The National Indoor Climbing Award Scheme

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The National Indoor Climbing Award Scheme (NICAS) focuses on roped climbing but also incorporates bouldering into the syllabus.

NICAS is the only nationally recognised scheme that introduces new climbers to climbing on indoor walls. The scheme focuses on making young climbers, getting them hooked for life, and giving them the tools to make this happen. Working through skill development, all safety aspects, as well as climbing ability, the 5 awarding levels have the perfect progression for all young climbers aged 7 and above.


  • 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, its 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.


The Scheme comprises five levels of award aimed at complete novices to advanced climbers. The scheme is split into two parts; Part 1 contains Levels 1 to 3 and Part 2 contains Levels 4 and 5. Upon registering with NICAS at Manchester Climbing Centre candidates receive a log booklet and log binder for Levels 1 to 3, and then a booklet for Levels 4 and 5 once Level 3 is completed. After achieving each level they are awarded with a certificate on behalf of the ABCTT.

The five levels are:

Level 1 – Foundation Climber An entry level award aimed at candidates that teaches the fundamentals of climbing in a fun and welcoming envirnment.

Level 2 – Top Rope Climber Moving on to introducing the skills and techniques that are fundamental to safe climbing and bouldering on indoor walls.

Level 3 – Technical Climber A more advanced top roping and bouldering level that focuses on developing the basic technique and movement skills learned in the previous levels.


Level 4 – Lead Climber Introduces and develops on the skills required to both lead climb and belay a lead climber.

Level 5 – Advanced Climber The top level that focuses on improving performance, a deeper understanding of climbing systems and the wider world of climbing.

For more details on NICAS visit

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