HOW THINGS ARE WORKING NOW...

As you may expect, we’ve opened with a new way of doing things for the time being.  Guidelines have been developed to help our community return to climbing safely and are based upon the UK Government Guidelines for our sector and  industry specific guidelines published by the  Association of British Climbing Walls (the ABC).      As the team at the ABC have noted, climbers are used to managing risk and the best way to think about Covid-19 is that its just another risk that we must all take individual responsibility to manage – to protect ourselves and those in our community.    In our planning we’ve focused on three goals:  

  • keeping our team safe
  • keeping  you safe
  • offering you an experience that provides as much freedom to climb as possible within the constraints under which we have to operate.

We’re doing this by  ‘keeping the climber clean’ through hand sanitising regimes and systems that help everyone manage social distancing.  In the first instance capacity constraints in each part of the wall will help us do this and ensure that when you visit you have an unconstrained choice of routes to climb.   

We will re-open in phases to help build confidence and enable us to make changes to processes if needed.  In the first instance we opened: 

  • pre-bookable climbing for our registered climbers and experienced climbers
  • pre-bookable Clip ‘n Climb sessions
  • a reduced drinks and snack service in The Workshop Cafe.

We are now beginning to introduce instructed sessions (including Tasters, Inductions and Intro Courses) and training for our performance squads.  

Please read the SUMMARY OF WHAT’s CHANGED and FAQ sections  so you are aware of what to expect and what you might need to consider before your visit

A Summary of What's Changed

Climbers are used to managing risk and the best way to think about Covid-19 is that it’s another risk that we must all take individual responsibility to manage – to protect ourselves and those in our community.    As such we need you to:

  • Stay at home if you have symptoms of Covid-19, or if anyone in your household has symptoms.  We reserve the right to ask you to leave if you display symptoms during your visit.   Please be aware of  NHS England’s guidance on Covid-19 symptoms and what to do if you display them
  • Pre-book your climb or boulder before visiting using our new online booking system and remember you can only visit in groups of six or less under the Government’s new ‘Rule of Six’ legislation
  • Choose between visiting to climb or boulder – that way we can keep as many routes open and manage your experience in parts of the centre that are smaller (in particular the bouldering caves and Moon Board room) 
  • Sanitise your hands when entering the building, before and after every climb, when  moving through different parts of the centre and when leaving.  There are sanitiser stations around the centre and we have individual hand sanitisers on sale at reception
  • Wear your face covering at ALL times except when climbing, bouldering, belaying or consuming food and drink at the tables in our cafe
  • Respect social distancing and be considerate of other climbers when moving around the centre and choosing climbs
  • Follow new directional signs and instructions, including our new one way system around the centre
  • Bring your own water (we will have bottled water on sale if you forget)
  • Avoid coughing into your hands and touching your face
  • Arrive ready to climb
  • Please bring your own padlock for our new lockers (padlocks will be available to purchase at the centre  if you forget)

Climbers are used to managing risk – Covid-19 is another risk we all need to take individual responsibility to manage.  To that end we are focusing on helping keep our climbers and staff clean during your visit to the centre.  There will be sanitiser stations throughout the centre and we encourage you all to bring your own hand sanitiser too (we have some available for sale at Reception).  Please sanitise when you enter the building, when you visit the bathrooms and before and after every climb.   If you use the training equipment (either in the Moon Board Room or the rings by The Quarry) please sanitise before and after using it.  

It is your responsibility to adopt strict sanitising protocols when using the centre in order to protect yourself and others around you.  

We will be increasing our cleaning protocol for all high touch areas of the centre such as toilets, door handles, screens and movable equipment.   Hold cleaning will continue to take place only when holds are removed from the wall as part of route setting.   This is in common with other facilities where equipment is part of the infrastructure – such as outdoor playgrounds, trampoline parks etc.  Good hand hygiene before and after climbing is, therefore, the best way of keeping the climber clean. 

Industry guidelines, set by the UK Government, UK Active and the Association of British Climbing, outline the need to limit capacity in all indoor venues to support social distancing.  We’ve applied the guidelines to our centre and have come up with capacity limits in each area.  We’ve got a large space so our limits are relatively high but some areas are more constrained and we offer a range of different types of climbing.  Therefore we’ve applied the limits to each type of climbing so that we offer fair access and social distancing in all parts of the centre.  There are limits for roped climbing and bouldering, as well as limits in our Clip ‘n Climb arena.  When you book your visit to the centre you’ll be asked what type of climbing you wish to do so that we can ensure we don’t become overcrowded in one part of the centre at any one time.  We believe that this approach will afford you the opportunity to climb freely but respect social distancing.   We will monitor capacity and make adjustments if needed.  

Please be mindful of other climbers.  You are responsible for managing distancing while using the centre, however our floorwalkers will remind you if they feel you are breaching the guidelines and we reserve the right to ask you to leave if you do not comply. 

In the first instance, we focused on welcoming back independent climbers  – that’s our registered climbers and visiting climbers who are able to climb and belay without supervision.   Please do not book a climb if you cannot belay – we recommend that you look at our Taster Sessions or Centre induction instead. 

We’re welcoming back young climbers as long as they are climbing under the supervision of an adult member of their household.  If you’re just visiting to belay your child please book a concession climb for your child and then select the ‘Belay Partner for a Child’ option for yourself.    

Clip ‘n Climb will be opening up as well, so if you are not able to belay (or belay your child) then consider booking into a Clip ‘n Climb Session.  You can book online here 

The Workshop Cafe will re-open with a reduced drinks and snacks menu.

From mid September we are opening up some instructed sessions including Taster Sessions, Inductions, Introduction to Climbing and Coaching.  Please check out our ‘New to Climbing’ page for more information. 

From September we are also phasing back our Squad training for young climbers. 

For the time being we are only offering pre-bookable climbing sessions.  We appreciate that many of you enjoy the freedom to turn up without planning ahead and to climb for as long as you wish but, in order to manage capacity and offer everyone a positive experience, we feel that bookable sessions are the best solution for the time being.   Here’s how it will work…

  • You can choose from a morning, afternoon or evening climb – sessions will be at least 3.5 hours long 
  • You can turn up at any point from the start of your session – you don’t have to turn up on the dot.
  • Our floor walkers will call the end of the session with a 5 minute warning to all climbers and there will be a gap between sessions to limit crossover of climbers
  • Capacity will be limited to ensure you can climb freely on all available routes and maintain sensible distancing 
  • You’ll be asked to select whether you wish to climb or boulder 
  • Booking will stay open until the last minute to afford you more flexibility in planning.  You can even book from your phone from outside the centre and as long as there is space in the session you can join.
  • To help you plan your visit, when remaining capacity is low you will be able to see how many slots are still available.
  • You’ll be asked to pay online 
  • If you’re a holder of an annual membership or multi-climb punch card  you should select the Members Booking options when booking – this will enable you to use your membership or remaining punches to ‘pay’ for your climb
  • When you arrive at the centre you will have to check in – we have a new self check scanning system but if you have any issues you can speak to Reception.  Please ensure you have access to your booking confirmation email. 
  • You are unlikely to face long queues at the centre, but if others are waiting to check in please queue in a socially distant manner and take care on the stairs.

We use Rock Gym Pro to manage bookings, memberships and our customer database.

When you first book a session at the centre, we recommend creating an Online Profile as this automates a lot of the form filling for subsequent bookings.

Once you have an Online Profile, you can use it to make bookings via our website by clicking on the ‘Log In’ option before you book.  You can also view your profile online and review any prior bookings. 

The Rock Gym Pro App is also available to download if you have an android or Apple smartphone.   You can use it to manage and make bookings – there’s also a clever widget that shows you real time capacity in the centre (ignore the time zone though!).  

Sessions are currently scheduled as follows:

Weekdays – roped climbing and bouldering session times:

  • 10am to 1.30pm (off peak)
  • 2pm to 5.30pm (off peak)
  • 6pm to 10pm (peak)

Weekends and Public Holidays – roped climbing and bouldering session times:

  • 9am to 12.15pm (peak)
  • 12.30pm to 3.45pm (peak)
  • 4.00pm to 7.45pm (peak)

Where possible please arrive ready to climb and change before you arrive at The Quay.  Please bring minimal personal belongings into the centre.  We have reduced locker capacity and have installed new lockers which are easier to sanitise.  We will have some open cubbyholes if you do have larger items.  You will now need to bring your own padlock – if you forget, we will have some on sale at the centre. Please sanitise before and after using the lockers.  Please bear in mind that space around the lockers is relatively constrained so be sensitive to other users when leaving and collecting belongings.  

Please bring your own climbing gear.  We will have rental kit available if you forget or if you are visiting the area without your gear but we would prefer you to use your own kit.  Rental shoes will be sprayed after every use,  as they always have been (inside and outside).

Please bring your own water with you when you climb.  We will no longer be able to fill up your water bottles and our water fountains have temporarily been removed.  We will have water cans on sale in the café if you forget your water.  Please remember to take your drinks bottles home with you – any bottles left at the centre will sadly have to be discarded each night.

 

 

Some of you may have trained throughout lockdown but for many of us its been a long break from the wall.  Please climb within your limits and don’t push yourself – prudent choices at the wall will avoid accidents or injury.  

Climbers are expected to respect social distancing while using the centre.  Climbers from the same household or social bubble may climb together more closely in groups of six or less.  Otherwise please keep the government recommended distance between yourself and others.  If unsure please refer to government social distancing guidelines

Please follow directional signage to help you move through the centre safely.  There will be a one-way system to help you enter and exit the centre and manage the stairways.  Please be courteous in all areas and sensitive to others in narrow or busier sections.  Areas that are particularly narrow will be clearly marked.  

You are expected to wear face coverings when moving around the centre and at all times except when climbing or belaying, or consuming food and drink in our cafe.  If you are exempt just let the team at Reception know.  

The Workshop Cafe is reopening for takeaway drinks and snacks and a limited table service.  One way entrance systems are clearly marked and tables have been spaced to provide you with plenty of chance to be socially distant.  Please do not move freestanding furniture from it’s marked location.  

This is brand new for all of us.  Please be patient with our staff as we learn to cope with new procedures and with each other as we learn how to climb at a distance – something that isn’t intuitive in such a socially focused sport.   Our aim is to help you have a positive return to climbing, but to ensure you return safely and within the new constraints.  We honestly can’t wait to welcome you!

 

FAQs

No.  We will be opening at the same time as usual – from 10am to 10pm on weekdays and with slightly extended hours from 9am to 8pm at weekends and public holidays.  We believe there is sufficient session capacity available to meet demand based upon previous visitor numbers and our capacity restrictions.   If we do need to change our opening hours we will let you know on social media and our website.  

We have used the sector guidelines provided by the UK Government and the industry specific guidelines from the Association of British Climbing Walls (the ABC)  as the starting point for our capacity calculations. 

We are mindful of our capacity in each area of the centre and ask such are asking climbers to book for a specific activity choosing between climbing, bouldering and Clip ‘n Climb.  We have adopted this approach because we feel it is the best way to enable you to enjoy your preferred style of climbing safely and in acknowledgement of the fact that, whilst we have a huge floor space, some areas are smaller (such as our Bouldering caves and Moon Board room).   

If we feel capacity needs to be changed at any time we will make the necessary adjustments.  

Our current policy regarding face coverings reflects the most current UK Government legislation and industry guidance and applies to all customers aged 11 upwards. 

You SHOULD wear a face covering when

  • Arriving at the centre and moving around our public spaces
  • Checking in at reception
  • Ordering takeaways from the Cafe or purchasing merchandise
  • Receiving any Safety Briefing (for example harness checks or a Clip ‘n Climb Briefing)
  • Spectating
  • Clipping children into climbs at Clip ‘n Climb unless you are also participating yourself
  • Using bathrooms
You DO NOT have to wear a face covering when:
  • Climbing – either in the main arena, the boulder caves or in Clip ‘n Climb
  • Consuming food or drinks in our cafe table service area
  • If you are exempt

Our Reception Team will check in with anyone not wearing a face covering.  If you are exempt just let the team know or show them your UK Gov exemption card/app.  Don’t worry if you forget your face covering – we will have buffs and single use face masks on sale in our reception area.  

Our team will be wearing face coverings around the centre and for some duties you will also see them donning face shields and/or PPE.

For the time being we feel that the best way we can manage capacity in the centre and enable you to observe social distancing is by offering pre-bookable sessions.  The sessions will still give you plenty of time to climb.  You will also be able to book sessions right up until the last minute as long as there is space available giving you the chance to make last minute choices.   The Rock Gym Pro App will always show real time capacity usage at the centre to help you make your decision.  

Further to the introduction of the new ‘Rule of Six’ guidelines we ask that you do not visit to climb in groups of more than 6 people.  Our booking systems have been amended so that you can only make bookings for 6 or less people – please remember that any non climbers count in your ‘6’.  Certain club sessions may be exempt from this rule and will be run under the relevant Covid-secure guidance.  

If you hold an annual membership you will still need to book your climbing session.  Please do NOT turn up without booking as we will not be able to let you in.  

When you book, select the Members Climbing or Members Bouldering option.  This will enable you to make a booking using your membership.    We ask you to be considerate when making bookings and do not block book sessions.   

We will not be selling new monthly memberships for the time being.  If you are an existing monthly member, you will still have 15 days left on your membership in lieu of the closure period in March 2020.  When you book, select the Members Climbing or Members Bouldering option.  This will enable you to make a booking using your membership.    We ask you to be considerate when making bookings and do not block book sessions.   

Ten Climb Punch Cards and Annual Memberships will continue to be available as options for our regular climbers.  

If you have a current Ten Climb Punch Card  you will still need to book your climbing session.  Please do NOT turn up without booking as we will not be able to let you in.  

You will be able to use your remaining ‘punches’ (climbs) to pay for your climb .  When you book, please select the Members Climbing or Members Bouldering option.  

No.  All external instructors must contact us (call on 01392 426 850 or email) at least 24 hours in advance to discuss whether a visit is possible for them and their group.  We will not provide entry to any group that turns up without booking.  

There is an expectation on all customers to observe social distancing with other users in the centre and this will be made clear through signage, markings and social media/our website.  

We ask you to be considerate of other climbers when selecting climbing lines, and be patient – there are enough routes for everyone with the capacity limits we have set. 

We will support you to do this through signage, marking areas that are narrower and by having floor walkers on the floor at all times to support you in your climbing choices.   If you have to queue to check in we will have clear markings to enable you to stay 2 metres apart – please take extra care on the stairs

Please be especially careful in areas that have less space – such as around lockers and in the bathrooms.  

Screens will be in place to protect staff and customers at till points and in the café.  Staff will also wear protective face coverings for duties that require closer contact with customers.

We are welcoming back competent adult and youth climbers to the centre as long as they can climb independently within their household or bubble.  If your child is a keen climber then you are welcome to bring them to the centre but you will have to belay them yourself and be responsible for them for the duration of their visit unless they are a Purple or Green Card Holder.     To book select the concession option together with the ‘Belay Partner for a Child’ option.  Its free to accompany your child as a belay partner during off peak sessions (weekday mornings and afternoons) and costs just £2 at peak times (weekends and evenings).  

From mid September we are reintroducing our Taster Sessions with reduced ratios – these are a great way to introduce younger climbers to the sport or to enjoy a new activity together as a family.  We are also offering Induction Sessions if you’d like to learn how to belay your child so you can bring them climbing.  

If you’re a competent belayer, signed off to belay at the centre, you’re welcome to bring your child climbing as long as they are aged 5+ and you supervise them at all times.   We ask that you book in alongside your child as we need to know who is in the centre and when for capacity management and Track and Trace.  If you plan to climb (for example on auto belays)  please book a climbing slot for yourself and concession slots for your child.  If you are just belaying then you can select the Belay Partner for a Child option.  Its free during off peak sessions (that’s the weekday morning and afternoon sessions) and it costs just £2 at peak times (that’s evenings and weekends).  

 

From mid September our Performance Squads for young climbers will restart and one to one coaching sessions will be available.

From mid-September we will be reintroducing our Taster Sessions, Inductions and Introduction to Climbing courses.  All will be run on reduced instructor to participant ratios.  Check our our New to Climbing page for more information.  

We are taking every reasonable step to protect our team and our customers.   In addition to our usual daily cleaning procedures we will be adding the following measures: 

  • regular sanitisation of all frequent contact surfaces (door handles, toilets, banisters, touch screens)
  • propping doors open where possible to support existing ventilation measures 
  • periodically wiping auto belay tapes and self clip mechanisms
  • cleaning rental gear – spraying the inside and outside of shoes
  • closing our showers until further notice
  • closing water fountains and asking customers to bring their own water bottles – we will sadly not be able to refill water bottles
  • asking customers to sanitise frequently including before and after every climb

We will not be cleaning top ropes, harnesses or holds outside of any normal cleaning schedule (i.e. holds will be washed when they are stripped for re-setting as per normal procedures).

 

It would be completely impractical to clean the holds between climbers using them,  Public Health England consider them to be part of the infrastructure of our facility, rather like a trampoline is in a trampoline centre, the bars on a ropes course or the equipment in a children’s park.  Like other climbing walls, we are encouraging climbers to focus on hand hygiene before and after every climb and will be supporting this with sanitising stations around the arena and floorwalkers to encourage good practice.  This means individuals can take responsibility for keeping themselves safe by ‘keeping the climber clean’.

No.  We will have hand sanitiser stations around the centre – at the entrances, exits and throughout the climbing arena. We are asking you to use the sanitiser frequently during your visit and at least when you enter and before and after every climb.  

We will have small bottles of sanitiser on sale at Reception if you wish to use your own sanitiser in addition to, or instead of, the centre stations.  

There’s been lots of discussion around the use of liquid chalk and its role in supporting infection control.  Whilst, in theory, if the alcohol in liquid chalk is sufficiently concentrated (70%+) it could kill the virus there is no conclusive proof of this.  Therefore it is not in any way a replacement for good hand hygiene (sanitising before and after every climb) or social distancing.  However, if you use chalk we would advise you to invest in liquid chalk and it could be seen as a back-up to other sanitising procedures.  We will have liquid chalk on sale at Reception.  Please ensure that it has dried completely before climbing and mark your bottle clearly so that it is not picked up by other climbers.  

We ask that you bring your own climbing gear where possible.  Rental gear will be available if absolutely necessary.  We will be spraying rental shoes on the inside and outside after every use but harnesses will not be cleaned.  

The Government guidelines say that air flow should be 20L per person per second.  This is a very low rate of flow especially in a building our size so we should achieve this level of air flow relatively easily.  We have installed a Carbon Dioxide monitor which will indicate whether ventilation is adequate and our fans will be in operation.  

At the end of each session we will sweep the arena for lost property.  If it can be easily identified (ie is named/labelled) we will bag it in a sealed bag for customers to collect – you should quarantine the bag for 3 days before opening it.  If items cannot be easily identified we will NOT be able to store them in the centre and will have to dispose of them.  Please make every effort to take your belongings home with you and label any items that you would not wish to lose.   

First Aid and Rescue procedures will continue as normal with some adaptations to ensure our staff and customers remain safe.

  • Staff undertaking first aid will wear appropriate PPE 
  • Staff performing rescues at height will have full PPE available to them including protective glasses, mask and disposable gloves.
  • If the rescuer deems the situation too urgent and is unable to don PPE, they will continue with the rescue and seek medical advice afterwards
  • Any PPE used will be  disposed of in line with government guidelines.

First Responder Guidance

We require at least 48 hour notice to cancel any session booking. Cancellations after this point will not be eligible for a refund.

Covid-19 Exemption – if you or any member of your household displays symptoms of Covid-19 you should cancel your visit regardless of notice.  We will arrange a refund.

To cancel please call us on 01392 426 850.  

If a customer has been infected and makes contact with the public health authorities it will be up to them how they deal with us.  We are required to be able to provide a list of customers and times they have been in the centre, along with contact details, so that public health can deal with any outbreaks quickly.  As we have a member database and daily check in records, we will be able to comply with this easily.  GDPR considerations are covered in our existing protocols for storing customer data.  

If we have a known Covid-19 case in our centre, we will follow the Public Health England Guidance and advice from our Local Authority.

The latest guidelines provided by the UK Government for our sector can be found here

Sector specific guidance has been published by the Association of British Climbing Walls (the ABC) and approved by The British Mountaineering Council, the sport’s National Governing Body for England and Wales.  The ABC Guidelines can be found here.  These guidelines are compliant with those produced by the Department of Culture, media and Sport which have been written in consultation with UK Active, Sport England, Sport and Recreation Alliance, National Governing Bodies, Public Health England and the HSE.