National Indoor Climbing Award Scheme (NICAS)


Every week thousands of people climb indoors and outdoors on purpose built artificial climbing walls. For many the climbing wall is their first introduction to the absorbing world of climbing.

The National Indoor Climbing Award Scheme is UK wide and is 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. The scheme is open to all candidates aged 7 and upwards.

The scheme provides a structure and motivation for new climbers to develop their skills in order that they may gain the most out of their climbing as well as having their achievements recognised.

NICAS Levels

Although the scheme is aimed towards children, anyone can participate. There are 5 Levels to the award and a certificate is issued upon completion of each level.  Queen’s PEC can issue certificates up to level 2 and the Ozone can issue certificates up to Level 3.

Level 1
Foundation climber is designed to be an introduction to the sport. Most children starting on this award during weekly classes will have it completed in around 6-12 weeks.

Level 2
Climbers are assessed to a point which normally meets the minimum requirements for unsupervised entry into a climbing wall. The climber must be able to demonstrate safe use of a climbing wall with no need for the instructor to intervene.

Level 3
Climbers have a greater knowledge and understanding of the use of climbing walls and equipment. They know how to use several different belay devices and are familiar with warming up exercises and climbing techniques.

How do I join?

To sign up to NICAS all you have to do is buy a NICAS logbook from the reception of the centre you climb at and take it with you to each class. The NICAS logbook comes in 2 parts. Part 1 covers levels 1 and 2 and is £4.50. Part 2 covers levels 3, 4 and 5 and is £7.

As you complete each section, the instructor will sign you off and award your certificate.

For more information on NICAS, please see their website or speak to a Sticky Feet instructor.