The National Indoor Bouldering Award Scheme is designed for anyone with the aptitude to learn how to boulder independently on artificial climbing structures. Candidates on Levels 1 and 2 will be expected to be fully supervised at all times with a gradual introduction of independence at Level 3.
The aims of the NIBAS Scheme are:
- To develop climbing movement skills and improve levels of technical ability.
- To learn how to use equipment appropriately.
- To develop risk assessment and risk management skills in the sport.
- To work as a team, communicate with, and trust other boulderers.
- To provide a structure for development, motivation and improved performance.
- To develop an understanding of the sport, its history and ethics.
- To appreciate appropriate ways of training with an awareness of injury prevention, healthfulness,
personal insights and well-being.
- To provide a record of personal achievement.
- To point the way to further disciplines and challenges in climbing beyond the Scheme.
NIBAS is fully transferable between Accredited Centres but is independent of their registration procedures.The Scheme accredits achievement, experience and knowledge observed at particular centres on
particular dates. The levels awarded do not necessarily confer membership at that centre, nor at any other centre.Award holders are recognised by the ABCTT as having demonstrated consistent good practice, the
required skills and knowledge at each of the five levels.
Structure of the Scheme
The Scheme is split into five levels. Each level follows the same core stages:
- Register with an approved Accredited Centre and be issued with a logbook.
- Attend a training course at that centre.
- Continue to consolidate experience according to the requirements of that level and record this
- Attend an assessment course or complete continuous assessment as appropriate.
- Continue to gain and log climbing experience in preparation for the next level if required.
There are five levels, designed to introduce complete novices to the sport of bouldering on artificial walls or structures and aid progress to becoming proficient boulderers with a sound understanding of the skills and knowledge of good practice in the climbing wall environment. At The Climbing Lab we run levels 1-3.
The levels are:
- New Boulderer – an entry-level award for candidates who wish to learn what bouldering is as a
physical activity and how to use a bouldering wall safely.
- Foundation Boulderer – aimed at helping the candidate to understand how a bouldering wall
works, basic preparation and control while bouldering, with an introduction to equipment and
- Competent Boulderer – corresponding to most bouldering-only centres’ “membership” standards.
This is aimed at ensuring a candidate possesses the knowledge and skill to boulder safely
at any bouldering facility and operate in a responsible manner.
- Skilled Boulderer – aimed at developing a self-motivated boulderer who has a wide range of
skills and has reached a high level of competence, with a desire to progress by identifying and
- Performance Boulderer – the top-level award that focuses on improving performance, with
advanced skills and knowledge of training and bouldering as well as experience of local and
Levels 1 to 3 require qualified supervision. The candidates record their progress at each Level in NIBAS booklets, to be clipped into the binder which may be purchased separately.
National Indoor Bouldering Award Scheme Grades
In order for a candidate to participate in the Scheme they must first register, which costs £12.50.