Cicerone – Indoor Climbing (book)

I’ve taken the decision to get more in to climbing lately, and have started attending a local climbing wall. It’s something I’ve been putting off partly because of time constraints, and partly because I just don’t know what I’m doing. So, I took a read of Cicerone’s guide to Indoor Climbing (and dry tooling) which is written for people like me who are beginners, but includes enough information that it won’t become an obsolete shelf-dweller as I progress in confidence.

cicerone-indoor-climbingWritten by Pete Hill, who is a very experienced climbing instructor, the book is broken down in to easily digestible sections, covering everything from how climbing walls are made (potentially to instil some trust in those scared that they’ll fall to bits), to which equipment you may need, and on through the actual techniques needed to climb successfully.

Pete manages to keep the language simple and not bewilder beginners, although if you read on too far you can stray in to areas which are more suited to those with some experience on the wall already. It’s a book which you’d be best to dip in and out of as you progress through the difficulties of different routes.

There is plenty of photography in the book demonstrating some of the more difficult to describe things, and plenty of shots from real climbing walls showing that it’s not as scary a prospect as you might think.

However, the section I have reaped the most from is the equipment explanations. Understanding those things which are a bit alien to other walks of life is made easier by Pete’s thorough work-through of the how’s and why’s of each of the essential items in a climber’s kit. Knowing which kit I will, and more importantly won’t need before I venture out to purchase them is a great feeling.

As ever, Cicerone’s production values are high, and the book is easy to follow and read in short bursts. The use of coloured blocks highlights tips, and a yellow background is used on any areas which are specifically of interest to climbing instructors – to whom this book also caters.

SUMMARY: A well-written and easy to follow book which will accompany anyone interested in taking up climbing from their first venture to the wall, through to instructing. Lots of photos and blocks of tips make it understandable to the layman, and at under £13 it isn’t too pricey.

Price: £12.95 (paper or ebook)
More: Cicerone


  • I had to look up ‘Dry Tooling’, and I’ve been climbing for years. Is that an American thing?

    • Apparently not. I noted that Alpkit brought some dry tooling training ‘axes’ out a while back, and did a little reading on it back then – but it’s not really crossed my radar elsewhere.