01690 720214

Get Started Rock Climbing - 5 days

Course Overview

Become a rock climber on this five-day course.

This extensive introductory course gives you the best possible foundation in the skills you need to safely enjoy rock climbing.

During the week you'll visit a variety of different rock climbing venues, carefully chosen to help you develop your climbing technique, learn what equipment is right for you and how you should use it.

This course will you the perfect foundation to enjoy a lifetime of rock climbing.

Experience Required

None required

Scheduled Dates

Detailed Course Notes

You should be 18 years old to attend this course.

Who is it for?

The course is for anyone who wants a fun and educational introduction to rock climbing. You will look at the essential skills to get you started. You don’t need any previous experience, or need to be a gymnast, just be keen to have some fun and do some climbing.

Course Content

We feel it is very important for you to progress at your own pace. Therefore we carefully select climbs that suit your aspirations and ability. Our high staff to student ratio allows us to do this. Each morning the course staff will decide on a venue which is best suited to the weather conditions and the group. Our programme is flexible, but we intend to spend the first two days on single pitch crags (less than one rope length high). For the final three days we split into smaller groups and tackle some of the larger multi pitch crags. Over the five days we intend to look at the following areas:

  • Bouldering (shorter climbs on boulder used to develop technique)

  • Introduction to simple ropework

  • Belaying (controlling the rope for the climber)

  • Single and multi pitch ascents

  • Abseiling

  • Use of technical equipment

  • Stance organisation (arranging everything on a ledge, part way up)

  • Understanding the principles of lead climbing

  • Safe descents

  • Joining the BMC

  • Where do I go from here? - after the course

With a full five days out, we will try to visit a range of venues, from high mountain crags and slate quarries to sea cliffs.

Useful Books

  • Rock Climbing by Libby Peter (MLTUK official publication)
  • Sport Climbing+ - Rockfax publication by Adrian Berry
  • Trad Climbing+ - Rockfax publication by Adrian Berry
  • Classic Rock & Hard Rock by Ken Wilson
  • Way Of the Rock Warrior & Espresso Lessons  by Arno Ilgner
  • 9 out of 10 Climbers Make The Same Mistakes by Dave MacCloud
  • How To Climb Harder by Mark Reeves
  • Masterclass Part 1 and 2 by Neil Gresham
  • Get Out On Rock by Libby Peters and Neil Gresham
  • Self Rescue For Climbers by Steve Long and Olly Sanders
  • BMC Summit Magazine
  • Climb Magazine
  • Climber Magazine
Websites www.thebmc.co.uk

What's Included In The Price?

Whether you choose to stay with us or you have alternative accommodation nearby, the following items are included in the total cost.

    Free tea, coffee or selected hot drinks for the duration of your visit
    Afternoon tea & homemade cakes
    Equipment hire
    Free (low-speed) wifi access in the bar & dining room
    In course transport
    Railway station pick up & drop off (please call to arrange)
    Parking with CCTV surveillance
    Free use of climbing wall, gym, MTB skills course & rolling pool

    If you choose to stay with us, these items are also included in the total cost:

    Accommodation the night before your course
    Accommodation during your course
    Breakfast & evening meal
    Bar Lunch/packed lunch

Accommodation For This Course

Plas y Brenin Main House

Your course is based at Plas y Brenin, The National Mountain Sports Centre in Capel Curig, North Wales, LL24 0ET.

If you are staying with us,

If you have chosen to add accommodation onto this course or holiday it is usually in the main house in a comfy en-suite room (normally shared with another guest). Each room has tea and coffee making facilities and all bed linen and towels are provided.

This includes accommodation the night before your first day. Your room will be available from 6pm. On your last day you will need to vacate your room by 10am. It is sometimes possible to arrange to stay an extra night please phone 01690 720214 for availability and cost.

Secure storage facilities, showers and toilets are available for you to use on your departure day once you have checked out of your room should you need them, please ask at reception.

Also included, if you chosen to add accommodation, are all your meals - breakfast, packed lunch, afternoon tea and freshly baked cakes and a three course evening meal. Please bear in mind an evening meal is not provided on the night before your course or on the last day of your course but our bar will be serving meals from 7.00pm until 8.45pm.

If you are are not staying with us but coming in each day,

If you choose to come in daily for your course or holiday you will need to arrive ready for a 9am welcome talk on the first day. For the rest of your course or holiday you will need to be here for 9.15am. We return from a full day of activity, usually in time for tea and cakes at 5pm (included).

There are more activities from 5.30 - 6.30 on some days of your course or holiday, please check on the first day.

For most of our awards and qualification courses there will be further evening sessions on some days which you need to attend, please check on the first day.

There is an 8pm adventure talk by one of our coaches on Saturday, Monday and Wednesday evenings which you are welcome to come to. Find out more about the upcoming talks here.

On the final day you will be finished by 5pm.

For courses based on-site our bar will be serving lunches from 12pm until 2pm or you are welcome to bring a packed lunch.

If your course is based away from the centre then you will need to bring a packed lunch with you. Each evening our bar serves evening meals from 7pm until 8.45pm if you wish to eat here.

You can arrange to have any of the following meals - breakfast, packed lunch and a three course centre dinner, by contacting our customer services team on 01690 720214 or

follow this link for more details

What Equipment Do You Need To Bring?

  • Warm outdoor wear which is comfortable to climb in - at all times of year e.g. walking trousers (shorts in summer), thermal layers/base layers, fleeces which are comfortable to climb in

  • Warm hat, gloves, neck gaiter/buff, sun hat

  • Trainers or approach shoes

  • Day rucksack (approx. 40-50 Litres)

  • Rucksack liner (e.g. rubble bag or dry bag)

  • Small personal first aid kit

  • Drinks bottle

  • Flask

  • Waterproof jacket and trousers

  • Lunch box/bag

  • High factor sunscreen

  • Midge repellant

  • Notebook and pen

If you already have:

  • Rock boots

  • Chalk bag

  • Harness

  • Helmet

  • Belay device

  • Climbing rack

The following items are available for you to borrow from our equipment stores so you don't need to rush out to buy them. Ropes are always provided by Plas y Brenin.

  • Rock boots

  • Chalk bag

  • Harness

  • Helmet

  • Belay device

  • Climbing rack

  • Day rucksack

  • Waterproof jacket and trousers

Customer Reviews For This Course

Fantastic course fantastic week!

Robin monk

This is my second time doing a course at PYB and certainly not the last! I loved ever day, from indoor plastic to Holyhead mountain quartzite, to llanberis slate quarry to sunny Tramadog dolerite and a very wet but very satisfying tricky send on limestone. Bouldering, single and multi pitch climbs all with expert tuition and guidance,professional and relaxed learning going at whatever pace the group decides. Instruction from Will Nicholls and Cath Wilson was a credit to PYB and I can't recommend both high enough. In short... do this course and stay on site! Accommodation and catering are superb and set you up right for the day and welcome you right when you return, with the bar as a very welcome bonus. Evening talks in a range of subjects keep your evenings busy too. Ill be back soon. Thanks again Robin

Fantastic experience

Geoff Lee

Clean, comfortable room, good food and expert instruction from excellent instructors. Course director Helen took us through basic climbing on the first day, gradually building in more difficult routes on single pitch crags until, on the fourth and fifth days, we were joined by James, our second instructor, and began climbing multi-pitch routes. All the while we were learning techniques for climbing, belaying and much else, all in a practical setting that put theory immediately into practice. There were three of us on the course and we were each allowed to develop at our own individual pace with choices of routes that were either more or less challenging as each climber preferred. A thoroughly enjoyable week and one of the best experiences I've had. I would recommend PYB without hesitation to anyone interested in learning rock climbing or developing existing skills.

Amazing experience

Susanna Stokes

My friend and I joined the 'Get Started Rock Climbing' 5 day course several weeks ago and I'm still amazed at how much I personally achieved, both physically and mentally. This is all thanks to the wonderful instructors, Will and Rachael. Apart from 2 hours on a climbing wall a few months prior to the course, I had never rock climbed so I really was 'getting started' in rock climbing. Will and Rachael were with the group of 10 for the first 2 days and then days 3-5 were much more bespoke, with my friend and I with Rachael. This attention to detail was just amazing and helped me build my confidence and climbing ability day by day. I can't praise Rachael enough for her leadership, patience, sense of humour and knowledge, she is a real asset to Plas Y Brenin.
The course was well paced and we were taken to some lovely locations which really mixed up the week.
All instructors that I came into contact with were very professional.
The set-up at Plas Y Brenin is excellent too. Rooms are comfy, meals all delicious and packed lunch great too. Bar area is a lovely spot to relax after a day outside and the evening lectures are really interesting.
I'm so glad that I booked onto this course, I achieved everything I set out to do - challenge myself by putting myself way out of my comfort zone, learn some new skills and have fun. I look forward to returning to Plas Y Brenin for another course in the future and to carry on climbing locally to where I live.

Amazing Introduction


The quality of instruction was incredible, the instructor-student ratio was great. The locations were awesome. All the equipment you could need. Lovely accomodation in an amazing setting. Lots of fun, I would definitely recommend it :) Only drawback was the level of variety in the group members' needs which needed to be taken into account when planning the day.


Ray Watkins

Overall excellent, need WIFI in the rooms.
It would be nice if the bar was open at 5.
Will return.
Ray Watkins

Highly recommended


We began with climbing posture and footwork and progressed to multi pitch climbing, all under the guidance of professional instructors who made it enjoyable throughout. By the end of the 5 days we had become competent ‘seconds’. The food, rooms, and centre were all great, the staff were all very welcoming, and the others on the course were a lot of fun. Overall it was well worth it, thank you PYB.

Had a wonderful time!

Matt Warden

I'd never climbed before, so didn't know what to expect, but after this course I've decided that I definitely like climbing!

The instructors were friendly, cheerful, and fantastic teachers, the food was amazing, the staff at the centre were all helpful, and the other people on the course were great fun.

The instructors did a great job of showing us the basics, so we were outside climbing in next to no time, yet at the same time it seemed as if I'd had plenty of time to practice the various bits of rope work etc. we needed to know.

Even though I went during a rainy spell, the instructors did a fantastic job of finding dry places to go climbing, so in the end I hardly used my waterproofs at all.



I have had the most amazing week ever!
I had no previous experience at all of climbing or rock's, and i have had the most fantastic inspiring week of my life.
Speaking as a once absolute novice i, would now feel really confident to climb, after only 5 day's!
If you are contemplating taking a course at Plas y Brenin you will not regret it.

A fantastic week

Stef Wischhusen

I had some prior climbing experience (mainly indoor, and a few sport climbs) but booked onto the course to make sure I had the basics right. Some of my group had no climbing experience but the instructors were able to accommodate all abilities. By the end of the week I felt confident as a second and had completed my first trad lead climb.
The instructor: student ratio was excellent, allowing us to progress depending on our abilities and confidence. The final 3 days were spent with 1 instructor to 2 students, allowing us to progress to longer, multi-pitch routes or stick to the lower routes for those who didn't feel confident at heights.
In addition to the amazing climbing I'd thoroughly recommend the centre; my room was comfortable, the food was excellent and the bar proved a pleasant place to relax and unwind from the day

Interesting course, great teacher

Matteo Santoro

Very interesting and complete course, nice progression through the week. The atmosphere and general team work has been excellent every single day, even during the one with the accident and the mountain rescue services involved. We all felt always very safe having him around. Matt really is a superb teacher, very passionate about the mountains, the sport, and the teaching. A combination not always easy to find




................only one day of rain!!??

Richard Stockting

5th October - 9th October

Extremely good tuition.

Paul, Dave, James, Tasmin and Helen are all very good at what they do and it is obvious (and enviable) that they each have plenty of experience to call on.

Safety and attention to detail was continually evident.

The food was very good, the accommodation a little drab and dark and the seating in the dining hall a little cramped, but overall an excellent week spent on a course well worth recommending.

Thank you very much.

What vaue !!! Fantastic.

Tony Graham

All in all a fantastic week, albeit during a Welsh dry spell !! A very thorough and well thought out course that fulfilled all my expectations, and more. Great company, great instructors (and plenty of them), and friendly PYB staff through and through. I can without any qualms recommend the course, and PYB in general............Tony G.

Simply superb !

Vince Cosgrove

5 days of excellent tuition by very highly qualified, patient, enthusiastic instructors. A couple of mornings on PYB's indoor walls and the rest of the time putting it into practice outside on a variety of different crags. Free hire of equipment, great accomodation, excellent instructor ratio (4 out of 5 days with one instructor for every 2 students). Even free use of the climbing walls at the end of the days activities. You can learn some new skills & push your boundaries whilst absorbing a healthy regard for whats going to keep you safe.
Highly recommended and great fun, I left the centre with a newfound zeal for all things rocky

Many Thanks to James, Andy, Dave and all the rest of the team !

Jim Seale

Great course. All in our group had done a tiny amount (eg a 2 hour indoor 'taster') somewhere before but probably not necessary. Very impressed by the instructors: world class professionals. Patient, humourous, enthusiasts. If you couldn't do something or repated the same mistake this seemed to be taken as an opportunity for their development rather than a glitch in your own. Two days in a one to four ratio and three days in one to two ratio with these guys was not so much 'value for money' as a priveledge. How did they manage to get four separate pairs doing different all day multi pitch climbs, learning everything they wanted to learn at a relaxed pace in complete safety to routinely finish within five minutes of eachother? (Health and) safety are generally a bit of a chore in most workplaces. You can't get a healthier five days than this. The 'safety' was, for me, a truly fascinating form of practical engineering that served to enhance the adventure rather than taking it away. True craftsmen. Special thanks to Dave 'Cheshire Cat' Rudkn. I'll be back with the family.

One of the best weeks of my life

Audrey G

I found PYB online and decided that a week of rock climbing would be a good break from visiting relatives (I was visiting from Canada). I definitely made the right choice! I had a wonderful, wonderful time. I cannot say enough about the PYB staff, especially instructors Louise T. and Matt S. They were patient, helpful, funny, and generally INCREDIBLE. I came home and immediate bought a full set of climbing gear. I am hooked!!! I've been back for a week and I've already gone climbing twice! It's a great course for those who are looking to move from indoor to outdoor climbing. 10/10!!!

No wonder it's the National Mountain Centre!

Ollie Olver

What a fantastic course! I have previous experience of climbing and am registered for the Single Pitch Award but was looking for something to concolidate my experience. This was not the course I was advised to take but the only one available over my dates. None of that really mattered.

The fact that the course is called "Under your own steam" says alot. The instructors were both fantastic and started off with our small group going through the basics and then helped us as a course cover the areas we wanted in a controlled and progressive manner throughout the week.

Our course "under our own steam" saw us progress through the following through the week:

Monday - The basics, single pitch climbing, absailing, bottom belaying & boldering,

Tuesday - Single pitch climbing and top belaying,

Wed & Thursday - Multi-pitch climbing, belay stances, seconding and leading as well as placing protection and anchors.

Friday - a consolidation of all we did throught the week with more multi-pitch climbs.

The facilities at PYB are fantastic as is the food and being in the Warrent Officers mess at the Royal Military Academy, I know good food!

The evening presentations are informative and interesting and really spur you on to thinking what you could do next.

As previously mentioned the Instructors were fantastic in all areas and you soon had your trust in them, which is a good job as your on the other end of the rope!

I was looking for a course that I could improve my rock climbing skills prior to doing my SPA Training, for me this did the job perfectly! If your looking for a place to do any Adventure/Outdoor Training this is the place to do it. I'll be back at PYB as soon as I can looking at either progressing my rock climbing, kayaking or mountain work.

A massive Thank you, to all at PYB!

What a great week!

Cat McAvoy

What a great week! Having climbed a little bit indoors about 10yrs ago and always with the intention of heading outdoors, this course acted as the catalyst I needed to get me out on the rock. It's a steep learning curve but I'd got further than I could have wished to by the end of the 5 days. The instructors (Luke & Tamsin) were brilliant and knew exactly where your boundary of ability lay and how to push it enough to leave you heading back to the centre at the end of the day with confidence. I've returned to Cornwall with renewed enthusiasm and now find myself tackling the multi-pitched routes of that the sea cliffs have to offer! Exactly what I was hoping for.

Had twice as much fun and learnt 10 times as much as I expected!

Kitty Meeks

I honestly can't think of anything negative to say about this course - everything from the instruction to the accommodation was fantastic!

The wonderful instructors, and high instructor to student ratio (1 to 2 for the last 3 days of the course) meant I did things I'd never have imagined possible at the start of the week, as we tackled classic multi-pitch climbs at our own pace under expert supervision. And there's no shortage of inspiration for the aspiring climber, with so many fantastic routes practically within sight of the centre.

After a hard day's climbing, it's a pleasure to return to the comfort of Plas y Brenin, and in particular the delicious food. The challenge of the evening is finding space for a three-course dinner (I particularly loved the fact there were five main course options, including two veggie) after the delicious 5pm cakes!

I'm hugely grateful to everyone who made the course so enjoyable and satisfying - this was my first time doing any serious climbing, but it certainly won't be the last! And I'm already scanning the website to choose my next course at Plas y Brenin...!


Richard Holowka

I could not have asked for more from this course. Total beginner to competent second in a week. I cannot believe how much I learnt. I got to climb at some excellent and varied crags and the instructors were simply amazing. When coupled with the fantastic standards of the accomdation and catering this course was terrific value for money.

Not found what you were looking for?

You can hire one of our coaches instructors or guides from only £250 per day. They'll tailor the day to suit your aims and aspirations perfectly.
You can enjoy one to one coaching for that cost or if you get together as a group, depending on the activity, you can split that cost between up to 6 of you. If you are a group we can run any of our courses on a date that suits you and your friends. Or you could just write your own agenda for a week or weekend and we'll price it up for you - with or without accommodation. What's more, just like out normal course fees, our private instructor hire charge covers all your equipment too. Click on the link below to fill in a request form and one of our coaches will call you back (or e-mail if you'd prefer) to discuss things in detail with you.

Fill in a Callback Form

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