/ indoor walls

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ds15 on 03 Dec 2012
Is there the demand for the amount of indoor walls that are opening lately
Monk - on 03 Dec 2012
In reply to ds15:

I'd say so. All the walls I visit seem to be pretty busy still.
IMA - on 03 Dec 2012
In reply to ds15: Find out if they close down in the next 12-24 months. AWCC Sheffield should be interesting (Picked as I know about it opening), though having never been to any of the indoor centers I can't give an informed and balanced reason, but surely it is a fairly saturated market? However I am sure / hope that enough research was done to ensure there were enough extra customers or they would offer something else to attract those loyal to the current walls.
jkarran - on 03 Dec 2012
In reply to ds15:

Given the investment required in setting up a wall the people doing so and their backers appear to believe there is demand or that it can be created/grown.

Why do you ask?
jk
I like climbing - on 03 Dec 2012
In reply to ds15:
I think so and London could probably do with more.
Graeme Alderson on 03 Dec 2012
In reply to I like climbing: Awesome Walls London anyone. You heard it here first ;-)
winhill - on 03 Dec 2012
In reply to Graeme Alderson:
> (In reply to I like climbing) Awesome Walls London anyone. You heard it here first ;-)

I was surprised to see that the AW membership numbering scheme allows for a possible 10 billion members, more than the current world population but possibly to allow for growth?
BarrySW19 on 03 Dec 2012
I certainly think SW London could do with a decent centre... you have Westway and Mile End, but neither is really convenient for the SW.
jwa - on 03 Dec 2012
You've got the White Spider near Kingston. That's kind of London.
jwa - on 03 Dec 2012
And Craggy in Sutton.
winhill - on 03 Dec 2012
In reply to Graeme Alderson:

Graeme, what about the rise of bouldering walls, something I imagine you must know a bit about.

When a new wall opens there could be concerns that it will split the available market (don't know how much overall growth they generate) which will weaken the area's pre-existing walls.

People tend to use bouldering as day to day training, as they get more experienced, spending much less time on the ropes. So the traffic of experienced climbers might be higher bouldering than ropes. Experienced regular users offer a steady income stream.

A bouldering wall has lower set up costs (and lower on going costs) than a mixed wall, so businesses are able to establish themselves much more easily and then able to prise the regular income away from the roped walls. (Especially if you opt for plywood rather than 'crete). So in effect creaming off the high spenders and for a much more modest investment.

The result could be that roped walls become more like beginner's walls but without the income from regular trainers to help cover the cost of much more expensive roped walls. So finely crafted crete walls will disappear not just because they're underutilised and old fashioned but because the facility itself is not patronised by regular trainers?
Neil Williams - on 03 Dec 2012
In reply to IMA:

"but surely it is a fairly saturated market?"

Depends on what market you go for. If you go for climbers, it probably is unless there isn't a wall for miles around. If you go for climbers plus kids clubs and adults as an alternative to a gym, there's plenty out there.

Neil
Ramblin dave - on 03 Dec 2012
In reply to winhill:
> (In reply to Graeme Alderson)

> People tend to use bouldering as day to day training, as they get more experienced, spending much less time on the ropes. So the traffic of experienced climbers might be higher bouldering than ropes. Experienced regular users offer a steady income stream.

I'm not convinced by this part of your argument - from looking around at most walls I've been to, and from most of the regular indoor climbers I'd say that people who think enough about training to have decided to focus on bouldering because it's a more efficient way of building strength than doing routes are in a small minority compared to people whose "training plan" is turn up, climb stuff until bored then go for a pint...
Ramblin dave - on 03 Dec 2012
In reply to Ramblin dave:
Interesting points otherwise, though. Bouldering walls are (presumably) cheaper to run and take up less space, and are also quite attractive to newbies since they don't need to do a course or buy a harness to get started. In fact, from my experience of living in a town with a bouldering wall but no roped climbing within 45 minutes drive, it's the more experienced / serious climbers who are willing to head off to another wall to get some leading in, largely because the idea of building up stamina on a bouldering wall is counterintuitive and often impractical (4x4s sound like a great idea until you go to a small, busy wall on a tuesday night...)
winhill - on 03 Dec 2012
In reply to Ramblin dave:
> (In reply to winhill)
>
> I'm not convinced by this part of your argument - from looking around at most walls I've been to, and from most of the regular indoor climbers I'd say that people who think enough about training to have decided to focus on bouldering because it's a more efficient way of building strength than doing routes are in a small minority compared to people whose "training plan" is turn up, climb stuff until bored then go for a pint...
Yes, it's all marvellously anecdotal, depending on what you've got available but certainly at an elite level, the best climbers I know (or know of, more precisely), including a few sponsored ones, I have never ever seen with a harness on. But again that could be because there is nothing particularly worth roping up for at the facilities I frequent.
Neil Williams - on 03 Dec 2012
In reply to winhill:

"but certainly at an elite level"

Yeah, I think people accept that - but most indoor climbers aren't at an elite level. I'm certainly not. I climb a mix of roped and bouldering depending on what I feel like, and who I'm with (or indeed if I'm on my own).

I'd do more bouldering if walls didn't tend to make most of it really physically hard (I'm rubbish at big overhangs) and had more vertical/slabby stuff.

Neil
Ramblin dave - on 03 Dec 2012
In reply to Neil Williams:
> (In reply to winhill)
>
> "but certainly at an elite level"
>
> Yeah, I think people accept that - but most indoor climbers aren't at an elite level.

Yes, exactly. A reasonably common complaint on here is "why does my local wall have loads of easy slabs and jug ladders for kids' parties, corporate bonding events and bumbly novices when they could use the space to provide a really excellent training facility for serious hard climbers", to which the answer is always that outside of a couple of areas, the kids' parties, corporate bonding events and bumbly novices are what pays the rent.
Monk - on 03 Dec 2012
In reply to winhill:
> (In reply to Ramblin dave)
> [...]
> Yes, it's all marvellously anecdotal, depending on what you've got available but certainly at an elite level, the best climbers I know (or know of, more precisely), including a few sponsored ones, I have never ever seen with a harness on. But again that could be because there is nothing particularly worth roping up for at the facilities I frequent.

There is an element of truth in that. When I was climbing better than I do now, I would often find that there were very few routes at any wall that I couldn't onsight. Most walls seem to only have a couple of routes above 7b or so. Having said that, there isn't really much difference in bouldering walls - I used to be able to tick all the problems in a session or two at most walls. And I'm not a particularly good climber. The advantage with bouldering centres is that there are now far more problems to climb to keep things interesting. Saturation of walls is also useful for climbers operating at higher grades as you can rotate between them to keep variety as each sets new routes at different intervals.

By contrast, I would say that most walls I know of probably operate in quite a market-savvy way. There aren't as many higher grade climbers as there are low-grade climbers and kids parties. Top ropes are always busy, whereas the overhanging lead walls and the campus boards are quieter.
Graeme Alderson on 03 Dec 2012
In reply to IMA:
> (In reply to ds15) Find out if they close down in the next 12-24 months. AWCC Sheffield should be interesting (Picked as I know about it opening), though having never been to any of the indoor centers I can't give an informed and balanced reason, but surely it is a fairly saturated market? However I am sure / hope that enough research was done to ensure there were enough extra customers or they would offer something else to attract those loyal to the current walls.

Abbeydale Picture House was recently bought by the owner of one of the existing Sheffield walls. That will liven things up
I like climbing - on 03 Dec 2012
In reply to Graeme Alderson:
> (In reply to I like climbing) Awesome Walls London anyone. You heard it here first ;-)

Great ! Look forward to hearing more.....
thebigfriendlymoose - on 03 Dec 2012
In reply to Monk:
>
>Having said that, there isn't really much difference in bouldering walls - >I used to be able to tick all the problems in a session or two at most >walls. And I'm not a particularly good climber.

You are either being very modest about your abilities or only go to poor bouldering walls. Most walls I go to (the Depot, Works etc) have plenty of boulder problems up to around V10/11, enough to satisfy even a good climber for "a session or two".
tlm - on 03 Dec 2012
In reply to winhill:
> So in effect creaming off the high spenders and for a much more modest investment.

Are regular climbers really the 'high spenders'??? People pay loads for kids clubs, or for an introduction to climbing - those uses of the wall that have a bit of added value. Most climbers I know are really tight, and come the light days with no rain will just abandon the wall for free, outdoor climbing....
Monk - on 03 Dec 2012
In reply to thebigfriendlymoose:
> (In reply to Monk)
> [...]
> >Having said that, there isn't really much difference in bouldering walls - >I used to be able to tick all the problems in a session or two at most >walls. And I'm not a particularly good climber.
>
> You are either being very modest about your abilities or only go to poor bouldering walls. Most walls I go to (the Depot, Works etc) have plenty of boulder problems up to around V10/11, enough to satisfy even a good climber for "a session or two".

Perhaps I was a bit sloppy with my language when I said "bouldering walls" in my previous post - I meant the bouldering section of the walls I frequent. The walls around me are traditional centres with ropes and bouldering. I would guess that most of the walls I went/go to would have somewhere in the region of 30-50 problems up to around V8, but mostly sub V6. Both the walls you mention are dedicated bouldering centres, and I have to admit that these do provide more to go at.
andyr - on 03 Dec 2012
In reply to I like climbing:
> (In reply to Graeme Alderson)
> [...]
>
> Great ! Look forward to hearing more.....

There are currently five new wall schemes on the go in London at the moment, so why not make it six..

Surprisingly. I can think of three reasonable London walls which aren't particularly busy, so it'll be interesting to see what happens in the future if even half of them get built.

Andy

Graeme Alderson on 03 Dec 2012
In reply to andyr:

Did you not notice the smiley?
winhill - on 03 Dec 2012
In reply to tlm:
> (In reply to winhill)
> [So in effect creaming off the high spenders and for a much more modest investment.]
>
> Are regular climbers really the 'high spenders'??? People pay loads for kids clubs, or for an introduction to climbing - those uses of the wall that have a bit of added value. Most climbers I know are really tight, and come the light days with no rain will just abandon the wall for free, outdoor climbing....

I don't know how it breaks down for different walls, but if I was running a wall I'd like lots of regular customers who took advantage of the annual pass, to save cash. That way I could sit back and watch the money grow in my bank account, rather than face a monthly marketing drive to keep the irregular newcomers coming in, not knowing from month to month how much money was coming in.

It's the pareto thing, 80% of your income comes from 20% of your customers but 80% of your time is spent chasing the other 20% of your income.

Someone mentioned the irregular types further up, the kids, the corporates etc but I'm sure bouldering centres rely on a lot less of this as most of those activities presume some rope work usually.

Whether the NIBAS when it starts will change all that I don't know.
Neil Williams - on 03 Dec 2012
In reply to winhill:

"I don't know how it breaks down for different walls, but if I was running a wall I'd like lots of regular customers who took advantage of the annual pass, to save cash."

Those who commit to a weekly activity session for their kids *with an instructor* will bring in even more, though!

I think the bouldering centres are still pushing for the kids and corporates - I think it works just as well for kids (who don't mind so long as it's fun), and the parents might like it (less perceived[1] risk of injury), but possibly less so for corporates, for whom the "facing fears" and "trust in your colleagues belaying" bits are almost as important as, if not more so than, the actual climbing.

[1] Yes, I know twisted ankles in bouldering walls are more likely than falls from height on roped walls so long as instructors are competent, but it's the fear we're born with, is it not...

Neil
Ramblin dave - on 03 Dec 2012
In reply to winhill:
> (In reply to tlm)
> [...]
>
> I don't know how it breaks down for different walls, but if I was running a wall I'd like lots of regular customers who took advantage of the annual pass, to save cash.

Yeah, but even among regular climbers, I think it's a very small minority who exclusively boulder (let alone use a systems wall or other training aids) because it's more effective training. Most people I know just aren't that scientific about training and take the view that if you want to build up endurance then you're going to have to climb roped routes, or even just that climbing routes is more satisfying so that's what they want to do when they go climbing.
Ramblin dave - on 03 Dec 2012
In reply to Ramblin dave:
Maybe this is because I tend to live in flat areas with no decent climbing, though. Possibly in Sheffield or Bangor everyone you meet down the wall on a tuesday night can tell you whether they're currently in a power endurance phase or a hypertrophic phase and where they're at with their boulder pyramids...
jwa - on 03 Dec 2012
In reply to Graeme Alderson:
> Abbeydale Picture House was recently bought by the owner of one of the existing Sheffield walls. That will liven things up

Now that is interesting.

ads.ukclimbing.com
Graeme Alderson on 03 Dec 2012
In reply to jwa: Surprised you are the 1st to pick up on it. It not me/us (The Works) so that leaves you with a choice of 2 - excluding the University (The Matrix) and the myriad school/home walls/outdoor boulders.
winhill - on 03 Dec 2012
In reply to Neil Williams:
> (In reply to winhill)
>
> I think the bouldering centres are still pushing for the kids and corporates - I think it works just as well for kids (who don't mind so long as it's fun), and the parents might like it (less perceived[1] risk of injury), but possibly less so for corporates, for whom the "facing fears" and "trust in your colleagues belaying" bits are almost as important as, if not more so than, the actual climbing.

I don't know, you see a lot of parents taking photos of their kids high up on a route, never hardly when their kids are on a boulder problem.

Trust in your colleagues belaying defo sounds like the sort of mindless team building some people think is good for Mrs Miggins from Accounts but it's less clear how that works when you don't have any ropes?
Neil Williams - on 03 Dec 2012
In reply to winhill:

"Trust in your colleagues belaying defo sounds like the sort of mindless team building some people think is good for Mrs Miggins from Accounts but it's less clear how that works when you don't have any ropes?"

It doesn't quite as well. And indeed being at the top of a 4m bouldering wall can be quite scary (and dangerous in a minor injury sense) if you're not used to it.

Neil
jwa - on 03 Dec 2012
In reply to Graeme Alderson:
> (In reply to jwa) Surprised you are the 1st to pick up on it. It not me/us (The Works) so that leaves you with a choice of 2 - excluding the University (The Matrix) and the myriad school/home walls/outdoor boulders.

I don't want to pry on a public forum if it's not appropriate but do you know who it is and what plans they have? The news articles just refer to an anonymous buyer wanting to return the building to public use. A climbing wall doesn't seem a fitting use of an old building like that, particularly not if the internal decorations are still in place.
BarrySW19 on 03 Dec 2012
In reply to jwa:
> You've got the White Spider near Kingston. That's kind of London.

Ah - I'd not seen that one - is it new? Might have to give that a go soon. I like Craggy in Guildford, but it is a bit of a trek every weekend and much too far for weekdays. Thanks.
jwa - on 03 Dec 2012
In reply to BarrySW19:

It's fairly new. I've not been as don't live in London anymore but it looks good. I was referring to Craggy 2 in Sutton; it's just a bouldering wall.

Oceanrower - on 03 Dec 2012
In reply to BarrySW19:
> (In reply to jwa)
> [...]
>
> Ah - I'd not seen that one - is it new? Might have to give that a go soon. I like Craggy in Guildford, but it is a bit of a trek every weekend and much too far for weekdays. Thanks.

Been open unoficially about two months, officially about a week and a half. About 2000 square metres of roped climbing and three separate bouldering areas ranging from quite easy to feck me!

Plenty of parking and exceedingly good cake ;)
Oceanrower - on 03 Dec 2012
I like climbing - on 03 Dec 2012
In reply to andyr:
> (In reply to I like climbing)
> [...]
>
> There are currently five new wall schemes on the go in London at the moment, so why not make it six..
>
> Surprisingly. I can think of three reasonable London walls which aren't particularly busy, so it'll be interesting to see what happens in the future if even half of them get built.
>
> Andy

Thanks for the info.
tlm - on 04 Dec 2012
In reply to winhill:

> Someone mentioned the irregular types further up, the kids, the corporates etc but I'm sure bouldering centres rely on a lot less of this as most of those activities presume some rope work usually.

Erm - nope. There are often hoards of lovely darlings stomping around screaming at the bouldering walls I go to.
winhill - on 04 Dec 2012
In reply to tlm:
> (In reply to winhill)
>
> [Someone mentioned the irregular types further up, the kids, the corporates etc but I'm sure bouldering centres rely on a lot less of this as most of those activities presume some rope work usually.]
>
> Erm - nope. There are often hoards of lovely darlings stomping around screaming at the bouldering walls I go to.

Erm - you've misunderstood. The Works has some kid friendly boulders specificallly to cater for young ones but the question is whether they "rely on a lot less of this", some walls have stated they rely on kids for 50% of their income, are the boulder walls reliant to the same extent?
Graeme Alderson on 04 Dec 2012
In reply to winhill:
> but the question is whether they "rely on a lot less of this", some walls have stated they rely on kids for 50% of their income, are the boulder walls reliant to the same extent?

Walls that are busy with adult climbers eg The Works are not reliant on kids groups. Walls that are less busy with adults are probably more reliant on groups. It's nowt to do with the type of wall, all about the number of customers

tlm - on 04 Dec 2012
In reply to winhill:

> Erm - you've misunderstood. The Works has some kid friendly boulders specificallly to cater for young ones but the question is whether they "rely on a lot less of this", some walls have stated they rely on kids for 50% of their income, are the boulder walls reliant to the same extent?

I don't know - I don't have access to their accounts. However, I do see the prices for the kids clubs and the kids parties and the get taught to boulder sessions and they are paying a LOT more than I would be willing to pay. There are kids sessions on every time that I go there - I tend to go a couple of times a week, but if I change the day, there is still usually a kids session on.

So by that reasoning, I think they are making more money out of the taught sessions than they are out of me - I don't think the instructors get paid that well?


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