Coronavirus updates

Update 20th October: Please continue to check your local climbing wall for current opening times, group sessions and specific rules in place. Lockdowns impact various areas across the UK so it is worth checking the current local advice. For general queries please get in touch with us via our contact pages.

Update 9th October: Please continue to check your local climbing wall for current opening times, group sessions and rules in place. Updated restrictions in Scotland impact adult group climbing sessions however climbing walls remain open for business and children's groups are not subject to the restrictions. For general advice and queries get in touch with us via our contact pages.

Update 5th October: Please continue to check your local climbing wall for current opening times, group sessions and rules in place. For more general advice and queries you can also get in touch directly with us via our contact pages.

Update 11th September: Climbing walls across the UK are now able to open for business. Some walls may be closed for individual reasons and local lockdowns so worth checking before travelling. Many walls are offering casual and independent climbing, and reintroducing instructed groups such as NICAS/NIBAS later but do check locally to confirm.

Please note that the advice is that sessions can run as normal in England even with the new legislation about meeting as groups of 6 or less for social purposes. "The government has confirmed that once these restrictions come into place Covid-19 secure venues such as leisure facilities, gyms and swimming pools can remain open and that classes taking place within these venues can continue as they are currently. Also, organised sports and activities that have been through return to play protocols can continue, as can organised outdoor sports and physical activity events. You should not attend these venues or events, or socialise whilst there, in groups of more than 6." See the SRA website for more details.

Update 24th July: Climbing walls in England are allowed to reopen from tomorrow, 25th July (dates for Wales and Scotland to be confirmed, it is suggested this may be early August). We wish everyone a safe and successful reopening whether its this weekend or over the coming weeks. Please check your local wall's guidance on their plans and requirements for restarting sessions. Many walls will be starting out with casual and independent climbing, and reintroducing intstucted groups such as NICAS/NIBAS later but do check locally to confirm.

Update 17th July: Climbing walls in England are allowed to open from 25th July (do check before you head to your local one that it is indeed open, as individual circumstances will still apply). Opening details are pending for Scotland and Wales. Public guidance has been produced by the ABC for the reopening of climbing walls. Take a read here.

Update 19th June: We have just published guidance on restarting groups (such as NICAS and NIBAS) in the indoor wall environment. This guidance has been sent out to our centres and to industry contacts. It should be used in conjunction with the guidance and procedures produced by the ABC for reopening climbing walls.

Update 8th June: We continue to be in weekly contact with the ABC on guidance for walls (latest news here). We are particularly looking into guidance for groups, and will update walls (directly for NICAS/NIBAS centres, or via the ABC) as this progresses.

Update 1st June: We are in close contact with the ABC on guidance for walls (latest news here). This UKClimbing article and BMC Facebook live video replay with the ABC's chair, Rich Emerson, helps to illustate a current picture of the situation.

Update 12th May: The latest advice from the Government regarding physical activities has been summarised here. The focus is on outdoor activities and facilities. We are not aware of further guidance for walls but continue to keep in touch with the ABC (latest news here) and its working groups.

Update 7th May: We are not yet sure when climbing walls will open. This article is a useful summary of current status. The ABC continues to keep its website updated with the latest research underway from its working groups so well worth a look at this for an up to date picture within the UK.

Update 30th April: Take a look at our lockdown tips and advice for climbers and for coaches.

Update 27th April: ABC walls are adding regular guidance for climbing walls on their website. They have a number of working groups in place, who are working with international contacts from across the industry on the reponse to COVID-19 including planning for re-opening.

Update 6th April: Further to ideas on helping the industry below, we have been asked and are happy to share this infographic "Impact of COVID-19 on Professional Mountaineering Community" (which forms part of an independent report, which can be read here) and this which gives details of a central hub for help and support. Please share with anyone who might find this useful.Impact of COVID-19

Update 2nd April: Currently climbing walls remain closed. Many are providing details on how you can help them during these uncertain times, should your circumstances allow. Ideas include unfreezing membership and buying gift cards for future purchases. Go to your regular climbing wall's website for more information on these ideas. There is also a fundraising page for freelance staff and route setters, who are impacted by walls being closed at this time.

If you work in the climbing industry, general sector advice is being provided by the Sport and Recreation Alliance and also by the Outdoor Industry Association. You can subsribe to their updates via their websites and we will continue to update you with information as we can too.

Update 24th March: Latest information from the government is to #stayhome and away from others. Full details can be read here. We will keep this page updated with the latest advice.

Update 23rd March: Following the government's advice to close leisure facilities climbing walls are closed around the UK and beyond. They will remain closed until advice changes from the government. The Prime Minister Boris Johnson is giving daily briefings and we at NICAS central will be keeping a watch and updating our website with any new or revised guidance. If you have a question regarding your NICAS or NIBAS sessions, your local (regular) climbing wall will be best placed to advise as each climbing wall has its own arrangements for customers.

We are aware that in many cases membership and direct debit arrangements have been frozen whilst the climbing wall is closed. Climbing walls are giving people suggestions should they wish to support their wall during this time. For example, where people feel they can, they might continue paying membership, buying vouchers for future use, or making purchases from online climbing shops where available.These gestures are really appreciated but of course everyone's situation is unique to them so again, if this is something you would like to do then the best idea is to go to the website or social media sites for your local wall to find out the latest information. We will continue to do what we can to support the industry and to keep you updated with the latest information.

Update 17th March: Following the government's advice to begin social distancing, many walls have reviewed their opening policies with some opting to close. Others are remaining open, with new and revised arrangments in place. You will need to make contact with your local climbing wall directly for their current opening information. They will be busy at this time with enquiries so do please be mindful of this. It may be best to check their websites and social media feeds for the latest information. These are unprecedented times and the situation is fast moving. We will do what we can to support the industry and to keep you updated with the latest information.

Original statement 7th March: We have been asked by walls for advice regarding climbing sessions and the risk of coronavirus from a wall environment. Our recommendation is that walls and their users follow the advice of the UK Chief Medical Officers (or equivalent officer for our non-UK sites). This advice suggests that effective handwashing for 20 seconds and avoidance of touching the facial area are the best methods to prevent infection. Making use of hand sanitizer and hand washing facilities at walls should minimise the risks to wall users.

The Association of British Climbing Walls has provided advice for walls regarding coronavirus. They suggest that wall staff should encourage climbers to wash hands before and after climbing. Everyone should be reminded not to touch their mouths or eyes if their hands aren’t clean.

Current NHS advice about risk, prevention, and whether there is a need to avoid public places is updated on this website and we suggest keeping a watching brief to see if this advice changes.

The NICAS and NIBAS team.

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