From Source to Summit


Ice Taster

Ice Factor International, the only operator in Scotland to offer climber’s access to both indoor rock and ice-climbing walls has implemented its own From Source to Summit.

Designed for novice and intermediate climbers of at least 12 years of age, the award aims to give participants the core practical skills to be able to climb safely on rock and ice at indoor facilities.

Introduced as a ‘pilot’ programme, it is being offered initially at Snow Factor Braehead just a few miles west of Glasgow city centre.  Levels 4-6 of the ‘Qualified to Climb’ award will be led by instructors at Ice Factor Kinlochleven**.

After progressing in 2-hour sessions through the structured award levels (1-6)*, the participants will also gain the confidence and competencies to venture outdoors to experience climbing in summer or winter conditions.

Andrew McNaughton, lead climbing instructor at Snow Factor Braehead, explained: “The aim of From Source to Summit is to provide participants as young as 12 years of age with the practical skills and knowledge to climb safely within our indoor rock and ice climbing walls while under supervision. Once the fundamental skills have been mastered, levels 4-6 enable participants to progress at their own pace to practice and refine techniques essential for the safe enjoyment of indoor ice climbing and outdoor mountaineering.”

Ice Factor International anticipates that with From Source to Summit open to participants from the age of 12, the award will appeal to the likes of secondary schools and organisations keen to nurture life skills in youth, through exposure to what is traditionally an outdoor adventure activity.

McNaughton added: “There are existing indoor climbing awards, notably NICAS (National Indoor Climbing Award Scheme).  However, there is currently no such proficiency award for those who wish to have fun and learn ice-climbing indoors from the age of 12.  As the operator of Ice Factor Kinlochleven and (since 2013) of ice-walls at Snow Factor Braehead, it definitely makes sense for us to initiate the pilot.”

*From Source to Summit

Levels 1-3 are the introductory levels that follow on from an ice-climbing ‘taster’ session (from £25pp) conducted at Snow Factor (or Ice Factor Kinlochleven). After completing levels 1-3 at their own pace, individuals have the practical, fundamental skills to climb safely on indoor climbing walls.

Participants who complete skill levels 1-3 are automatically conferred a year’s (climbing only) membership of Snow Factor Braehead and do not have to undergo an induction if they are over 16. Participants aged 12-16 years old are invited to attend supervised sessions with the dates and availability advertised on the respective Snow Factor Braehead (and once reopened) Ice Factor Kinlochleven websites.

Levels 4-6 are aimed at existing ice climbers who wish to fine tune their technique and knowledge before transferring those skills outdoors.  Content within levels 3-6 covers the likes of ergonomics, ice protection, problem-solving and belay stance management. These sessions are conducted by instructors at Ice Factor Kinlochleven.