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11 Jul 2018 14:30

Nathan Phillips – 2018 World Cup Circuit Part 1

We are delighted to announce that Nathan Phillips again this year will be a White Spider sponsored climber, continuing a successful partnership.  Here is Nathan’s latest blog on his World Cup exploits in 2018 so far!


Hi! Nathan Phillips here again to let you all know what I’m getting up to as a White Spider sponsored athlete. This blog post is all about the 2018 IFSC Bouldering World Cup so far.

This season started back in April with the first round in Meiringen, Switzerland. I’d been feeling really good in the pre-season events like the Climbing Works International Festival in Sheffield and StudioBloc Masters in Germany, so I was keen to keep the ball rolling into the World Cups. Meiringen was a frustrating competition. After finishing my qualifying round I was sat in 10th place in my group (the last position that qualifies for semi-finals). So with a long and gruelling wait to see if anyone would knock me out, the last Climber finished and I was in! …or was I.

After publication of the results, an appeal had been made by another climber so that he was given an extra zone. This subsequently pushed me 1 place out of semis… unlucky I guess! But I can’t dwell on what ifs. All I can do is learn and prepare for the next competition.

Controlling the zone in Meiringen, Switzerland. (Photo courtesy of Sytse Van Slooten – @sytsevanslooten)


Moscow next. It was so cool to have the opportunity to visit Russia, even if we had a lot of issues obtaining a visa… the comp was a lot more basic than usual which was actually really fun. It meant you could give a real fight on every boulder rather than doing backflips onto volumes and hoping it works (slight exaggeration there). I do enjoy coordination moves but in moderation.

Another comp over and just out of ranking position this time.

‘How’s that ref?’ Topping out in Moscow (Photo courtesy of Eddie Fowke – The Circuit Climbing Magazine)


What happened in China!

Well, I went into the 2 Chinese competitions with a different mindset. Just focusing on appreciating what I get to do and really having fun. With this new mindset something just clicked and I had the best round of my life! I flashed every boulder in qualification of the Chongqing World Cup. Putting me in 1st place! The next competitor was a fair way behind on attempts. I was understandably ecstatic! Unfortunately semis didn’t go so well, I think I forgot to take the same mindset through on the next day. Still, lots of positives to take from this one!

What can’t speak can’t lie… Nathan dominating in qualifying in China. (Photo courtesy of Nathan Phillips – @nathanphillipsclimbing


Tai’an was a similar state of affairs. Maybe not on the same scale as the previous week, but I found myself back in semis. This time making sure I had the right head on. I climbed really well and I am truly happy with my performance. 2 tops and 4 zones didn’t put me that high up the scoreboard but saying that, I was actually only 1 move away from breaking into finals. It just shows how close these comps can be.

After a short break it came time to fly back to Asia for the Tokyo round. Yes! Back to my favourite city in the world (definitely one for the life tick list). After a great week training in the amazing gyms and exploring the sights of Tokyo it’s Comp time again. A super hard round where only 1 top was needed to make it through. Unfortunately I dropped a last move and couldn’t get it done this time. But we did get to cheer on our team mate Billy who sketched his way up a slab to get himself a spot in semis.


I decided to miss the Vail World Cup due to multiple reasons meaning I have a pretty big gap until the final round in Munich in August. In the meantime we have The British Championships and a trip to Rocklands in South Africa once again. I’ll let you know how I get on!


**SPOILER ALERT**… He went and won the British Championships…!


Find out more about White Spider-sponsored and TeamGB climber Nathan Phillips on Instagram (@nathanphillipsclimbing), Facebook and Twitter (@mutantfeather)

30 May 2017 20:03

Half Term Holiday Clubs!

This half term, we have 20% off all Holiday Clubs!  

Just use promotional code HOLIDAY2017 and get 20% Off.


  • Creepy Crawlies 5-6 years 
  • Arachnids 7-12 years 
  • Black Widows 13-17 years
  • Family Sessions 5 years+


Don’t forget, we have a coffee shop, so parents, you can sit back and relax with a cappuccino or treat yourself to a delicious slice of cake while the kids climb.


Price includes all safety equipment and instruction.  Optional: £3 per session to hire climbing shoes at reception.


For more information or to book visit:


Terms and Conditions Apply

19 Apr 2017 15:01

World Cup Build Up – Nathan Phillips

World Cup 2017, Meiringen, Switzerland.  
Image by Yanne Golev 

We are excited to share the first blog from our 
White Spider sponsored athlete Nathan Phillips.

Nathan has recently returned from his first 
Bouldering World Cup of the season as the highest placed GB male in the event.

Here’s what he had to say about the 
build up and competing at such a high level…


G-Force 2017 Podium – Nathan Phillips


“After a hard winter of training with very little outdoor climbing, I headed over to Dublin, Ireland for the G-Force. This competition was one I had competed in before and one I knew I could go to without putting too much pressure on myself. It was a good kick off to the year when I took the win and the €500 prize money.


Next up was The CWIF – a notorious competition held every year in Sheffield.


CWIF 2017 Team Podium with Nathan Phillips joint 1st


This event is usually used for GB Team World Cup selection and is a good way to see if the winters training has worked. So many big names missed out on the semis this year due to small mistakes in qualifying, but I managed to push my way through for a spot. Semis were so hard! And unfortunately, I couldn’t get a place in the final.


The season kicks off! Meiringen, Switzerland was the first round of the 2017 World Cup season.  Excited and unsure as to how I would perform this early in the year, I went out onto the mats… the first boulder had 3 big volcano shaped holds and it took me quite a few attempts to figure out how to climb it. Never the less, I topped. “Great! Let’s keep this going”. Next up was an overhanging volume traverse followed by a mantle. Not completely my style and I didn’t manage the bonus “It doesn’t matter, no one else has done it” (I didn’t know, but that’s what I told myself).


I knew the next boulder was a slab, and that’s my thing! I went out and quickly dispatched with only a slight sketchy moment before latching the last hold. Onto number 4, those flat hold scoops that look really cool but are usually really hard to hold. Not my ideal boulder. After one attempt (failing to see a crucial crimp. I sent the problem 2nd try with relative ease. (Pretty happy with that one!) With only one more to go I had no idea whether I had a chance of making it through or not. Either way I was going to try my hardest on the final Bloc, A Jump! I went through attempt after attempt, almost sticking it every time. Any other day I feel like this would have gone, but I guess the stresses of competition can do frustrating things.


World Cup 2017 – Nathan Phillips.  Image by


With qualification done, looking at the results I needed to do the jump to make semis. This being the case, I’m I little annoyed I couldn’t put it down then and there but I’m also really psyched for the rest of the season. I’m climbing well, felling strong and excited to see if I can achieve my goals for the year.


I’d like to thank White Spider for their continuing support. Without them I couldn’t make it to the next leg of the comps.” Nathan Phillips.


What an amazing effort form our boy! I’m sure you’ll all join us in wishing him all the best of luck for the next leg of Boulder World Cup events in China. His next competition is on Saturday 22nd April in Chongqing, China.

07 Apr 2017 11:23

Get Active – Get Climbing

White Spider Climbing membership has so many benefits – not only is our climbing wall a really brilliant place to get active, you can spend time as a family here and of course socialise with fellow climbers and then relax in our café.

Benefits of Climbing?

Its the holy grail of exercise – a mix of resistance training and aerobic workout, with serious carb burn and great for developing flexibility and agility. Research shows a full on climbing session burns 600 – 1,000 calories per hour!  So come and give it a go!

Our Direct Debit membership offers you:

  • Fast track entry
  • Entry at any time to White Spider Climbing
  • Free entry to our sister wall Red Spider Climbing in Fareham (straight up the A3, just an hour’s drive in normal traffic)
  • 10% off ALL your retail purchases (climbing shoes, T-shirts, chalk bags, etc)
  • upto 50% off regular fitness classes 

Direct Debit membership is £45.00 for an adult, £35.00 for junior/ concession* and £62.50 for an adult + child.  

Concessional rates are available for (i) students with a current card, (ii) 65 years +, (iii) registered disabled and (iv) Police, Fire and Armed Forces.

** Please note that direct debit membership is subject to a minimum three month contract.

10 Jan 2017 17:31

Direct Debit at White Spider

Sign up to a Direct Debit and save money and time so you can climb more…!


Direct Debit is £42.00 for an adult, £35.00 for junior and concession* and £59.50 for an adult+child.  Membership also gives you:

    • Fast track entry
    • Entry at any time to White Spider
    • Free entry to our sister wall Red Spider Climbing at any time (straight up the A3, an hours drive in normal traffic)
    • 10% off ALL your retail purchases – climbing shoes, T shirts, chalk bags and much more.

* Concessional rates are available for (i) students with a current card, (ii) 65 yrs +, (iii) registered disabled and (iv) Police, Fire and Armed Forces.
** Please note that direct debit membership is subject to a minimum 3 month contract.

02 Dec 2016 19:43

Gaz Parry Interview by Evie

Evie Interviews Gaz Parry

White Spider Masterclass 2016/7 Winter Series


Gaz Parry is one of the best and most accomplished climbers on the UK climbing scene. He redpoints F8c+ spots routes and boulders V13. He is involved in many aspects of the climbing world… he routesets, he coaches and he imports climbing holds to the UK, he is one of the founders of Blokfest. He has been manager of the British Bouldering Team and he is the only British climber to win the Arco rock masters international boulder comp.

Evie caught up with him after his coaching masterclass at White Spider on Monday 7th Nov…

How long have you been climbing?
I started when I was 12 so 31 years.


How did you start?
My friend’s Dad took us out to a place called Cadshaw Rocks near where I lived. On my 1st outing I climbed an E1 5a!


Where are you from?
Bury, Lancashire, UK


Where do you live now?
Veliko Turnovo in Bulgaria



What do you love most about climbing?
1. The people, the scene
2. The moves – like the satisfaction of doing a hard move
3. Completion – the feeling of finishing something and getting closure. Achievement.

What is the best Route you’ve done?
Usually it’s always the last one I’ve just done. Which this time is an 8a+ called “1st of Jan” in Bulgaria.

What is the best boulder problem you’ve done?
“Riverbed”  V13 in Magic Wood Switzerland. I loved the complexity of all the little movements coming together.

What is your favourite climbing discipline?
For comps it’s boulder. For climbing outside it’s [sport] routes. For setting it’s boulder or routes for comps.

How long have you been coaching?
Over 10 years. I started at The North West Youth Festival and now do coaching holidays mostly like in Kalymnos and Fontainebleau and occasionally the one off masterclass like with you guys.


What is your best bit of training advice?
Have a goal [project] to train for. Too many people are training with no goal. If you don’t have a goal then just climb and save the training for when you have one.


Advice for someone climbing indoors for 2 years who wants to push through a plateau and get to the next level?
Get some coaching. Regular coaching with good technique, otherwise you just do your beginners course and get you harness and repeat bad habits until they’re ingrained. Or climb with a motivated partner who is slightly better than you so you can learn from them.


You’ve won the coveted Arco title. How did you feel? Emotions?
I felt normal. It didn’t feel real until after. I was doing a lot of comps then (9 years ago) and got on the podium for a few world cups too. The same year I also won the Norwegian Masters so it just felt normal.






What is in the future for Gaz Parry?
Go climbing 🙂


Gaz is sponsored by:
Scarpa UK
3rd Rock

04 Nov 2016 15:55

Emma Twyford – Winter Masterclass Interview

Will McEvoy Interviews Emma Twyford

White Spider Masterclass 2016/7 Winter Series


Last month, Emma Twyford gave a great Masterclass to kick off the White Spider Masterclass Winter Series. Will McEvoy, head of coaching, made sure to interview Emma.  Here’s what she told us:


How long have you been climbing?  23 years! I was 7 when I started.


How did you start? My dad started climbing and doing lots of outdoor stuff. He tried to drag me, my brother and sister into it but it only stuck for me. Really my dad and his friends taught me how to climb.


Where are you from?  The Lakes- a proper northerner!



Any tips for those who have been climbing indoors for a year or two? Something that can make a massive improvement.   

  • Footwork and movement are the key ones. if you start climbing inside you have all these positive holds so people don’t look at the basics of how to use their feet and move properly. Eg you can try taking out the hand hold so you only climb on [arrest] and grooves.
  • Have a play time on a problem. Try once and do it one way, then try again and do it differently. See which works better and why.
  • Watch other climbers – see how and why they climb well.
  • People think they need to train to get stronger but, in fact, most people would see greatest improvement by focusing on their technique.


How about coaching? Says Will (our head of coaching)!  Yeah! have some coaching! Everyone thinks they use their feet but coaching and video is useful way to see what really happens.  Accuracy matters. If you haven’t placed that first foot hold well, chances are when you go for the next move you’ll hesitate. If that first foot hold is accurate, your moves will be more fluid.



Do you have a favourite climbing moment? A favourite route? Obviously, you like in North Wales which is the best playground ever! Probably one of the earliest moments I had was “Statement of Youth”. I didn’t I appreciate just how hard the route was until afterwards. It came together so easily – for an 8A that is. It was my first 8A flash in the UK. Then, of course, there is “Lord of the Flies” the E6 6A at “The Cromlech”.


Well that is such a classic route, a piece of climbing history, a route you dream about! How did you find it?  It suited my style. The first moves were bold and serious and you needed to keep calm. But the holds were better than I thought they would be.



If you could live anywhere in the world? North Wales! Or if I had a choice of two places then North Wales in the summer and Spain in the Winter.



What’s your favourite climbing discipline?  Trad- always trad. There’s a bit of everything in trad and it’s got all the great history around it. It can be humbling to think someone climbed a route back in the 1930s in hobnail boots.



Thank you Emma for joining us!








Check out Emma on her website

as well as on twitter @EmmaTwyford and Facebook

16 Jul 2016 21:41

Proud to Support Paralympic Climbing


White Spider are proud to be supporters of the Paralympics and hosted a segment of the Channel 4 Team GB Olympics advert featuring our regular member Matt Phillips!

Matt recently took part in the World Paraclimbing Cup as part of the GB paraclimbing team in the Italian alps and won his first international gold medal, bringing home a total of 3 Gold and 1 bronze between the team!

We wish the very best of luck to Team GB in the upcoming events!

You can find out more information on the Team GB Paralympic climbing website or via this great UK climbing article.  (more…)

13 Apr 2016 11:26

New Core Climbing Boulder Circuits

Pink Hold
Core Climbing Logo

We are excited to introduce another 15 problem boulder circuit at White Spider, the new pink circuit. We have selected some generously sized, interesting and skin friendly holds from our friends at “Core Climbing” in Sheffield. The grade for this circuit is VB. B stands for beginner or basic and as the name suggests it is an ideal circuit for those new to bouldering or who want something basic to warm up on.
However the main reason we introduced it was because climbers that were climbing higher grades had so much more to choose from because they could climb most or all of the circuits. Climbers still developing their skills and strength had less to choose from and we wanted to offer more. We recognised that we could improve and we acted on it.
In addition, and to spread the grades out in the easier circuits, the 15 problem purple V0 circuit has now moved up a notch and is graded at V0 to V1, and we’ve also bumped up the 15 problem yellow V0 to V1 circuit up to V1 to V2.
We are happy to be offering so much more choice for our climbers in all grades and the feedback has been awesome.
See you on the wall!
Evie Cotrulia
Head Route Setter

16 Mar 2015 12:55

London Adventures – Urban Climbing

Lovely write up by Francesca in her blog Adventure is Everywhere – thank you 😉 …!

Hailed as London’s newest climbing centre, The White Spider is also one of the UK’s largest and having frequented a number of climbing centres in the past few years, is one of my favourites as one I go back to time and time again. 

Boudering at White Spider

Having climbed there a number of times since it’s opening in the summer of 2012, I notice that it has always been busy.  However, this in no way detracts from the experience.  The White Spider easily caters for its growing number of clients which spans a variety of age ranges and demographics.


Stepping into the seemingly inconspicuous building in the middle of an industrial estate, you are met with (literally) wall to wall climbing opportunities.  In fact, in your immediate eye line will be automatic belay climbing wall.  I love this!  Automatic belaying means that you are able to practice climbing without needing someone to belay for you which is very handy when climbing with a group who want to wander off and do different things.  To be honest, there is so much to do here it’s hard to keep a group together!


White Spider


Once you’ve got over the sensory overload of colourful climbing apparatus covering every inch of the expansive walls, you are greeted by The White Spider staff.  The customer service here is excellent and all staff that I have come into contact with really can’t do enough to help and advise you.  Once you’re kitted up with shoes and harness if needed, you can then climb or boulder to your heart’s content.  Stopping only to grab a refreshing cuppa from the well- stocked cafe where you can treat yourself to some much needed cake, sandwiches or something healthier if you prefer.


The White Spider has so much to offer.  As well as membership, which offers excellent value, there is also the opportunity to join a variety of clubs, to receive coaching and the opportunity to gain levels 1, 2, 3 and 4 of the National Indoor Climbing Award.  There is also fantastic provision for children and families in the form of clubs, school holiday activities and birthday parties.


Prow at White Spider


So whether you’re a beginner or an experienced climber, The White Spider has everything that you are looking for within a friendly urban environment conveniently close to the Capital.


Also check out Francesca's instagram feed at



The White Spider Climbing team

06 Jan 2015 12:25

New Year’s resolution to get fit?

Leap into the New Year with the best fitness regime possible!

Jump into 2015

Climbing is a fantastic way to exercise. Its the holy grail – a mix of resistance training and aerobic exercise, with serious carb burn and great for developing flexibility and agility. All in a great social setting with friends.

Research shows a full on climbing session burns 600 – 1,000 calories per hour!  The NHS also publicised a great article extolling the benefits of climbing in Sept 2014.

So forget lifting weights or pounding the running machine…

… come on down to White Spider and enjoy your fitness!

23 Dec 2014 13:11

Climbing in London – by Indigo Memoirs

Another great review of White Spider – this one by Indigo Memoirs 

White Spider, Kingston-Upon-Thames

As one of the largest indoor wall climbing centres in the UK, ‘White Spider’ has over 350 climbing routes for climbers of all ages and levels. The tuition is first class if you are a novice climber, and overall the staff are incredibly friendly and helpful. The centre also hosts birthday parties for children, and events for groups of climbers. For experienced climbers there are plenty of routes to keep you going for hours, and keep you going back for more! There is also a spectator’s area if you wish to bring a friend along, or someone to watch the children whilst you climb. Alternatively, if your children are feeling adventurous, there are mini climbing and bouldering walls for them to play on, and a play castle. This is definitely a centre that caters to everybody’s tastes, be it a family climbing day out, solo climbing, birthday parties, or beginners lessons – the size and facilities ‘White Spider’ have to offer are excellent!


22 Oct 2014 13:43


Ned "The Baker" Fehally is 3 times British Bouldering Champion. He has competed in bouldering world cups and has made finals. He's not a bad setter either! Ned came in to White Spider recently to set the boulder comp wall, and we caught up with him to find out a bit more……..

Ned On Zombie Nation, 8a, Albarracin

Ned on Zombie Nation, 8a, Albarracin

Name: Ned Feehally
Where are you from?: Sheffield
Favourite Climbing Music?: Anything with a beat
Favourite Crag Food?: Soreen malt loaf
How did you first get into climbing?: A friend of the family took my brothers and I out in the Lakes. I liked it and after that I started going to the local wall and eventually getting out rock climbing at weekends
How long have you been climbing?: 18 years
What is your proudest achievement in climbing?: Making World cup finals is probably the hardest thing I have done but I am pretty proud of some of my ascents on rocks over the years
What's your favorite problem/route you've ever done?: It has to be Careless Torque at Stanage
Why was it so good?: Amazing moves, good height, lots of history and it's in a great place
Where is your favorite crag- In UK?: St. Bees in Cumbria
Outside UK?: Fontainbleau
If you could give someone one piece of advice for climbing, what would it be?: Make sure you enjoy it!
Who or what inspires you, and where do you get your motivation from?: I get inspired by big, impressive boulders with cool moves on them. It's easy to train if you have a goals like this in mind
If you hadn't got into climbing, what do you think you'd be doing instead?: I'd probably have a real job somewhere. I like to think I'd still spend a lot of time outdoors tho
How long have you been route setting?: Maybe 4 years on and off
What do you love most about setting?: Trying to set interesting and unique moves
Where do you get your inspiration for route setting?: From rock climbing mainly, but also from the possibility of setting moves that you could never find outdoors
What's coming up next for you?: A bouldering trip to America hopefully!

Sponsors: 5.10, Arc'teryx, Wild Country, Beastmaker



Ned on Jack's Broken Heart, 8a+, Magic Wood

05 May 2014 15:51

White Spider Climbing Boulder Competition Wall!



We're building the biggest boulder competition wall in London! The new wall will feature some crazy overhangs, a barmy barrel, a steep slab and a mini roof! We're psyched!

Building starts on the 6th May!


Our bouldering areas remain open, however there will be some part closures throughout the build.


Once completed we'll be setting with some awesome new volumes and holds ready for our BIG COMP WALL OPENING COMPETITION in June! . . . WATCH THIS SPACE for more info.


Totally Psyched!
The White Spider Team,

15 Apr 2014 14:25

Student Wednesdays – £5 entry before 5 pm



Student Wednesdays!


Don't forget in you're a full time student you pay just £5 entry before 5 pm EVERY Wednesday!


*Please note you must bring valid student ID.



The White Spider Team,

15 Dec 2013 12:12


Slackling at White Spider Climbing

aka… Get your wobble on!


One of the newest members to the White Spider Team, professional slackliner Harry Cloudfoot, has been working with us and we have installed a new, indoor 20m slackline!

The ideal balancing challenge, perfect for improving core stability and focus, the slackline will be a semi-permanent installation to the centre.

The line runs over our matted area to ensure nice soft landings should you come off, and our staff members are on hand to give you tips on how to beat the wobbles!


Church of Surf - Harry Cloudfoot

Think you've got what it takes? Try Harry's latest challenge, walking the entire length of the line (full-man) with your eyes closed!

Stay tuned for up and coming White Spider Slackline Workshops – for now, here are some tips from Harry to get you started:

  1. Keep your feet straightStart with one foot on the floor, and your stronger foot on the slackline –  big toe and ball of your foot always on the line.
  2. Look straight ahead – It helps with your posture; where you look, is where you go. Look down, you fall down!
  3. Use your arms to balance – Try to keep you elbows above your shoulders, and keep your arms relaxed. Your torso should be straight, but your arms moving.

Got any questions? Pop down to the centre and ask Harry how you can gain some ninja skills. Or better still book a private lesson and really get yourself on the way to slackline nirvana!




“I had a really great lesson with Harry, with his knowledge and insight providing a real change in my thinking and approach. First, Harry helped correct my posture and helping me understand the use of my arms. We then tackled breathing and core engagement and then mounting from a sitting position. All this in an hour and great fun. Spend your money letting Harry help you, you will not regret it.” – Steve MacQueen

"Harry not only has great skill on a slack line but also that rarer gift of being a great teacher. He is able to impart just the right amount of information without overloading you, and adapts his style to suit your pace and challenges. The two hours just flew by and I now have a set of good habits to practice. Thanks harry for making learning such fun." – Paul Highams

“Thoroughly enjoyed my slackline lesson with Harry, he is so encouraging and informative. It was awesome and strangely addictive” – Sian Waters


“I thoroughly enjoyed the 1-to-1 slacklining lesson. It’s something I really wanted to try, but wasn’t sure whether I’d be able to do it or not. Harry was fantastic, he made me feel totally at ease, and despite the fact that we were in Clapham Common, I didn’t feel uncomfortable or self-conscious at all. The lesson was well-structured, and by the end of the hour I was able to walk along the line, which was a vast improvement on how I had started out. All in all, a great experience. I will definitely be going again.” – Shauna, London

"I enjoyed the slacklining very much because we went through things slowly and all together until we knew how to do things properly. I especially enjoyed the cool tricks we learnt at the end, as they were fun to practice." – Cerys Highams


“I think a lot of slacklining’s benefits come from the meditative amount of focus required to achieve balance to stand on the line, and there are not many things kids can get into these days that require such prolonged focus and attention. Also the gratification is not instant but requires persistence and hard work. In much the same way learning a martial art (for example) increases confidence, ability to maintain concentration and greater self esteem as well as all the physical benefits, slacklining also offers a nicely integrated way to enhance the physical and emotional development of kids in a digital age” – Maddy Andrews

"I thought slacklining with harry was great because first he taught us some really good and fun balance warm-ups and also when we got on the line he supported us and gave us good tips and it was so much fun. I cant wait to start slacklining at home and it was a great introduction to the sport!" – Emma Highams


12 Nov 2013 15:39

Climbing Shoe Guide


shoe fit


The White Spider Guru is back to bring you a guide on how to find the perfect climbing shoe! Whether you’re new to climbing, or you’ve just always been unlucky with shoes, here is a handy guide to buying climbing shoes that work for you:


Step 1 – Choosing your shoe


1.       If you’re new to climbing, you want a relatively flat shoe, either lace up or Velcro. Avoid slip-ons to begin with.


2.        Climbing shoes come in 2 main construction types;


Board lasted: This stiffer shoe makes them better suited for beginners. They usually have little visible stitching on the inside of the shoe, and have a stiffening board or a stiffened mid sole. This acts as a platform for you to stand on when you place your foot on a hold or small edge.


Slip lasted: These softer shoes are better suited to more experienced climbers. They are usually sewn together with very little stiffening or none at all, and are almost ‘squishy’ when squeezed sideways. The stitching is usually quite visible on the inside of the shoe. These shoes allow greater sensitivity on a hold, or smear placements, but require a much closer fit and stronger foot muscles to get the most out of them.


3.       Climbing shoes are manufactured with thin leather or leather substitutes, this means that they will stretch anything between half a size and 1 full size usually within the first 2 months of use. Please bear that in mind when trying them on in the shop.


4.       Taking shoe stretch into consideration;


Lace up shoes can be adjusted usually all the way up to the toe, so once stretched can be tightened to keep the fit snug. This usually makes them well suited to beginners. With lace ups, you are looking for at least a 2 finger width gap between the sides of the laces.

Velcro shoes have less adjustability and usually no adjustment on the front of the foot (this area usually stretches the most).

Slip-on shoes have no adjustability so once stretched – that’s it, they’re stretched!


Step 2 – How tight is right?


1.       Climbing shoes are designed to be tight fitting, but don’t buy your shoes too tight – they want to be snug and close fitting, but not painful. If they are too painful, you won’t want to climb in them.


2.       When fitting your shoes you want a good close fit all the way around your foot, with no air pockets around the toes or the heel. If your heel is not fully in the heel cup of the shoe try a smaller size or a different brand or model. You will be able to tell if your heel is not fitting properly if the rubber around the heel cup is ‘squishy’ and loose, or bumpy. When you put on a well fitted pair of shoes, they should make a ‘whoosh’ sound as the air is forced out of the back of the shoe when you pull it on.


3.       Every manufacturer builds shoes with slight variations in width across the forefoot, volume and narrowness in the heel, this also changes across different models within a manufacturers range. So if in doubt, try as many different sizes, and types of shoe as possible, to get the best fit.


Step 3 – Testing the fit


1.      When you stand on a small foot hold in a new pair of climbing shoes, there should be very little bagging/wrinkles on the material at the front/top of the shoe.

2.      If there are pressure points on any of your toes or toe knuckles, then try a different brand or model.

3.      By dragging your heel across a bench/hold/floor, you can test whether the heel lifts out of the shoe; if it does then it is ill fitting.

4.      If you stand on the inside edge, you don’t want the shoes to deflect too much against your foot, so your foot shouldn’t roll inside the shoe. The same goes for the outside edge as well.

5.      The idea when buying your own pair of shoes is to fit them without socks. When wearing even a thin pair of socks inside your shoes, it will increase your foot size by at least half a size and it adds an extra slippage surface. It’s totally acceptable to try shoes on without socks, and this is expected.

6.      Your feet are usually smaller in the morning and larger in the evening, and this variation can be up to half a shoe size. Your feet will also swell in the summer and shrink slightly in the winter, please also bear that in mind when trying them on in the shop.


And lastly, don’t be afraid of taking up the person in the shops time, at the end of the day that’s what they are there for. 


Yours crankfully, 

The White Spider Guru. 

07 Oct 2013 14:03

How to prevent finger injuries!


finger injuries


We’ve all from time to time felt the warning aches of tired fingers, but when is it really ok to keep on cranking? 

If you’ve ever heard the snap of an abused tendon, you – like us, will understand how important it is to know all the facts about finger injury prevention.


The Science

First of all, what do our fingers look like? This may sound obvious, but many people don’t know what’s inside our fingers. If you knew just how they were put together, it might be easier to know how to avoid pulling them apart!

  • First all we have a big tendon that runs from our elbow, down our forearm and along our fingers, this is called the Flexor Tendon.
  • The fibres which hold the Tendon (and sheath) close to the bone are called Pulleys. We have 5 annular pulleys within each finger, but the most commonly injured pulley is the A2, which is located below the first knuckle.
  • Surrounding each finger joint are Collateral ligaments.

Flexor Tendon Injuries: Flexor Tendons are usually the most devastating type of finger injury, even mild tears can lead to pain, numbness within the fingers and reduced movement. If you manage to completely rupture the tendon it may require surgery to heal. The warning pains usually start in the palm/wrist area.

Pulley injuries: Pulleys are the most commonly injured part of the finger, and can cause pain and swelling. This can take a while to heal, and if not left to recover properly will often remain a long term issue. You are usually warned with a dull ache in between the joints.

Collateral ligament injuries: These can be quite serious in some cases and may require surgery, but are usually quite uncommon. You may feel pain in your joints, and notice some swelling, most often in the middle joint. Collateral Ligament injuries usually occur after loading from the side (for example from using side pulls and gastons).


The Prevention

Nobody likes finger injuries, but how do you help prevent them?


  • Warming up

It goes without saying that the powers of a good warm up prevent injury like nothing else. For information on properly warming up, there are some good guidelines in the training area. Remember the most common way of obtaining a pulley injury is to crimp on cold fingers, so always start your warm up on large, open handed holds.


  • Don’t ignore the pain.

It’s important to remember that if you get aches or pains in your fingers this could be your body’s way of telling you to ease off. Taping your fingers may help to quell the pain, but won’t prevent injury.


  • Know when to stop and rest

The sensible climber will listen to his/her body, and if they feel the warning signs, warm down and go home. If you catch it early, recovery could be just missing a few sessions, but if you catch it too late it could mean months out of action.


  • Don’t over crimp

Over crimping is a common cause of finger injury. Many people over crimp because they simply haven’t ever tried to open hand, so it could be worth doing some light training on easy routes to build up open handed strength (and don’t crimp the slopers!) If you are unsure of what crimping or open-handing is, check out the information in the training area.


I hope all this information has been useful, and will help you to prevent undue injury! This post marks the first of a series of articles we hope you'll find beneficial to your climbing. 


References for this article can be found here:

Yours Crankfully,

The White Spider Guru



07 Jan 2013 21:59

Slacklining at White Spider

Get your wobble on! 

The newest member to the White Spider Team, professional slackliner Harry Cloudfoot, has been working with us to install a new, indoor 20m slackline! 

The ideal balancing challenge, perfect for improving core stability and focus, the slackline will be a semi-permanent installation to the centre.

The line runs over our matted area to ensure nice soft landings should you come off, and our staff members are on hand to give you tips on how to beat the wobbles!

Think you've got what it takes?
Try Harry's latest challenge, walking the entire length of the line (full-man) with your eyes closed

Stay tuned for up and coming White Spider Slackline Workshops – for now, here are some tips from Harry to get you started:

  1. Keep your feet straightStart with one foot on the floor, and your stronger foot on the slackline –  big toe and ball of your foot always on the line.
  2. Look straight ahead – It helps with your posture; where you look, is where you go. Look down, you fall down!
  3. Use your arms to balance – Try to keep you elbows above your shoulders, and keep your arms relaxed. Your torso should be straight, but your arms moving.

Got any questions? Pop down to the centre and ask Harry how you can gain some ninja skills! 


15 Dec 2012 13:03

Sky Sports – Get Involved in Rock Climbing

We're ready to rock, how about you?

Sky Sports - Get Involved in Rock Climbing


Rock climbing was the subject of this week's Get Involved.

The British Mountaineering Council has witnessed a dramatic climb in membership over the last two decades – with 70,000 people registered in 2012 compared to just 25,000 in 1990 – while there are approximately 300 climbing and mountaineering clubs affiliated with the BMC.

SKY SPORTS – Get Involved in Rock Climbing

While many feel it is a niche sport and fear high expenses, John Gibbons – manager of White Spider Climbing Centre – insists it's an affordable and enjoyable way of maintaining fitness.

He told Sky Sports News: "I would say it's not expensive. You can climb for as little as £10 and have an hour's coaching session.

"We are running those sessions every day over Christmas at various times of the day. You don't need any equipment – we'll provide everything."

Overcoming fear and improving your skills are key benefits of engaging in the sport – and Climbing Instructor Andy Fairgrieve revealed initial reservations are easily overcome.

Fairgrieve said: "You can have someone who's very nervous about heights and we have tactics and ways of getting them used to it.

"One of the ways is to make them take falls. Once they take falls, it relaxes them hugely."

If you want a sedate start to your climbing experience, you can always test your mettle on any of the 300 indoor walls in the UK, something 5 million people do each year.

If you want to get started in the sport, visit the BMC website: