Climbing is one of the core sports we do as a club, with a focus on ice or rock climbing depending on the time of year and the conditions. Our non-winter meets are often at venues with a choice of bouldering, single pitch or multipitch. We're not very hardcore; most of our members climb between VDiff and the lower E grades (British trad grades - up to about F6c if you're looking at sport/indoor grades). Our meets are mostly UK-based and hence we normally do trad, though there are occasional ventures to bolted crags for some sport climbing action. Members often arrange climbing trips outside the official meets list, in the UK and abroad.
Some Rockhoppers climb at the Castle Climbing Centre on Tuesday and Thursday nights, and often arrange other informal sessions at other venues including the Westway, Mile End and the Biscuit Factory. Check out our Facebook page to find who's going when.
You don't need to have climbed before to become a member, though you are more likely to find a climbing partner if you're a competent belayer and second - and even more so if you have a rack and rope and are willing to lead! Don't fret if not, we welcome new members and will do our best to find you people to climb with, and offer advice on how to learn the skills you need. Please note that we're not a training or guiding organisation, and cannot provide direct training for new members. However, we also run an annual Novice Meet where experienced climbers help out members who want to try climbing or improve their skills.
If you're new to the club and would like to climb on a trip, we recommend trying to meet up with us at the climbing wall or a pub meet ahead of the trip - it's always easier to persuade people to climb with you if they know you.
A rope (or two) and lead climbing rack is not essential to climb on trips but you will be more independent and probably find it easier to get climbing partners if you do have some of your own gear.
A trad climbing apprenticeship is generally a good idea before trying to progress through the grades on lead as the consequences of a fall on badly placed gear is serious regardless of how hard the climb is. Specialist trad leading courses are highly recommended to complement your general experience. As mentioned above, the book Rock Climbing: Essential Skills and Techniques by Libby Peter will be very helpful too.
A trad lead rack is a huge investment – many climbers go for the cheapest gear to build a rack quickly then end up wanting to replace it as soon as they start progressing through the grades so it’s always worth getting a feel for stuff and trying other people's before investing. Coordinating gear with someone you climb with a lot is one way to keep the cost down. The Needle Sports website has fairly comprehensive advice on buying trad gear.