The giant indoor ice climbing walls feature a range of ice climbs to cater for complete beginners through to the most hardened winter mountaineer, including:
- Slabs. Easy Angled walls (approx Grade III), for warm up / learning to place crampons and ice axes.
- Walls. Steep 85/90º walls (approx Grade III/IV)
- Arrêtés. Climbing on the edges of wall/slab (approx Grade IV/V)
- Gully / Corners. Climbing through narrow sections / classic Scottish Winter Climbing (Approx Grade IV/V)
- Huge overhanging / dry tooling wall (approx M6/M7) climbing on features on the 120º overhanging wall.
With over 40 ropes the new indoor ice climbing wall is the world's biggest urban ice climbing facility. (The overall biggest indoor wall remains at our sister site in Ice Factor Kinlochleven (http://www.ice-factor.co.uk/activities/indoor-ice-climbing.php)).
How do I get to climb the new Ice Walls?
I am a complete beginner, I don't want to learn all the skills, I just want to experience Ice Climbing and see if its for me! Join us on our Ice Taster Class-£30 for 90mins
I am a rock climber, but I have little / no recent ice climbing (Grade III and above) experience, I want to get the skills and training to allow me to climb steep ice, unsupervised in the future for £10 a session. Join us on our mandatory Introduction to Ice Climbing for Climbers Course- £30. for a 90 minute Instructed Induction Course, followed by 90 minutes additional climbing.
I am a competent ice climber and have recent experience of climbing Scottish grade III or above or have completed the Ice Climbing Course at Ice Factor. Turn up, bring your kit, fill out your registration form for a day membership pay £18 and climb!
I am a member of Ice Factor / AMI / IFMGA / UIGM / BMG or have completed the Snow Factor Ice Climbing Induction Course. Turn up,bring your kit, fill out your Member Registration form and pay £10 to climb.
I am Option 3 but wish to take out annual membership. Call Ice Factor and registor as a member with them (01855 831 100) Ice Factor Membership-£15 allowing you to pay £10 each time you visit to climb.
Equipment is available to hire at Snow Factor for additional fee.
Introduction to Ice Climbing for Existing Rock Climbers
£30 for a 3 Hour Instructed Induction Course delivered on the same day as two 1.5 hour sessions
1.5 Hour Instructed Induction Course (includes all technical equipment if required),
Registration and Membership Card (allowing you to climb for £10 on future sessions) immediately followed by 1.5 Hours additional climbing allowing you to consolidate what you have learned, and benefit from additional coaching if necessary.
Ice Climbing is a totally different discipline to rock climbing, and our over riding concern must always be the safety of our customers and staff. We want you to get the most out of the Ice Walls, by being able to tackle any of the routes in a way that is safe for you and other climbers.
Over the last 12 years at our sister site in Kinlochleven, we've probably taught more people how to climb than any other company on the planet! In that time we've seen climbers of possibly every vintage and ability.
A consistent observation has been that many climbers (even those who can winter climb to a reasonable standard) would benefit from some specific coaching to enhance their techniques and skills.
During the Introduction to Ice Climbing, we can rapidly transfer the skills to ensure every climber will benefit, allowing you to climb safer, slicker, faster and harder. Think about our instructors as being a bit like golf pros - you may be able to swing a club, but they can enhance your grip/stance and greatly improve your game. It's exactly the same on the ice wall.
Our sessions are designed to quickly build on the core skills of:
- Rope Work - harness fitting/adjusting, best practice for tie in, knots and belaying
- Footwork - fitting and adjusting crampons, learning how to front point to best effect
- Ice Axes - using leashes, learning how to plant, hook or pick the best placement.
- Balance - learning how to work from a stable, balanced base, resting between moves
- Mixed Terrain - moving from moderate to steep and overhanging ice/mixed
- Ergonomics - how to ice climb, long sustained ice pitches whilst conserving
After this session, you will have the skills and knowledge to use the walls as a competent ice climber, after completing your registration the cost for every subsequent visit is only £10.
This registration will also qualify you for membership at our sister site at Kinlochleven, where you can further hone your ice skills on the more challenging ice walls.
£30 Per Person
Max Ratio 1 Instructor to 4 Students
1.5 Hours Duration - includes gearing up time
Become an Ice Warrior! Experience the challenge of climbing up steep ice at the world's biggest urban ice climbing walls at Snow Factor, XScape Braehead. Your instructor will coach you on the basic skills required and supervise your session throughout to ensure your safety and enjoyment. Starting on easy angled slabs, you will get the opportunity of climbing and belaying (holding your climbing partner's rope, through an approved belay device and helping lower them slowly back to the ground) with as much climbing as you can handle during your session.
Your instructor will issue you with boots and crampons (the metal points for climbing up the ice), ice axes and harness/helmet. You should bring warm clothing with you (clothing can be hired on site if needs be).
The session is not a skills session, the emphasis is on fun and enjoyment.
Key Fobs are available with commemorative photographs of your visit.
Class numbers will dictate the lesson length-
Upto 4 people 1.5 hours
Why is there a mandatory ice climbing introduction. I know what I'm doing?
That may be the case for you, but how do we find out? After you've been on the walls!
Our over riding priority must always be the safety of our customers and staff. The induction course will ensure that every user of the wall has been equipped with the skills to ice climb to a very good standard.
If you are an existing winter climber, that will become quickly apparent to the Duty Manager, and the focus will be on giving you any additional coaching tips, before progressing onto your registration and allowing you thereafter to climb.
What's the registration process and why do I have to do it?
Our sister site is the National Ice Climbing Centre, and we are full members of the Association of British Climbing Walls (http://www.abcclimbingwalls.co.uk/). This means we implement and follow industry best practice with regards to new member registration process. This registration ensures that every member is aware of the risks associated with climbing and mountain sports, and has personal proficiency in the required areas.
After completing the Registration Process, your details will be recorded on our data base (we never pass your details to other companies) and you will be issued with a member's card. When you next return, you show your card, pay £10 and climb. Simples....
So, after I've done this induction course, how much to climb thereafter?
£10! The entry price for climbers will be £10 and we are looking at block tickets / monthly passes and will update if there is demand.
How long do I get on the wall for my tenner?
Up to you! You are welcome to stay on the walls as long as you are able. If demand pushes this, then we will review and may ask for you to move aside to let new climbers on. There is a link bridge to Barvaria Bier Halle and Restaurant, a great place to warm up / chill out. With viewing gallery, beer and food, coffee and waffles. Barvaria stocks a huge supply of authentic German Beers (please note, if you have more than one beer, you will not be able to continue climbing, so keep the thirst till later),
I've got my own gear, can I use it on your walls?
Absolutely, providing your equipment is fit for purpose (B3 boots - Scarpa Mont Blanc, Phantom Guide or similar(fully rigid) and C2/3 Crampons Rigid Grivel Rambo or similar.
Your Ice Axes must be technical winter climbing axes (with the hammer and adze capped with resistant stopper / material to prevent injury from bounce-back).
Please note, we positively encourage dry tooling techniques, but for operational safety these must be attached using leashes / clippers or springers to the rope- anything appropriate to stop them falling onto other climbers / belayers.
Helmets are compulsory within the Cold Zone.
I've got my own harness and helmet, but I don't have any ice kit, can I hire it?
Your equipment will be provided as part of your induction course. Thereafter, equipment can be hired. We have just brought in some funky kit from Scarpa, Grivel and DMM, so there is some superb kit. On site at XScape there is Ellis Brighams who stock a wide range of climbing hardware, see http://www.ellis-brigham.com/stores/braehead-ski-glasgow/
How many ropes are there?
There are 40 ice climbing ropes on the walls at Snow Factor, XScape, Braehead. We do not allow lead climbing (again this is a safety issue to prevent climbers dropping / swinging onto other climbers / belayers). We will limit the max number of climbers to 30 in any session, to ensure that there are always lines in operation.
I'm not a current climber, but I'd really like to learn, can I do that at Snow Factor Braehead?
Not yet I'm afraid. However, you can take a trip up to our sister site at Kinlochleven. Check out their website by clicking here.
Do I need to pre-book?
Pre Booking is essential for all courses and taster lessons. We will do our best to accommodate you, but in normal circumstances, all lessons are full. To avoid disappointment, please book ahead on 0871 222 5672
What about clothing?
Please bring warm clothing, the temperature is about -6º Centigrade. Ideally you should bring 2-3 layers of clothing rather than single big bulky layers (they will get in the way when you are climbing, but are great for belaying in the cold). You must wear gloves at all times when your using the ice wall (to protect your hands from damage from the ice).
Clothing can be hired from Snow Factor for a nominal fee and gloves can be purchased at the ticket desk.
What about spectators, can they come in and watch?
Absolutely, there is a dedicated viewing balcony and there are 140 seats in Bar Varia - stay warm / sip a great gourmet coffee / read a book in Kindle Corner. Please note, only registered climbers or students under instruction can enter the main cold zone.
What about showers / wc's
There are changing rooms inside the changing village and hot showers available throughout. There are security lockers for your kit (£1). Don't drink too much, especially coffee before your session.....
Which articles would you recommend reading for climbers looking for tips?
Lots, but a fantastically put together piece by the 'maister' George MacEwan the instructors' instructor, can be found at UKCC, it's a superb article bang up to date - and feature images from our other indoor ice climbing wall at Kinlochleven (and images of our previous Assistant Centre Manager, Isi Oakley, on very steep water ice in Norway).
All the key points are covered off really clearly in this article
Anything else I need to know?
There is a fantastic rock climbing wall at Climb Zone at the entrance to XScape Braehead. We are discussing with Derek and Neil who also own the fabulous Glasgow Climbing Centre, about doing a link ticket so you can rock climb and ice climb in a single evening. Keep referring to our facebook sites -
What about climber evenings?
We have 3 conference rooms at Snow Factor, XScape Braehead. We hope to have regular work shops, master classes and lectures. We'd love to see a regular club night at the place.
How is the Indoor Ice Climbing Wall Built?
The indoor ice wall at Braehead was designed by Jamie Smith, founder and MD of the Ice Wall. The engineering design was tested by an external structural engineer. The walls are built, using galvanized triangular steel, over this is laid a mesh of Glycol Coolant Pipes to cool the wall from behind.
The steel rests on concrete pilings to absorb the weight. A heat coil layer is applied under the floor to prevent ice frost damaging the building founds. Heat Transfer pads are inserted between the galvanized sections of steel, to prevent thermal transfer. Two layers of steel mesh are then laid over the structure and packed with hard / glacial type ice. On top of this a layer of water ice and neve is added (deep fresh snow). A further rebar metal grid, then protects the ice. Onto this is packed the 'sacrificial' climbing surface. This is then soaked and we atomize water at very high pressure to create fresh snow.
The huge area of Snow Factor, the UK's Biggest indoor real snow slope, allows for a very dry, cold atmosphere. There is a gantry which holds all the snow guns, and fresh snow is blown nightly onto the slope, thus we have a near perfect environment for creating the ice wall. This has allowed us to have a much bigger belay area and a lot more space for beginner slabs.
Keith Johnson, Slope Manager, Engineer and all round good guy, played a seminal role in creating the wall, with the engineering team, working mega shifts from January till May to get the wall into shape. Jamie Bankhead, who was Ice Factor Manager for 6 years, has been on site throughout the commissioning period, and will be on hand to deliver the first Ice Intro Courses.
To ensure the safety of all slope users, no-one other than our fully qualified Snow Factor instructors are permitted to teach or provide coaching on the dedicated lesson slope or main slope at any time.
Instruction, Coaching and Development at Snow Factor are provided by Snow Factor Training Ltd. Snow Factor Training was established to foster and develop access to winter sports. We do this in conjunction with our partners at BASI and DSUK. Our objectives include;
- To provide training and tuition to the public in relation to snow sports
- To foster and develop amongst the public skills in relation to snow sports
- To promote safety and awareness of snow and ice environments to the public
- To provide education to the public in relation to snow sports.