Craggy Island News

Craggy climber makes 1st Ascents in the Karakoram!

Tuesday, September 27th, 2016 - Posted by Danie

Drew (Left) during a previous expedition to the Karakorum in 2015

Drew (Left) during a previous expedition to the Karakorum in 2015

Regular Craggy climber and all-round adventurer, Drew Cook, is part of a small team from the British Alpine Club that have just made 2 first ascents in the Eastern Karkoram in Ladakh Northern India.

‘Lak Kangri’ (Eagle Ice Peak) 6266m (Alpine AD) and ‘Thrung-Ma Kangri’ (Protector Ice Peak) 6341m (Alpine AD).

All members of the party are safe and well. They’re currently resting in Leh, the capital of the province, before returning home to the UK soon.

Watch this space for an interview about this expedition with Drew coming soon.

He goes away on another expedition to Nepal in mid October so we’ll be speaking to him as soon as he’s back home and settled in.

Drew climbs regularly with us on Tuesday evenings – well, when he’s not away in the mountains that is! Feel free to say hello and have a natter if you see him. He used to also work as an instructor for us in the early days so who knows, he might have even taught you to climb!

Drew, we wish you and the rest of the team a safe journey home and look forward to hearing about all of your adventures.


Posted in 3 Star Membership, Climbing Holidays, Craggy Island News, Guildford News | No Comments »

New Volumes for Guildford!

Monday, September 26th, 2016 - Posted by Danie

Centre Manager Marv and his team of Duty Managers have been working hard to create these beautiful new volumes for us over the past few weeks!

We’re absolutely delighted with them and I’m sure you will be too when you get to climb on them.

We don’t like to waste things here at Craggy and these volumes have been made from some of the old panels that were removed when the centre was re-vamped last Summer. Makes us feel good to have recycled the old walls into lovely new ones again!

They’ll be featured on the new Comp Wall set which is happening this week at Guildford.

Posted in 3 Star Membership, Craggy Island News, Guildford News, Route Setting | No Comments »

Sutton Job Vacancy: Part Time Receptionist x 2

Thursday, July 14th, 2016 - Posted by Danie

Want to work as part of a great team in the sport you love?

We are looking to recruit 2 new members of staff to join the already awesome Craggy Sutton Team.  We are looking for a Weekend Receptionist and a Part Time Receptionist to fulfill vital roles within the centre.

As a Receptionist you will be responsible for assisting in the smooth running of the centre; serving customers and ensuring that everyone who comes in to the centre is kept safe and, most importantly, has a great time!

Full in-house training will be given on all aspects of the job including our bookings and membership system.

Are you….

  • Passionate about climbing?
  • Fun to be around and a great team player?
  • Eager to share climbing with others?
  • Keen to work in a bright, healthy environment?
  • Very excited about being able to climb and train for FREE?!

If this sounds like you then please get in touch by sending your CV and covering letter to

Closing date for applications is Friday 29th of July 2016.

Posted in 3 Star Membership, Craggy Island News, Guildford News, Sutton News | No Comments »

Craggy Sutton: Under new Management!

Wednesday, July 6th, 2016 - Posted by Danie

GarethAs any regular visitors to Sutton will already know, we’re delighted to have Gareth Davidson, our new Centre Manager now firmly in place!

We caught up with Gareth so you can find out a bit more about him and what his plans are for the centre:

So Gareth, how does it feel to be the new Centre Manager at Craggy Sutton?

It feels awesome. The past couple of months have been a baptism of fire, getting to know the crew and understanding the centre and the business as a whole. But I can honestly say I am relishing the challenge of this long term project that is Craggy Sutton.

Out with the old!What are your plans in the short-term?

My short term plans are to put things in place to enable us to build the long term vision I have for this centre and Craggy Island as a whole. The team have been decorating, brightening up the centre and making it more inviting for members and visitors – we have new tunes on the sound system and Yorkshire tea in the cafe!

And what about longer-term?

My longer term view is to make Craggy Sutton a hub for the community. The centre can mean so many different things to different people. But the one common thing we all have is our joy and passion for climbing. There has already been a few changes to the centre, I see these changes as laying the foundations for the BIG ideas I have for the centre as a whole. So watch this space!

New seating overlooking the climbing areas!What were you doing before taking on the Centre Manager role?

Before taking on the role as Centre Manager, I was working for Snow and Rock in the Buying and Merchandising team. I have quite a broad experience in my working life, having worked in the retail, public and the private sector. Also, being self-employed in the health and fitness industry.

How did you get in to climbing?

Well, before climbing I was a keen skateboarder and generally into sports. But I had a horrific injury which basically tore my left knee apart. I couldn’t do any sports, so my eldest brother took me climbing. We regularly traveled up to Stanage and also frequented different indoor walls. I took a break from climbing due to work commitments and having a family, but then the climbing bug gripped me again and I’ve not looked back since.

More new routes than ever due to a re-designed setting schedule!Tell us about your climbing, what do you enjoy and what are your goals?

For me, I love the process you go through that enables you to progress through your climbing. From sequencing the movements to teaching yourself different ways to approach and combat the problem you’re faced with. It’s a humbling process, and I can’t think of a better activity to fully immerse yourself into. The social side of climbing is also great, meeting people from all walks of life, brought together by the love of climbing and the outdoors. Climbing is hard, but that’s why I do it and keep coming back for more. I’m an advocate for good technique, I’d rather dial a movement or get the technique right. My goals, the goal is the same in whatever I do, just to get better in all that I
do… and have fun.

Anything else you want to tell us?

Come to Craggy Sutton for a warm welcome a friendly team and top notch bouldering and a mug of the finest Yorkshire Tea!

Posted in 3 Star Membership, Craggy Island News, Guildford News, Route Setting, Sutton News | No Comments »

Youth Climbing Team selection for 2016/2017 season!

Thursday, June 16th, 2016 - Posted by Danie

Matilda and Toby with their trophies at the International Youth Color Festival, Imst in June 2015

Matilda and Toby with their trophies at the International Youth Color Festival, Imst in June 2015

Would you like to try out for the Craggy Island Youth Climbing Team?  If so, here’s how to put yourself up for selection…

Download Youth Team Application Form here!

What do we offer members of the Youth Climbing Team?

The Craggy Island Youth Climbing Team is a select group of young climbers who either already show great form in competitions or have the potential to climb well in that environment.

Being a member of the Team opens up the following opportunities for young climbers:

  • Full support from Craggy Island – all of your climbing, tuition, coaching, advice and team kit is provided free of charge.  The only things that we do not cover the cost of are personal climbing equipment and travel to competitions as we feel it is very important that parents are involved in their child’s climbing too and ask that they support their child in attending the competitions that they choose to.
  • Team members climb for free at all Craggy Island centres.  We also encourage parents to be involved by offering them free climbing when they come in with their child – to either supervise, belay or climb with them.  If parents are not climbers already then we will offer you a Beginner Course or Lead Climbing Course so you can have a thorough understanding of what your child is undertaking.
  • Members of the team are still encouraged to attend our Kids Club if they wish as we believe that climbing should be about fun first and fore-most and want to ensure that all of our young climbers maintain a healthy attitude towards both their climbing and the other youngsters that they share their love of the sport with.  Attendance to our Kids Club is provided free of charge in this instance.
  • Weekly 2-hour coaching sessions are provided by our in-house team – Danie Rushmer, Team Manager & Coach, Mark Croxall, Head Coach, Howard Blyth, Coach and Graeme Harwood, Coach.  All of our coaches have a huge level of experience as individuals and between them are able to provide a diverse and high level of advice on all aspects of climbing, training and competing.  With their involvement also reaching out to the GB Junior Team and BMC National and Regional Academies this is one of the most experienced coaching teams available to a non-national team here in the UK.
  • In addition to the sessions provided on a weekly basis we also call in other highly regarded coaches for additional sessions.  The most recent of which was provided by Ian Dunn, GB Junior Team Manager who ran a day-long workshop with the team looking at warming up, performance analysis, lead climbing and core strength.
  • Our coaching team also attend significant competitions and events to support the team.  This is also provided free of charge within the UK and by arrangement in Europe.  Whilst attending competitions and events our coaches are able to provide assistance with warming up, preparation, route-reading, advice on specific moves or problems and assistance in making sure youngsters are in the right place at the right time!
Team member Miles Graham competing at the BMC YCS

Team member Miles Graham competing at the BMC YCS

Download Youth Team Application Form here!

The format for Selection this year is different to previous years. 

Anyone wishing to be considered for Team will need to complete a Youth Team Application form. Once completed, please email to or drop in at Reception for attention of Danie. Closing date for applications is Wednesday 6th of July 2016.

Successful applicants will then be invited to a Selection Day on Saturday 9th of July 2016 at 10:30-13:00. Further details will be provided as appropriate. There is no charge for the Selection Day.

All children born between 2000 and 2009 are invited to apply. This will be Youth A, Youth B, Youth C, Youth D and Youth E for events during late 2016 and 2017.

The Youth Team after Round 3 of the BMC YCS 2016

The Youth Team after Round 3 of the BMC YCS 2016

The selected Youth Team for 2016/2017 will then be announced on Wednesday 13th of July.  All attendees will be informed via email whether they have been selected or not on that day.  If you are not selected, we will provide specific feedback as to what you can improve on and how best to develop your climbing.

Please Note:  Team trainings and benefits will not start until 1st of September 2016 for new members!  You will be required to continue using Craggy in a ‘normal’ manner until then.

If you have any questions or require further information, please contact Danie via email on

Posted in Craggy Island News, Guildford News, Kids Club, Sutton News | No Comments »

New: Junior Social Session at Guildford!

Thursday, June 2nd, 2016 - Posted by Danie

32With climbing becoming ever more popular with young climbers we’re introducing a brand new session – just for them!

Starting Friday 10th of June 2016!

Our Junior Social will run every Friday evening from 7pm-9pm – priced at just £5.00. The session is for young climbers aged 14-16 years who have passed their Junior Competency Test and Registered as members here at Craggy Island, Guildford.

There will be an instructor on hand to offer advice and guidance but this is not a “supervised” session and is only suitable for competent young climbers.

If you’re unsure whether you’re Registered or suitable for this session then please call us on 01483 566880 before coming along, just to be sure.

Posted in Craggy Island News, Guildford News, Kids Club | No Comments »

Job Vacancy at Guildford: Full Time Duty Manager

Wednesday, May 18th, 2016 - Posted by Danie

Location: GuildfordCrew

Position: Duty Manager

Hours: 37.5 hours per week

Line Manager: Centre Manager

Application closing date: Sunday 29th of May 2016

Duty Manager Job Description:

To be a Duty Manager you will be passionate about climbing. This vital position will mean you are ‘hands on’ in the responsibility of running a high quality public sporting venue. You will report directly to the Centre Manager.

Your duties will involve a variety of back-office and customer facing tasks to ensure the smooth running of the centre for both staff and the public. This is a varied role with the opportunity to promote climbing as a fun and exhilarating sport to be enjoyed by all.

The centre is staffed on a shift basis seven days a week and therefore we require someone who can work as part of a team and on their own initiative. Hours to include evenings and weekends. We offer training on all our systems and all staff have access to free climbing at both our Craggy Island Climbing Centres. Salary is £16,477.50 pa for a 37.5 hour week.

If you are interested in applying for this position please send your C.V. and a letter letting us know why you want to be part of our crew to Marv Smith, Centre Manager at

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Posted in Craggy Island News, Guildford News, Sutton News | No Comments »

Monday 21st of March: Greg Conlon – Sports Injury advice

Monday, March 7th, 2016 - Posted by Danie

UntitledGreg Conlon’s speciality is in Athletics injuries. Being a top athlete himself (ranked in the World Top 10 for Masters Pole Vault!) he is very used to managing injuries and also dealing with the mental, as well as physical, symptoms of injuries.

With a son that’s mad keen on climbing (Rhys Conlon for those of you that know the tiny powerhouse) Greg’s attention was turned to managing climbing injuries in addition to his vast experience of athletic ones.

Greg will be coming in to do a consultation & massage clinic at Craggy Guildford on Monday 21st of March from 7pm til 10pm. During this clinic he will provide free advice and injury assessments so you can better understand what’s the problem and receive advice on what you’ll need to do about it.

You don’t need to book but please be aware that Greg will see people on a “first come first served” basis.

Can’t make it that night? Drop Greg a message via his Facebook page and he’ll be very happy to offer advice.

Greg offers 20% off to 3 Star members – please contact him directly to arrange a consultation and make sure you have your 3 Star card when you arrive for your appointment!

Posted in 3 Star Membership, Craggy Island News, Guildford News | No Comments »

What is the story of Craggy Island?

Thursday, March 3rd, 2016 - Posted by Danie

Look at all that SPACE!We were recently asked, how did Craggy start? What is the story behind the business? It’s a very good question and well worth telling the tale…

First, a bit of background. Just 12 years or so ago, the indoor climbing world was much smaller. Certainly in the South East there were only a couple of large climbing walls. . . Westway in London and Calshot in Hampshire being the main ones and that’s about it! Further north there were a few more but climbers still had to travel far and wide to find somewhere to climb indoors.

It is also fair to say the industry was not well established and had, well, a bit of a grimy and unapproachable kind of feel to it.

The beginnings of our Craggy!In step Rob and Steve… Both in their 40’s and having a long career in the creative industry, were long term friends and had recently found indoor climbing as a new sport. Add to the mix that they were both looking to find a new business to capture their attention and Rob realised there was a lovely new, large, empty and most importantly, tall industrial building behind his photographic studio in Guildford!

The next day was an evening round Rob’s house where a plan was hatched over a few beers and a scribbled A4 sheet of paper and the concept of Craggy Island was born.

They just couldn't wait to climb it.From that day on it is fair to say both just picked up the project, and simply made things happen. The concept started to form and expand until, in literally just a few weeks, it had exploded to building one of the largest indoor climbing centres in the UK at that time.

There was a daily mix of property agents, landlord meetings, planning consultants, council officers, councillors, banks, more banks, finance houses, climbing wall designers, climbing wall suppliers, other climbing walls, accountants, consultants, local climbers, the local public and their dog and the steady realisation that to do it all properly was going to cost money, a lot of money, no. . . a huge amount of money!

But we were going to reinvent indoor climbing. It was going to be new and fresh! No more grey imposing walls, it was going to be welcoming and inclusive to all ages and abilities. What could possibly go wrong? Well, the realisation that the banks needed you to put everything you had on the line for them to loan you the money sharpens the mind. If it did not work they would take your house, your car and and quite possibly in Rob’s case, his record collection.

And then it was done... :o)We looked carefully at the spreadsheets, took a deep breath, and pressed the button.

From that moment we lined up the entire business plan and building designs and worked all hours to get things right, and after a few months of negotiating and wrangling and downright blagging, it all boiled down to convincing a planning committee one dark evening in Guildford in 2003 that it was a jolly good idea and they should allow us to build it.

By that time we had contacted the climbing community and were able to fill the council room with all kinds of supporting souls. We had both very carefully prepared speeches (and even had someone coach us as to how to present them!) and had tried to line up as many councillors as possible on our side against a chief planning officer who was dead against it for a variety of reasons. The entire project would live or die on a simple show of hands. . . can you imagine the tension?

Our case came up and a series of councillors, interested members of public and a very nervous Rob and Steve gave their views. The chairman then asked for a show of hands and we had 100% support. Suffice to say, there was cheering from the terraces! We later found that a unanimous vote was very rare indeed. . . which was nice.

Later in the pub, the realisation of what had just happened hit home and the following days were a whirlwind of signing contracts, leases and mortgage guarantees in blood with the bank. There was simply no going back – not that we wanted to in any case – and it was all hands to the pump to get open as soon as possible.

The actual building and opening of Craggy Island Guildford deserves its own story so you will have to wait for that but now you have an inkling of how it all started…

Thanks for being a part of Craggy,

Posted in 3 Star Membership, Craggy Island News, Guildford News, Sutton News | No Comments »

Success for Craggy Youth Team and Squad at BMC Youth Climbing Series!

Wednesday, March 2nd, 2016 - Posted by Danie

IMG_9476Wow, what a day!  We love nothing more at Craggy than hosting a great event and were very proud to host Round 2 of the BMC Youth Climbing Series at Guildford on Saturday 27th of February.

The Youth Climbing Series (YCS) is run by the British Mountaineering Council (BMC) and gives youngsters aged between 7 and 17 the chance to compete in a fun series of competitions within their region. During the competition the kids are required to climb 3 routes and 3 boulder problems – scoring points for the distance that they manage to climb up the route or boulder problem.  A maximum of 100 points is available on the routes and 60 on the boulder problems.  All routes and boulders are set specifically for the competition and take in to account not only the age of the children that will be climbing them, but also their size and the strengths and weaknesses which are likely at their age.

This Round saw a record number of competitors with 143 registered to compete – the largest number ever at a YCS event!

In usually Craggy-style, the day ran very smoothly and both the centre and the routes received many compliments from visiting youngsters and their parents.

We were exceptionally proud of both the Craggy Youth Team and the Squad. They climbed fantastically and made great ambassadors for the centre, wearing their T-shirts with pride.

Congratulations to all of the competitors from across the region. Here’s the results from all of our Team and Squad but a big well done to all of our local youngsters who don’t climb on one of our regular sessions too:

Craggy Youth Team:

1st – Toby Roberts, Youth D Boys

1st – Matilda Collins, Youth C Girls

1st – Miles Graham, Youth B Boys

2nd – Joshua Bruyns, Youth C Boys

3rd – Rhys Conlon, Youth D Boys

4th – Katie Roberts, Youth D Girls

Craggy Youth Squad:

2nd – Amy Feakes, Youth A Girls

3rd – Jonas Mueller-Doblies, Youth E Boys (Mini Kids Club)

5th – Otto Nicol Gauld, Youth D Boys

6th – James Harwood, Youth D Boys (Craggy Sutton Squad)

6th – Sophie Claesen, Youth A Girls

6th – Matthew Crestin, Youth C Boys

7th – Jessica Gale, Youth C Girls

7th – Ella Griffiths, Youth B Girls

7th – Alex Crestin, Youth C Boys

8th – Isabella Edgington, Youth D Girls

10th – Maddy Hunt, Youth B Girls

11th – Katy Claesen, Youth B Girls

14th – Alice Pendry-Humm, Youth D Girls

Full results can be found here:

Posted in Craggy Island News, Guildford News, Sutton News | No Comments »

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