NICAS-Primary-Centre-LogoNICAS – The National Indoor Climbing Award Scheme is a UK wide scheme designed to promote climbing development and accredit individual achievement on artificial climbing structures. It can be used as a starting point for people wishing to take up climbing and mountaineering. It is open to all candidates aged 7 and upwards.

NICAS – The National Indoor Climbing Award Scheme is a nationwide course for complete novices through to experienced indoor boulderers. The course aims to introduce young climbers to the skills and techniques in climbing walls using a harness and rope system to protect the climber.   It is open to candidates aged 7 and upwards.

Due to the high standard of our lead walls, top roped walls and our  bouldering and training facilities, along with the national governing body qualifications held by our coaches and instructors Rockcity is one of the UK’s original NICAS primary centres.  Making Rockcity one of only a handful of climbing centres capable of holding primary centre status for both NICAS and NIBAS.

The NICAS scheme is a great place for schools and colleges to progress in climbing with great learning outcomes, including GCSE PE modules.


Aims Of The Scheme

  • to develop climbing movement skills and improve levels of ability.
  • to learn climbing rope-work and how to use equipment appropriately.
  • to develop risk assessment and risk management skills in the sport.
  • to work as a team, communicate with, and trust a climbing partner.
  • to provide a structure for development, motivation and improved performance.
  • to develop an understanding of the sport, it’s history and future challenges.
  • to provide a record of personal achievement.
  • to point the way to further disciplines and challenges in climbing beyond the scheme.


Structure Of The Scheme

The Scheme comprises five levels of award aimed at complete novices to expert climbers. The scheme is split into two parts and takes a minimum of 100 hours to complete in its entirety. Part 1 contains Levels 1 and 2 and Part 2 contains Levels 3 to 5.  Upon registering with an Awarding Centre candidates receive a log booklet for Levels 1 and 2 and a log binder with booklet for Levels 3 to 5.  After achieving each level they are awarded with a certificate on behalf of the ABCTT.

The five levels are:

  1. Foundation Climber
    An entry level aimed at novices that recognises their ability to climb safely under supervision.
  2. Top Rope Climber
    Aimed at promoting good practice in climbing and bouldering unsupervised on an artificial wall.
  3. Technical Climber
    A more advanced top roping and bouldering level that focuses on developing technique and movement skills.
  4. Lead Climber
    Concentrates on the skills required to both lead climb and belay a lead climber.
  5. Advanced Climber
    The top level that focuses on improving performance, a deeper understanding of climbing systems and the wider world of climbing.

We run NICAS courses every weekend during each term for 4-6 weeks, pop into Rockcity or give us a call to book onto the next available  NICAS course or find out how NICAS can benefit your school or group.
Telephone: 01482 223030, Alternatively you can email us at
Check out this NICAS film for a glimpse at what its all about.