The National Indoor Climbing Award Scheme (NICAS) was set up with the main aim to provide a safe introduction to climbing for young people aged 7 years and up on artificial climbing structures (e.g indoor climbing walls). The nationally-recognised scheme also helps to standardise the teaching and coaching of young people in an engaging manner, and people gain certification with each level gained.

NICAS Awarding Centre logo

Our aim is to develop and engage the young people of Perth and surrounding area's in the sport of climbing, through the NICAS levels and certification. The scheme also promotes good practice, deeper knowledge of the sport and provide a structure for climbing development. More information on the Scheme can be found on the NICAS website.

back of girl on climbing wall

We are able to facilitate young peoples journey through 4 of the 5 levels:

  1. New Climber - An entry level aimed at novices that recognises their ability to climb safely under supervision.
  2. Foundation Climber - Aimed at promoting good practice in climbing and bouldering unsupervised on an artificial wall.
  3. Technical Climber - A more advanced top-roping and bouldering award that focusses on developing technique and movement skills. This is aimed at ensuring a candidate possesses the knowledge and skill to climb and belay safely at any climbing facility (whether or not under supervision or with back-up) and operate in a responsible manner. Achievement at this level is broadly equivalent to a pass at GCSE.
  4. Lead Climber - Concentrating on the skills required to lead climb proficiently. Aimed at developing a self-motivated climber who has a wide range of skills and has reached a high level of competence, with a desire to progress by identifying and setting goals.

Instructor puts harness and ropes on boy - NICAS session

How it works

Each group runs in 8 week blocks.  All candidates are grouped by ability - Starter Group (L1 and 2), Intermediate Group (Level 3) and Developer Group (Level 4). Following a block we may advice staying in the same group or joining a similar level and ability group on a different day.  The ethos of NICAS to progress at your own indivdual speed rather than pressue to complete a level in a specific time frame.  However there are minimum time frames for progression:

Levels 1 and 2 - will take a minimum of 1 block to achieve

Level 3 - will take a minimum of 1 block to achieve but more likely 2 - 3 blocks

Level 4 - will take a minimum of 2 blocks to complete, but will most likely take several blocks to complete.

Please note due to the level and type of climbing undertaken at Level 4 we require additional informed parental consent before candidates can progress to this level.  For L4 candidates under 14 we do also need to emphasise the level of maturity required to complete this stage, and to highlight that no one under 14 should be permitted to lead climb without direct, competent supervision even if they have completed L4.  For more information about Level 4 please call 01738 877313 or email

The instructor will communicate regularly with parents regarding progression and will advise on next steps following each block.  Parents are also encouraged to speak to instructors at any point to discuss progress and engagement on the scheme.

Cost is £90 per 8 week block plus £7.50 registration and logbook fee.  Registration fee is required once for Levels 1-3 and once again for Level 4-5.

For all enquiries and bookings regarding NICAS please contact us.