16th Dec 2009



I just wanted to let you know Im a big fan of yours. I'm 17 and have been climbing since I was around 9 years old. Climbing is all I think about and I really want to continue to improve. Unfortunately the only regular wall I can get to is a small 6 meter top roped wall at my school. Have you any tips of how to improve my climbing skills even without big facilities? Thank you


It's not an ideal situation but you're young and these circumstances will change. It just probably seems like there's no end to it at the moment.

To help with your training, you can put up a pull up bar, a finger board or if you have more space build a small woodie.

Trying to meet other climbers outside of school or joining a local climbing club will help, as they will be able to take you climbing.

Most areas of the UK have climbing walls of some sort, so check out the BMC's climbing wall directory and it will tell you what other facilities are in your area that you might not already know about. Rob Adie is the BMC's climbing wall officer, he'll be able to tell you how to get one if you don't already have a copy of the directory

With regards to building your own mini bouldering wall, all you need is some plywood panels, a bit of space in a garage, garden shed or some sort of outbuilding. Some very committed individuals have built walls in their bedroom but understandably, most parents wouldn't be up for that!

It is very easy to build something basic that will fulfill your need to climb. And making holds from wood rather than buying resin ones is a cheap option and they are kinder to your skin. There are lots of ideas on the net of other peoples homemade walls, so just take a bit of time to do some research if you think this is something you would be allowed to do.

If the routes are starting to feel too easy at school, you can make them feel harder by climbing in trainers or even using a weight belt. Don't go overboard though as you don't want to damage your fingers at this stage!

I hope some of these suggestions will work for you.