/ Ratho

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Martin W on 02 Jun 2012
I noticed this on Ratho's web site today:

"As of Monday the 2nd April 2012, the EICA now opens at 9.00 and closes at 22.00 Monday to Friday and 18.00 at the weekends.

Unfortunately due to low received usage, we decided to shorten our opening hours."

Sounds like they're not getting the customer numbers they need. I don't think you could blame the summer weather tempting people outdoors, either. I've not been for a while, largely because it's so cold in winter - which should be their busiest time, but it's not clear what they could sensibly do to heat the place - and expensive at any time of year. Any regulars noticed it getting quieter?

Might this finally, sadly, be the beginning of the end?
tuath on 02 Jun 2012
In reply to Martin W: the climbing arena hours are pretty much the same as they were (earlier opening at weekend)- it's the gym opening hours that have been shortened- can't have been enough people using it early morning
winhill - on 02 Jun 2012
In reply to Martin W:

have you managed to divine what their hours are this weekend?

tried their site, facebook and google but no joy.

I do know the Essex Independent Care Association will be closed though.
In reply to Martin W: Agreed about the heating issue - it needs to be addressed but it is hard to work out what to do to address it. Ratho is a great place and a great climbing wall, but something to do with heating does appear to have been at best overlooked in the planning phase. It is a real shame.
neil the weak - on 02 Jun 2012
In reply to nickinscottishmountains: The opening hours this weekend for the climbing arena are 9am - 6pm each day. This is exactly the same amount of time as the old hours, just one hour earlier so not shortened at all? Midweek hours are 10am till 10pm, same as always. If this is "the beginning of the end" no-one has told any of the staff here!
monkeys on 02 Jun 2012
Might this finally, sadly, be the beginning of the end?

Indeed, it is the end of the old open/closing times.
How you extrapolate the death of the place from that is really beyond me

Fraser on 02 Jun 2012
In reply to Martin W:

There was a thread about this on the site a while back from memory. Can't say I've noticed it being any quieter the last few times I've been in. I don't think this will make any difference regarding and perceived threat of closure - I certainly hope not.
FH1920 - on 04 Jun 2012
In reply to Martin W:
I love Ratho, its by far the best wall I've ever been to. As far as I can see its not really been getting any quieter, indeed if anything it seems busier. Unfortunately for me, as I often have other commitments at the weekend, the earlier closing now often seems to be the difference between it being worth going for a climb there and not. :-(
battledroid - on 04 Jun 2012
In reply to Martin W: Have I got the wrong idea, or is it 35 quid to join plus over 50 a month to use?!
Fraser on 04 Jun 2012
In reply to battledroid:

Yeah, you got the wrong idea.
Robert Durran - on 05 Jun 2012
In reply to nickinscottishmountains:
> (In reply to Martin W) Agreed about the heating issue - it needs to be addressed but it is hard to work out what to do to address it.

No it is easy. Put on lots of extra clothes including gloves for belaying. Take some of them off to climb. For some reason lots of people don't seem to do this. And put up with mild hotaches on a couple of warm up routes. I feel the cold more than mosy people outside, but seem to cope fine at Ratho.
george mc - on 05 Jun 2012
In reply to Martin W:
> I noticed this on Ratho's web site today:
>
> "As of Monday the 2nd April 2012, the EICA now opens at 9.00 and closes at 22.00 Monday to Friday and 18.00 at the weekends.
>
> Unfortunately due to low received usage, we decided to shorten our opening hours."
>
> Sounds like they're not getting the customer numbers they need. I don't think you could blame the summer weather tempting people outdoors, either. I've not been for a while, largely because it's so cold in winter - which should be their busiest time, but it's not clear what they could sensibly do to heat the place - and expensive at any time of year. Any regulars noticed it getting quieter?
>
> Might this finally, sadly, be the beginning of the end?

The tone of your post minded me of this http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w7RIgs3eygo
AlH - on 05 Jun 2012
In reply to george mc: 'like'
edinburgh_man on 05 Jun 2012
In reply to nickinscottishmountains:

Agreed.
Scott_vzr on 08 Jun 2012
In reply to Martin W:

It was packed last night. After 7pm it gets busy, all year, on a thursday when I take a group there.

I have only seen it quiet on a friday night.

You need to either face the cold or sort out warm clothes, my school kids climb all year there, they don't complain, they are too busy climbing !
Nath93 - on 08 Jun 2012
In reply to Martin W: Surely people are being a bit soft about the heating issue ? Like has been said, stick a jacket on and a pair of gloves if it bothers you that much. I thought people went to climbing walls to climb, not to moan about the heating ? Just a case of people finding something to moan about me thinks !
JLS on 08 Jun 2012
In reply to Nath93:

>"Surely people are being a bit soft about the heating issue ?"

No they are not.
Pritchard - on 08 Jun 2012
In reply to Nath93:

You can say people are complaining too much all you like, but at the end of the day if it's freezing people won't go. My wife refuses to go in winter as she can't feel her fingers after 1 route and therefore without a belayer I don't go either. Yes people can layer up... Why bother when I can go somewhere else that's warm and comfortable to climb in, that's incidentally often cheaper as well.

Craig.
Robert Durran - on 09 Jun 2012
In reply to Pritchard:
>
> Why bother when I can go somewhere else that's warm and comfortable to climb in, that's incidentally often cheaper as well.


Because Ratho is the best wall in the country by a mile and hardly ever busy (compared to somewhere else that is nowhere near as good and too busy and too hot!).
mark mcgowan01 - on 09 Jun 2012
In reply to Robert Durran: Ratho is the best sport crag in Scotland
Robert Durran - on 09 Jun 2012
In reply to mark mcgowan01:
> (In reply to Robert Durran) Ratho is the best sport crag in Scotland

It may be better than many sport crags in Scotland, but it's not a crag!

Robert Durran - on 09 Jun 2012
In reply to Pritchard:
> My wife refuses to go in winter as she can't feel her fingers after 1 route.

I don't suppose anyone can, but they would almost certainly be fine after two or three routes if she peresevered and kept them warm when not climbing.

girlymonkey - on 09 Jun 2012
In reply to Robert Durran:
> (In reply to Pritchard)
> [...]
>
> I don't suppose anyone can, but they would almost certainly be fine after two or three routes if she peresevered and kept them warm when not climbing.

But surely the point of an indoor wall is so that you can climb comfortably when outside is not comfortable climbing conditions?! I refuse to go in winter also as I can't cope with the cold either. (not that I go often in summer either - it's too expensive and there's real climbing to be done!!)

Ben Sharp - on 09 Jun 2012
In reply to Martin W: How about under wall heating? Nice warm holds.
Kemics - on 09 Jun 2012
In reply to Ben Sharp:

or an extra large cup of mtfu ;)
Scott_vzr on 09 Jun 2012
People need to warm up properly eg getting the whole body warm first, then climb. How do people survive winter climbing outside ?
Robert Durran - on 09 Jun 2012
In reply to girlymonkey:
> (In reply to Robert Durran)

> But surely the point of an indoor wall is so that you can climb comfortably when outside is not comfortable climbing conditions?!

The point of an indoor wall is to train. I'm not sure where else one is going to train on a cold, dark winter evening. Anyway, the fact that the conditions at Ratho are entirely predictable (eg no wind) and one's warm up entirely controllable (eg you don't need to finish your first route if you feel the hot aches will be too much and counterproductive), leads me to conclude that most of the whinging comes down to wusiness and lack of dedication.

As long as the place stays open I'm more than happy to get the place largely to myself for unhindered winter training!
Robert Durran - on 09 Jun 2012
In reply to Scott_vzr:
> How do people survive winter climbing outside ?

Precisely. People would kill for the typical Ratho winter conditions on gritstone.

neil the weak - on 10 Jun 2012
In reply to Robert Durran:
> (In reply to mark mcgowan01)
> [...]
>
> It may be better than many sport crags in Scotland, but it's not a crag!

Indeed. It's actually four crags! Justice Wall, Old Comp Wall, Hanger Wall and Tower / Slab Sector..... Variable temperatures, conditions dependant on the hard(er) routes, exposure, rope drag. It has it all, there's almost a walk in even........ ;)
neil the weak - on 10 Jun 2012
In reply to Robert Durran:
> The point of an indoor wall is to train.

Unfortunately for ratho this is not universally true though. If training or leading on medium / harder standard routes is what you want then Ratho must indeed be almost unbeatable.

However what many people (in fact the majority of indoor climbing customers I suspect) want I think, is a nice comfortable environment to hang out in and toprope easier routes (up to 6bish?) with their mates. Many are not terribly concerned with improvement, training, leading or pushing themselves awfully hard. This might seem like a strange mindset (or waste of time) to you but it's the commercial reality and sadly for ratho it's these customers it caters to least well. Whatever else you might say about alien one, it knows who it's customers are....
ads.ukclimbing.com
Robert Durran - on 10 Jun 2012
In reply to neil the weak:
> (In reply to Robert Durran)

> Indeed. It's actually four crags! Justice Wall, Old Comp Wall, Hanger Wall and Tower / Slab Sector.....

I make that four walls, not crags. It does inded have a crag out the back though!

Robert Durran - on 10 Jun 2012
In reply to neil the weak:
> (In reply to Robert Durran)

> However what many people (in fact the majority of indoor climbing customers I suspect) want I think, is a nice comfortable environment to hang out in and toprope easier routes (up to 6bish?) with their mates.

Evidently.

> Many are not terribly concerned with improvement, training, leading or pushing themselves awfully hard.

Evidently.

> This might seem like a strange mindset (or waste of time) to you but it's the commercial reality and sadly for ratho it's these customers it caters to least well.

You are, of course, absolutely right - Ratho provides a brilliant service to a pretty small regular hardcore, subsidised by these hard done by customers. This is great for the hardcore as long as this precarious balance is maintained.

> Whatever else you might say about alien one, it knows who it's customers are....

It keeps Ratho quiet. Again great for the Ratho hardcore as long as it can remain sustainable.

gunbo - on 11 Jun 2012
In reply to Martin W: Jesus do what you do outdoors layer up and man up. I've. Climbed there in the winter t shirt long sleeved t shirt climbing trousers I was fine belaying and climbing. I'd climb there all the time but it's not my local wall (I live in n/Wales). It's the best set up and size indoor wall I've seen hands down

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