Clip N’ Climb is an indoor activity centre consisting of a number of colourful, challengingclimbing walls and two additional options in the form of a drop slide and leap of faith. Fun for the entire family, you can test your skills and strength in a safe and friendly environment.Whether you are 4 or 64- you are guaranteed to have a great time!
Having previously been based at the Exeter Clip N’ Climb, the first of its kind in Europe; Managers Ian Stocker and Laura Gemmell made the move to The Ship in Plymouth, after the impressive space became available.
Laura, who has a personal interest in climbing, tells us “The Ship is perfect because of its height. Finding a building which can accommodate such tall challenges can be a real difficulty, but here we were actually able to have the highest climbing wall out of all the Clip n’ Climb’s in the UK, the Big Cheese! We must admit to being super competitive and so wanted to make sure that we had the biggest, and of course the best”.
There are over 40 Clip N’ Climb’s in the UK, and the Plymouth branch opened in July last year.
Ian Stocker, who previously worked as an outdoor instructor since the age of 18, was based at the Exeter branch alongside Laura. “I started as assistant lead instructor, and worked my way up from there”. When their lease came to an end, they started the search for a new location.
“We are the only venue in the UK that is owned by the manufacturers. We share best practice- so whenever a new Clip N’ Climb opens myself and Laura meet with the staff and give them basic training. We have the most experience out of anybody, so we can pass on our knowledge and hopefully the brand will continue to benefit from that”.
Clip N Climb Plymouth has the most climbing walls in the UK, along with additional extras for the brave; the drop slide and the leap of faith.
The OM team were lucky enough to have a go on the climbing walls, so we can tell you firsthand what to expect when you visit. First, you are taken into the briefing room. This is the important part; safety procedures are explained and you are told how to put your harness on correctly.
All of the walls work with an auto belay system, which means yourself or your child can climb without worry of falling. A karabiner is attached to your harness at the bottom of each wall. The Auto Belay picks up the slack as you work your way up; and when you are ready to come down, simply let yourself go and the Auto Belay will control your descent.
As an extra safety precaution, a purple mat is located at the bottom of each climb. If this mat is down, this is an indication there is somebody climbing above, so it’s best to stay clear. The mat also acts as a physical barrier to the Auto Belay clip- you cannot climb unless you are clipped in!
“Some parents enjoy letting their kids do their own thing, in that case; we have our own café called 4 degrees West where they can enjoy a coffee and a range of hot snacks”. Laura tells us that parents and guardians also have the option of being a ‘clipper’, which means they can be more involved and unclip the child’s karabiner at the bottom of each wall. “Of course, some parents love to climb themselves which we also encourage!”
“All of the walls have three different challenges, so if you find one particularly easy then there are alternative ways to climb. Something that is simple for one person may be difficult for another. A lot of families say they enjoy the fact that it is something they can all get involved in on different levels”.
Clip N Climb offer party packages, and unlike many businesses there is no minimum number of people required to book. “We offer a standard hour and a half session as part of the package, and the birthday child gets a free go on either the drop slide or leap of faith. We decorate a table in the café with balloons and lay out a buffet style lunch for when you’re all climbed out”.
Clip N Climb offer party packages with no minimum number requirement, 20% Student discount and special events such as SEN and home education sessions. They also offer a 10% entry discount for the NHS and Military.
Ian and Laura want to the stress the importance of personal preference when it comes to climbing with them. “When it comes to disability or special needs- we don’t want to go ahead and say yes it’s great- because what might work for one person but not for someone else”. Clip N Climb are more than happy to walk you around their premises before you book a session, ensuring you are confident about what to expect.
“It’s great for confidence and anxiety” Laura explains. “One of my favourite things is watching people grow in confidence, even in just an hour! The change is incredible. People will start only a few feet off the floor, scared to let themselves go and by the end of the session they are right up there and jumping off with confidence”.
A lot of thought goes into the design process of the climbing walls. “The different walls will teach you a range of skills without you realising. Some teach you how to use undercuts or lay-backs, some teach you how to move your body, others you have to balance, some have overhangs; it’s sneaky learning and I love it”.
You don’t realise how many skills you are gaining from climbing, it’s sneaky learning as well as a fun physical activity.
The best way to ensure you climb is to book via the clip n’ climb website. The sessions run for an hour and a half and cost £12.50 per person. Ian tells us that the age limit starts from 4 years old, but there is no upper limit. “The oldest person we’ve had climb so far is 74. It really depends on your personality and confidence. The only apparatus we have to have a limit on is the drop slide and the leap of faith; you have to be a minimum of 120cm tall due to additional safety equipment needed”.
The Drop Slide and the Leap of Faith are both optional extra’s, and cost just £2.50. We all had a go and they are so much fun! The drop slide is fundamentally in reverse; rather than sitting at the top and letting yourself slide down, you hold on to the handles and you are pulled up the drop wall. Your upper body strength is tested; when you can’t possibly hold on anymore simply let go and you will fly down the drop.
Clip N Climb is a great venue for parties, an afterschool activity or even; as Laura and Ian tell us, first dates! Coupled with 4 Degrees West, their very own café- it makes for a great day out to try something new. Maybe you are a regular at Clip N Climb, or maybe you’ve not heard of them until now. Take it from us here at OM; whether you are young or old, it’s a great experience that you will want to keep trying again and again.