/ Climbing wall nostalgia
The Al Rouse wall at Sheffield Poly:
Richard Dunne sports centre - the hideous polished concrete chimney, is it still open? Rothwell, brick edge problems, the full length traverse and the overhanging jamming cracks on the underside of the slab.
Please post some photos for old times sake
There used to be one at Moat College in Leicester that was a sort of extended chimney next to the boilers - lots of slots in bare walls.
and the fine Altringham wall at the leisure centre where I first climbed indoors
Ah, those weren't the days.
Abraham Moss, Manchester: mono crucifix crux on the "easy" traverse; death mantel on the protruding paving slab ...
Cliffs Barn in Mawdesley, wasn't really massively into climbing back then but went there with Scouts/Ventures a few times. It's still there but used privately by an outdoor activity firm, I believe it closed to the public when it was sued after an accident.
Probably still have my membership card somewhere!
I used to live in Henry Price at Leeds University. The traverse beneath it was quite famous I believe. Unfortunately I didn't climb in those days.
The old Fort William when it was open and airy and when Cubby set problems. I thought it was the best facility square foot for square foot I've ever climbed on in the UK. Where else could you practice full body bridges for instance? see background pic: http://offwidth.uptosummit.com/technique.html
Nice hard parquet floor landing too :)
The Moat college wall is still there! I was there recently doing some work. I was impressed, it has some great features for beginners.
I remember when I finally managed the entire traverse under the bridge then those 4 scrappy pieces of flint* for handholds, and just smear stained paint for the feet before getting to the easy ground of the concrete buttress.
I never had the bottle for the upper traverse but every time we went, there was a guy in black dance tights traversing at the top.
*OK limestone, polished to a mirror finish.
Didn't use it as much after Guisely opened.
Sobell corridor wall in London - holds like glass and a rock-hard landing. And the bloke with only one eye and a patch. Traversing was right to left, and his left eye was missing so he had to turn his head far to the left to see where he was going. If it was hot he'd take his patch off, and so as you walked back along the corridor to the start you'd see an empty socket advancing towards you
> The Moat college wall is still there! I was there recently doing some work. I was impressed, it has some great features for beginners.
bloomin 'eck it would have been mid 80s when I climbed there. I'm in Leicester now and again, do you know what the access/ opening is like?
We still have a bricks and concrete special at the University of St Andrews sports center. Its actually quite well laid out, with chimneys, corners, and cracks that offer climbing styles not usually seen on an indoor wall. On the downside, it is all entirely vertical - no overhangs or slabs at all, and the friction on bare brick leaves something to be desired. Lots of nice little edges where the pointing is sub-par though.
I recall being told that a new, modern wall is planned, and was about 5-10 years away. That was 6 years ago, and I don't think it's got any closer.
The Altrincham wall, from what I can remember like an oversized squash court, but used to get rammed in Winter
Ellesmere Port some great problems and traverses.
Being an old git who's been climbing for 30 years, I ought to look down my nose at "wall-bred climbers", but I can't because I am one - a product of the Dolphin Centre Darlington. It was state of the art then - a 15 metre-ish DR wall in a lift shaft with real rock inserts in vertical brickwork, plus an evil concrete chimney and a featured overhanging concrete wall. No floor walkers or anything like that - if you were young and stupid there was absolutely nothing to stop you doing a solo traverse round the top of it (did I mention the concrete flooring?) It had very spaced bolts for leading and concrete cracks which did take gear (whether it would have held is something I never tested). Checking their website it appears it's still there but shut while they decide what to do with it - I can see that it doesn't meet present expectations for a wall, but it was great...
Ellesmere Port, of course! Oxford Iffley Road: another from school of spare corridor. Some heinous problems there. Shepshed College - hidden in a boiler room or something? Crikey, we're spoiled these days :)
And so hot! I remember being hugely impressed watching Rob Gawthorpe maybe`? just strolling around on glassy nubbins
> Moat College in Leicester
> Ellesmere Port
tick, tick, tick, tick
tick iirc. The ones I definitely remember from my sporadic working trips to London though are Brixton and Imperial College. And the relief when Mile End opened: Brave New World.
My alma mater. Heinousness of problems not surprising, given that Johnny Dawes and Sean Myles were regulars.
Not mentioned yet and my fondest memories of all walls of that generation: Manchester Uni MacDougall Center. Now that was a climbing wall. Home of legenedary/apocryphal UK 7a's that stopped the likes of Johnnies Dawes & Woodward.
I second Ricks comments. I started climbing at this wall when a certain Dave Douglas used to run a climbing club from there. Its certainly not up to the standards of the modern walls but you can practice Multi-Pitch climbing and hanging belays in there in Arctic Temperatures during the winter. If the Dolphin Centre actually cleaned it up and repaired the heater they might have got enough use of it to justify the running costs.
Hedworthfield... the archetypical brick edge cruise. Built with glazed brick to prevent any cheating smears and triangular cut out holds for poor grips. There and back traverse was an achievement but a full set of up and downers, both ways, without stepping off for the full tick. No mats and football avoidance crucial.
I don't think it is open to the public. They do rent it out. The University club use it.
There was a mat at Headworth. But only one that kept getting moved around so was bugger all use.
Bring Back BendCrete, and Brick edges, modern walls are rubbish, all plywood and plastic. Bah humbug!
True it was a rubbish mat though, ask Gav.
Best wall though was the OAA, although the brick edges up into the science corridor window was quite good :-) I remember getting busted by Westmorland only for you to appear and get me off the hook
OAA another classic of the time more slippery bricks and the Sunderland Staithes until some goon " pointed up " all the bits we had removed to make holds.
At the old Trent Poly wall which was a 10m high brick structure we had a variable angle 2m wide, pull-out, full-height, wooden slab and a narrow, full-height 20 degree overhang (to a short 'roof') and as well as the brick features some concrete block overlaps and ribs. The single brick slots took replaceable wood blocks and we later added bolt on holds. By the end we knew it was going to be retired and despite the health and safety police for the regulars it became more of a highball venue ( over stacked gym mats) and used for drytool practice. With those new to the club it was mainly used for top-ropes but there were spaced bolt leads and the wood overhang was a clip up. The cracks were ideal for perfecting wide hand jams or laybacks at HVS to low extreme standard.
I also miss the old Lady Bay facility. The Nottingham area does have excellent modern facilities ( with a new good looking facility to come in a month or so at Derby ) but nostalgia still kicks in at times.
I Remember when school hall Climbing wall Mats were invariably green, about 1 inch thick, and were deteriorating beige cube affairs Underneath, Stank to high Heaven, and were crap enough to Encourage you not to fall off. Those were the days.
Used to climb regularly at Ellesmere port wall amongst others.
Overriding memory was doing the low traverse and being dripped on by the perspiring "space invader" on the top traverse! (Space invader was the guy who spent all night traversing back and forward on the top traverse). Fond memories of climbing in stripey troll tights listening to Dire straits - how embarassing !
Altringham wall always had a atmosphere of serious training where the ability to get the feet to stick to polished marble footholds was good practice for Stoney Middleton.
Yes, that wall was great fun, you could do multi-pitch routes belaying on the ledges and best of all the door was at the top so you could abseil in like you were at a sea cliff.
Anyone remember the Teesside Poly wall? As old style brick walls go it was pretty good with some amusingly named holds as I recall.
Anyone else remember the Mcdougall wall at Manchester University? Everything was ridiculously crimpy, the Uni climbing club blurb said something like "ideal for people who don't want to use their fingers beyond the age of 30".
Also the bricks were painted with gloss for that authentic Stoney Middleton smearing experience.
The original Don Robinson wall at Leeds Uni. Rothwell. Guiseley. Beckett Park. Richard Dunn. Mostly brick edge monsters with the odd "feature" - cemented in real rock lumps. Plus concrete sculpted cracks, proper jams etc. Men were men and holds not colour coded. Bolts? pah...
The brick edge and chisseled holds on the Bolton Tech traverse! Legendary.
I think Nick Conway went there and back 50 times one night - he steped on at 6:30pm and stepped off at 9:30 or something.
Whatever happend to Nick?
The old Fort wall was the best bouldering wall bar none. The replacement is (if it's still there) diabolical. But unfortunately a gym makes more money than a wall.
Some of the best 6a-6c problems were set by Dave's then wife Jo. And they were problems that you really had to put some thought and technique into.
Morton Comp in Carlisle had a brick in brick out wall at the end of the sports hall. Was a great way to spend a free period in 6th form. Our PE teacher caught us scratching out the pointing but was good enough to keep quiet about it. Happy days.
Henry Price....brilliant....Its still going I believe [the holds must have got a lot larger].
Rothwell....another old classic :]
Richard Dunn was superb and given the chance would still climb on a wall like that now.
Still chalked and still Leeds' premier outdoor all-weather venue as of last week.
The "new" Nottingham climbing centre is a really good wall ,but I still miss the "old"wall ,it was a place full of atmosphere ,it was chalky ,dusty,the changing facilities were shocking ,but as I said I miss it .
Its now a children's play centre and I was asked to take my granddaughter to a party there ,its certainly much cleaner now ,but a wave of nostalgia came over me ,I did work there for 16 years ,that may be a factor .
red lane, Crewe flats, broomgrove hall.
Macclesfield Climbing Wall in the Leisure Centre closed a few years ago. Much missed by some, including me - old skool brick and concrete, cold and used as an extra storeroom
Can't believe that nobody has mentioned the Endcliffe Park wall in Sheffield yet!
Elsewhere on the site
Perhaps the perfect Xmas gift for the climber in your life... Wild Country's Crack School has two of the worlds best crack... Read more
Tonight's Friday Night Video features the Norwegian town of Rjukan, once believed to be the home of the world's tallest... Read more
With four photos in this week's top ten, and a UKC gallery of stunning images we thought it was time we had a chat with... Read more
F ounded in 1993, Mountain Hardwear are a pretty young mountaineering clothing and equipment manufacturer but are also one of... Read more
Rock shoes stink – let’s face it. Boot Bananas are the perfect way to fight the funk and keep them fresh. They help... Read more