirements

3 non-auto belay rope lines: minimum 5m high from top of matting / flooring to bottom of lower-off point. A minimum of 10 routes, some of which may be rainbow. Route-setting at least annually
None required
6 non-auto belay rope lines: minimum 5m high from top of matting / flooring to bottom of lower-off point. A minimum of 25 routes, some of which may be rainbow. Route-setting at least 6-monthly
Some - could be traverses on wall. If on wall, a foot gap or visual line must be indicated for the higher and lower limits of bouldering.
9 non-auto belay rope lines: minimum 5m high from top of matting / flooring to bottom of lower-off point. A minimum of 30 set and graded routes allowing demonstration of progression. Route-setting at least 3 times per year
Boulder traverse problems of at least 6 moves at the bottom of the climbing wall, independently marked and graded and not forming part of a graded roped climbing route. A foot gap should be included where appropriate, and a maximum bouldering height line marked on the wall. One change of angle. Crash landing surface to meet either BS:EN 1176-1 (outdoors structures) such as wood chippings, or BS:EN12572-2 if indoors, such as rubber crumb or connected gym matting. All matting should form a uniform and secure crash surface. Route-setting at least 3 times per year
A dedicated climbing facility with the requirements for Level 3 plus a dedicated lead wall with over 30 set and graded routes in excess of 8m vertical height available at all times. Frequent route-setting, at least quarterly (Level 4 Primary Centres must also be full members of the ABC)
Dedicated bouldering area with permanent full-depth crash matting to meet BS:EN12572-2 Must offer a minimum of 20 boulder problems over a variety of angles and gradients. Frequent route-setting, at least quarterly. (A strength and conditioning area, fingerboard or campus boards are highly desirable).
Major climbing facility that is a full member of the ABC. It must have a dedicated lead climbing wall with over 50 lead routes in excess of 8m vertical height. Frequent route-setting.
In addition to the above, dedicated bouldering training area with in excess of 30 problems and circuits, with variety of angles and frequent route-setting. Strength and conditioning area, fingerboard or campus boards
NB: Centres must have adequate physical resources to deliver NICAS Climbing in order to be registered as an Accredited Centre. The climbing structures should generally have enough varied climbing to satisfy the logbook requirements. Variations to these guidelines may be considered by NICAS in special circumstances. As a guide the following criteria would generally be regarded as bare minimums for each level. Final approval for registration will be given by the NICAS Screening Committee. All structures constructed after 2007 must meet the requirements of BS:EN12572 and produce to NICAS, on request, either a statement of conformity to that standard or a statement from a qualified engineer that the structure meets or exceeds those requirements. Structures constructed prior to 2007 should state this explicitly in their application and may be asked to demonstrate equivalent standards.

Structures which are outdoors or otherwise exposed to the weather or significant variations in temperature (such as a roofed-over outside space) are restricted on delivery at the higher levels of NICAS. Centres wishing to deliver these higher levels where part or all of the structure is outdoors or otherwise exposed to the elements should contact NICAS for guidance.

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