Frequently Asked Questions

Is it fun?

Always. Climbing is fantastic because not only is it physical but also creative. Its up to you to find a way to get up the climb, there aren't any rules when it comes to technique - anything goes. It can be a little scary at times, particularly when starting out, but getting over the fear is great fun and everyone is very supportive, then it becomes one of the most exciting, amusing and generally enjoyable past times you can experience.

Is climbing dangerous?

Climbing can be dangerous.  Obviously you're putting yourself in a position where you could potentially fall but, with correct use of safety gear and good judgement, rock climbing becomes one of the safer sports out there. As long as correct technique is followed, potential damage can be limited to the occasional scratched knuckle and bruised knee. 

AURAC is a very safety conscious club, we have a culture of looking out for each other, with the more experienced members instructing in proper techniques and making sure everyone is climbing safely and responsibly.  We also run regular instruction courses to upskill our members.  Our safety gear is maintained at a high standard by our gear officer and retired if it is damaged (whether visible or suspected) according to standard climbing practice.

Clearly if you choose to take more risks there are plenty of avenues to do so, but AURAC endeavours to ensure that climbers are well informed about what they are doing and what can happen.

How big/strong do I need to be to climb?

The short answer is you don't. Good climbing technique involves placing as much of your weight as possible on your feet at all times. With regular climbing, you will develop more strength in your arms, but starting to climb with too much upper body strength is actually rather detrimental to the development of good technique.  Being tall can have benefits, but there are times when it's impossible to fit a large frame between some closely spaced holds.  Every climbing problem can be solved in many different ways, and your climbing style will be influenced by your body type, flexibility and past experience.

Do I need to bring a partner with me to belay with?

The purpose of AURAC is to bring people together so they can climb together.  By all means, bring a friend along, it's good having dedicated climbing buddies, but through our club nights, instruction courses and general advice from experienced climbers we try to foster an environment where everyone can be confident in each others belaying abilities.  If you arrive to a club night alone, there will almost certainly be someone else there looking for someone to climb with for the night.

What should I wear climbing?

As little as you can get away with, basically clothes that don't restrict your movement. Shorts are often better than long trousers but loose fitting or stretchy long trousers can protect your knees from abrasion.  Climbing is relatively energetic so you will sweat, particularly indoors in summer.  The ventilation at the rec centre is somewhat lacking and most climbing gyms are housed in corrugated iron sheds so are quite warm inside.  As far as footwear goes, the university gym requires that shoes are worn.  Because you are standing on rather small things, the tighter fitting and thinner the shoe is, the better.  The club has a stock of climbing shoes for you to borrow, but you can't always get a pair so it's worth coming with a pair of relatively tight sneakers or, better still, buying your own climbing shoes! You'll be amazed at the difference it makes to your ability to stick to the rock.


We often get people shouting this at us once they learn a thing or two about climbing. The answer is simple, all is explained here.