Edinburgh boasts a wide range of walls to suit nearly every climbing need - from tight knit communities, to top notch training areas, to 25m lead walls, there’s something for everyone in the city!
(In light of Covid-19, pricings for centres might change or differ from those on their websites - if in doubt, call the centres directly at the numbers listed on their website for the most up-to-date information.)
SPORT AND EXERCISE CLIMBING WALL
Where: Edinburgh University Pleasance Sport and Exercise, EH8 9TJ (i.e., the gym!)
What: Top rope, Lead, Bouldering
Style: Broadly classic technical lines, excellent for outdoor training and footwork as one of the only textured walls in Edinburgh
Competitions?: 2 per semester
The Sport and Exercise Climbing Wall, fondly called ‘CSE’ (the old name of the gym), is located right in the centre of the city, only a 10 minute walk from central campus. With a cosy vibe to the centre, it boasts one of the tightest knit communities of all Edinburgh centres, and is perfect for making new friends and finding belay and boulder partners. With a range steep to slabby bouldering panels and roped lines, the setting often leans into requiring - and often teaching! - classical footwork and core tension technique, with a variety of more burly or dynamic lines to keep things interesting. Perfect for building up for the great outdoors.
Where: 8 Pier Place, EH6 4LP
What: Top rope, Lead, Bouldering
Style: Generally technical and tension-y lines, with some very tricky hold sets at higher grades
Competitions?: No, excluding hosting YCS (Youth Climbing Series) Scotland
The OG climbing wall in Edinburgh, Alien Rock has been open for over 25 years and shows no signs of slowing down in its offering of excellent roped lines. Offering over 200 routes, it’s an excellent centre in town to squeeze in an endurance session in an intriguing setting - the inside of an old church! Setting tends to be technical and requiring high degrees of body tension, and on harder routes a good level of finger strength is often required as some holds can get quite gnarly!
Where: 23 Dunedin Street, EH7 4JG
Style: Ranging; a broad mix of technical/tension-y and more modern dynamic comp-style routes
Competitions?: Winter series, at least 2 per semester focussing around the winter months
The bouldering brother to Alien Rock, Alien Bloc provides an excellent training base in central Edinburgh thanks to not one but 2 MOON boards and a large warmup/training area, in addition to a considerably sized ‘splatter-board’. Featuring a top out area, range of angles and large roof area, the setting is broad and encompasses everything from the finest crimpy technical test pieces to running jump comp-style problems on huge holds.
Edinburgh International Climbing Arena (EICA, Ratho)
Where: South Platt Hill, EH28 8AA
What: Lead, Top Rope, Bouldering
Competitions: Sometimes, typically instead plays host to National/International Comps
The jewel in Edinburgh’s crown - and possibly why you may have chosen Edinburgh in the first place! - the EICA is a huge centre boasting hundreds of lead lines up to 30m tall, including their variable-angle competition wall that has seen the skill of some of the all time greats on the competition scene. Alongside these are plenty of autobelays and top ropes if you’re starting out or after a solo endurance session, and a comprehensive bouldering training area. Also unique to the centre are the outdoor-style moulded boulders, and, in fact, a host of trad and sport climbs just outside the centre! The only downside is the distance, as it is poorly served by public transport, however is only a 40 minute cycle down the canal.
Where: Edgefield Road Industrial Estate, EH20 9TB
Style: Largely comp-style and dynamic with plenty of big shoulder-y moves
Competitions: Winter series, at least 2 per semester focussing around the winter months
The newest bouldering wall in Edinburgh, Eden Rock is a gleaming competition-orientated wall featuring the biggest competition boulder wall of all Edinburgh centres, in addition to top outs, slabs and roofs. Unlike other centres in Edinburgh, the walls are slick as you’d expect of a competitive setup, leading to very precise footwork being required on many routes - with a good handful of times where the best strategy is to simply let the feet fly! Alongside their walls, they also offer 2 huge Beastmaker walls of wooden holds, making it an excellent venue for training, albeit requiring a bit more of a trek outside the city.