Reopening Frequently Asked Questions

White Angles

Find out everything you need to know about climbing safely at TCA during the time of coronavirus.

Climbing safely

As we reopen The Climbing Academy there are rules in place that will ensure everyone can climb safely. Please familiarise yourself with these before climbing. They may evolve over time.

There will be a phased reopening, with an initial focus on the basics of climbing. Additional classes and services will return over time. Please read, our answers to your frequently asked questions.


How have TCA’s cleaning procedures changed?

TCA is doing everything within reason to protect customers and staff, as well as limiting the spread of Covid-19 to the wider community. A risk assessment has lead to the following policies and procedures being put in place:

• Where possible all doors will be left open to limit spreading the virus.
• All door handles and surfaces touched by customers will be cleaned once per hour by our staff.
• Until further notice we will NOT allow the use of water fountains.
• Toilets and showers will be cleaned as normal but, as noted, taps and door handles will be cleaned once an hour.
• Rental shoes will be cleaned as normal using sanitiser spray by TCA staff.
• Rental equipment will be cleaned when they are handed out and returned to staff using sanitiser wipes.
• Top ropes, auto-belay tapes and harnesses will not be cleaned.
• Customers and staff should wash their hands before and after handling equipment and make regular use of the sanitiser within centres or hand-washing thoroughly at sinks.

Can I hire shoes – and harnesses (if rope climbing)?

Yes. Please sanitise your hands before and after use.

How was the new centre capacity calculated?

Our capacity limits are based on guidelines from UK Active in line with government advice. At least 9sqm of usable centre space, per climber.

How is TCA managing the number of people in the centre?

TCA will be observing the latest limitations on numbers of people within a given enclosed space, as informed by industry guidelines created by the Association of British Climbing Walls. This will be managed by a new mandatory check-in and check-out system for all people within the building including staff, visitors, contractors and customers.

You can monitor current capacity via our live online capacity tracker. Please observe signage and move through centres accordingly.

By buying your entry online, you can help to limit contact with our staff and other customers at reception. Choose your preferred centre and buy pre-paid passes, multi-visit punch cards and monthly billed passes online. Please note that choosing one centre just helps us to keep track of preferences. Your pass or punch card will be valid in all TCA centres. NB. Off-peak passes are currently only available at reception.

The Mothership
The Newsroom
The Church
The Prop Store

Will you have a system to pre-book slots?

No. Pre-allocated slots would create start and end times during which there would be a much higher chance of queues and crowds, at reception and in toilets. There would be congestion as one time slot left and another arrived. We want to minimise queues and avoid funnelling centre-users into crowded arrival times by allowing a constant flow throughout the day.

The only exception is that the kids area at The Newsroom can be booked to avoid families queuing for this much smaller space.

Is my membership frozen?

All memberships that were active before lockdown were automatically frozen while we were closed and will be unfrozen on the day of opening (which is likely to be 12 April in Bristol and 26 April in Glasgow).

If you would prefer to remain frozen, please send us a request via My TCA.

If your membership was still frozen prior to the most recent lockdown, you will remain frozen. Just let us know via My TCA when you are ready to come back or if you would like to cancel your membership.

Will holds be washed more often?

No. Due to practical limitations, hold cleaning will continue at its normal rotation. We have provided disinfectant dispensers throughout our centres and encourage all customers to regularly clean their hands. Good hand hygiene, before, during and after the climbing session is, therefore, the primary means of managing the potential smear infection risk posed by climbing holds. We will publish the calendar for resets over time.

Will liquid chalk kill coronavirus?

Liquid chalk is not a replacement for hand sanitiser or thorough hand-washing. You may wish to use it as a back-up (especially if over 70% alcohol). You will be able to purchase liquid chalk from the TCA shop. Please ensure it has dried completely before climbing. Whilst we are encouraging the use of liquid chalk, particle chalk will NOT be banned. Please mark your bottle/tube clearly so that it is not picked up by someone else and avoid leaving hard objects on the mats. Read promising news of research on chalk and coronavirus.

Do I need to bring my own hand sanitiser?

No. You may bring your own sanitiser – which should have an alcohol content of over 70%, although TCA will have hand sanitiser available from multiple locations throughout centres. We encourage our customers to use the available sanitiser – or thoroughly wash their hands with soap – as often as possible on arrival, throughout your session, especially if changing climbing areas and before leaving.

Are centres ventilated?

TCA will ensure all sites are ventilated as much as possible with the systems we have in place. This will include making sure fans and extraction are always on and turned to an appropriate level. All available and appropriate doors and windows will be left open to encourage airflow.

When is the quietest time in your centres?

In a recent survey of our climbers, over 70% indicated that they intend climbing at the same time, on the same days as they used to. So while we cannot yet confirm, we expect mornings to remain the quietest time of day. If you would like to climb but you would prefer to have fewer people around you, we would recommend trying to be flexible with the time of day you attend. Weekday evenings are always our busiest time. If you have any leeway, please think about varying your attendance times to help ease congestion. Keep an eye on our capacity tracker at your preferred times for up-to-date indications.

Will you be open at the same time as you used to?

To help us manage staffing and budgets, our opening times may vary from previous patterns. Click locations for the latest hours.

How is TCA managing social distancing?

• The distance between staff and customers will be managed using clear signage and markings.
• Screens will be in place to protect our staff and customers at till points.
• There is an expectation on all customers to observe social distancing with other customers in the building.
• Groups that require closer interaction, such as beginners lessons or classes for young children, will not initially be run. Only groups where we are confident that social distancing can be respected will be restarted.

Do I have to wear a mask when climbing?

Wearing a face covering will be mandatory in all areas except when climbing, exercising in the gym and eating/drinking in the cafe. This includes time spent on the mats in between climbs. Before removing a face covering and putting it on, customers should sanitise their hands to avoid contamination.

Will you be running groups, clubs and lessons?

We will run selected groups under the appropriate guidelines as soon as we possibly can and we will provide notice of this to customers.

I have a pass, so can I bypass the queue?

No. Because we will have to manage the capacity of the centre closely, the queuing system will apply to all users of the centre. Join the queue on arrival (if there is one) and when it’s your turn, scan your card using the express check-in scanner for entry.

Where can I buy entry online?

To help minimise congestion at tills, we are asking visitors to buy entry online, where possible. There are a number of ways to do this. Punch cards are pre-paid visits. You can buy them in 5s or 10s and they can be used anytime. You can also sign up for pre-paid passes online. You find out about the options on our prices page. This could be via a rolling monthly payment or a time-limited pass, e.g. 1 month or 1 year. To buy passes or punch cards online click on the links below:

Choose your preferred centre. Please note that choosing one centre just helps us to keep track of users. Your pass or punch card will be valid in all TCA centres.

The Mothership
The Newsroom
The Church
The Prop Store

NB. Off-peak passes are currently only available at reception.

As an external instructor or coach can I just turn up with a group?

No. All external group leaders must contact TCA in advance of attending one of our centres to discuss whether this is possible for their group. We will not provide entry to any groups that turn up without booking.

I’m concerned about social distancing in toilets and changing areas, what are you doing about that?

We are asking all climbers to come ready to climb. The more people who do this, the less congestion we’ll have in these spaces. Where available, accessible toilets will provide a socially distant space for changing. Where possible please avoid bringing excessive belongs into centres and always use the lockers provided – keeping walkways clear.

Will children’s classes be running as usual?

We will run selected groups under the appropriate guidelines as soon as we possibly can and we will provide notice of this to customers.

What will happen to lost property now?

Once identified, lost property will be returned to customers in a sealed and dated plastic bag. The customer should then quarantine the item for 3 days before being opened. Storage space is already limited in centres and with more climbers bringing their own water, we are likely to have more lost property. Please make every effort to take your belongings home with you.

Will your cafe be open?

Our cafes will open in accordance with current government advice.

Will TCA only be open to non-members initially?

No. Anyone can climb. We are not placing limits on who can climb. While we can’t predict numbers precisely, many of our climbers have indicated that they will reduce their frequency of attendance or not return. With leaving times varying for all climbers, we do not expect that you will have to queue for a very long time. We will, of course, review this over time and it may change.

Can I sit in the cafe without paying in?

We are operating a reduced capacity to enable everyone in the building to social distance. We therefore need everyone to check-in. We want to maximise the number of climbers in the building, so if someone is sitting in the café, they are taking up a space that a climber with a pass could be using. We are keen to avoid having climbers waiting at reception. Therefore, currently, we are asking all visitors to pay for entrance whether they are climbing or not. This may change as we move forward. We can provide take away food and drink for those customers wanting to just use the cafe.


Any more questions?

If your question is not answered above or on our rules page, you can submit a question by emailing Helen. Please add “QUESTION” in the subject line. Almost all staff are currently furloughed, so we cannot guarantee an immediate answer, but we will work through them as soon as we can.

Get ready to climb

Please make sure you have read and familiarised yourself with our rules before coming back to climb. We look forward to seeing you back.