About the ABC

The Association of British Climbing Walls (ABC) was established in 1994 to promote safe management practices in climbing walls.  Over the past 20 years the Association has developed into what it does today:

the ABC promotes the professionalism, health and growth of indoor climbing.

The ABC exists to serve its members and is a company limited by guarantee with no share capital: any surplus is reinvested into activities that support members.  We work closely with sector partners to support and develop one of the fastest growing sports in the UK; indoor climbing is growing at 15-20% growth per annum and is a new Olympic Sport for 2020

The ABC represents 70% of the larger and medium-sized climbing and bouldering walls in the UK.

Recent market research conducted by the ABC showed that close to 1 million people climb independently indoors each year; this includes nearly 100,000 regulars who climb at least twice per month. Researchers estimated that 71% of these people climb indoors only.

Right now close to 1 million people climb independently indoors each year.

Climbing and bouldering walls are the facilities (like a swimming pool) that climbers use to engage in the sport. These facilities hold the key to understanding the patterns of behaviour of 1,000,000 people and provide the physical environment in which they can be influenced.  Acting at a national level, the ABC undertakes activities that benefit the whole indoor climbing sector; we focus our efforts where economies of scale and shared interests allow for the greatest impact.

Following a refresh of our strategy in 2017, the ABC is mobilising a series of programmes that will promote the professionalism, health and growth of indoor climbing.  The most significant of these are:

  1. For ABC members
  • In response to a survey of our members, we are completely refreshing our membership packages and will be adding a new quality assurance scheme to enhance professionalism.
  • We will launch a series of projects to support our members at different stages of their businesses’ lifecycle (e.g. training, risk management, annual conference)
  1. For indoor climbers
  • We are building a membership product targeted at indoor climbers that encourages community, retention, and enables competition
  • The ABC is creating a national marketing and PR capability to proactively support retention and growth of the sport. We want to create the conditions whereby more people are climbing more often.

Additionally, we are carrying out a range of organisational development activities, including growing our business, sector research, and adopting leading practice in sporting governance.

become a member of the Association of British Climbing Walls