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Proposed Cardiff bouldering centre - first images

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 Steve Mayers 29 Apr 2020

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Since announcing plans for a new bouldering centre in Cardiff a few weeks back SMVK Climbing have been busy with the exciting work of developing the wall designs. Here is the first render of the walls and we'll have more to show soon!

This is what we're planning to include:

  • Very spacious layout with plenty of room for spectating or just hanging out
  • Loads of modern bouldering with a great range of angles and styles
  • Mix of bare ply and painted finish - all with a gentle texture
  • Separate training room with Kilter Board, Digital training board, campus board, etc
  • Less intimidating beginners/group area separate from the main areas
  • Dedicated kids climbing area with tunnels and a slide
  • Cafe

Strangely enough we have plenty of time to plan at the moment...This means we would really welcome your feedback on the plans so far as well as letting us know if you think there is anything we might have missed. You can ask away on here or contact us at: smvkclimbing@gmail.com

Our designer is Nikolay Balabanov of ABB ltd - you can find out more about him here: https://www.behance.net/nikolaybalabanov/ 

Steve Mayers

Post edited at 09:43
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 myrddinmuse 03 May 2020
In reply to Steve Mayers:

Looks absolutely stunning Steve! Would it be crazy to ask about the potential for some crack training/climbing bits? It's in vogue right now... 😉

A lot of modern walls also have weights built into their training area, such as the Depot, or Flashpoint in Bristol, they seem popular and a useful addition.

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 Webster 03 May 2020
In reply to Steve Mayers:

genuine suggestion of sauna/steam room. you find them in some climbing walls on the continent, and at most gyms, so why not!?

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 Webster 03 May 2020
In reply to Steve Mayers:

also, a psycobloc (i think they are called). an overhanging solo wall about 10-12m long where the bouldering pads run up parallel to the wall, so you are never more than about 2-3m above the pads. The only one i can think of in the UK is up in Kendal, so it would be a great USP! Check out Arkos Geneva for inspiration!

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 dilatory 03 May 2020
In reply to Webster:

Boardroom have one, in Queensferry. 

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 GHawksworth 03 May 2020
In reply to Steve Mayers:

would the cafe area be separate to the bouldering room? Nothing worse than a chalky coffee table.

Also, I know not many would likely be with me but worth a punt... a pegboard. I find it particularly useful for winter climbing training.

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 Steve Mayers 04 May 2020
In reply to myrddinmuse:

Thanks for the positive comments about the design there's lots more to come!

Definitely agree about the crack climbing although my preference is probably to use the Wideboyz modular cracks (https://wideboyz.com/) as these are modular and can be moved anywhere on the wall either individually or to make full height features. I also really like the 'softgrip' technology although maybe that's just me being a bit soft! 

Also agree about the weights being an important addition.

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 Steve Mayers 04 May 2020
In reply to Webster:

I climb at a lot of French walls and you're right many of them have saunas. It would definitely be something to consider if we could prove there was enough interest. Are you aware of any existing UK walls with a sauna?

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 Steve Mayers 04 May 2020
In reply to Webster:

There are two different options here depending on how 'interesting' you want to make things!

Psicobloc is a large overhang which can end up as much as 7-8m above either very soft matting, air bags or water. This is what dilatory points out they have at The Boardroom.

A large overhang where the mats run up parallel is often referred to as a routing roof. Harrowall has one which is a bit like a tunnel and the new Swindon Flashpoint has a larger more open version which looks impressive in the photos although I've not climbed on it yet. We've got plans to include something similar to this.

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 Steve Mayers 04 May 2020
In reply to GHawksworth:

Good question about the cafe and something Nikie and I were discussing over the weekend. I'm not sure what's going to work best yet but definitely get your point, although better chalk extraction can also help.

Pegboards seem to have gone a bit out of fashion recently. However, there are some really good wooden 'dome shaped' holds which make great slopers on a campus board and also have a central hole that takes a peg so why not!

Post edited at 10:42
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 myrddinmuse 04 May 2020
In reply to Steve Mayers:

That all sounds great! I'm a fan of the soft grip volumes, although they can sometimes be harsher than you'd expect on the skin (or else I have soft hands).

I would like to cast my vote STRONGLY in favour of a sauna! Sounds like a lovely idea that would be another thing to make it stand out. Though from the sound of it, there is a good amount of that already. 

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 Webster 04 May 2020
In reply to Steve Mayers:

ice factor at kinlochleven is the only one i can think of

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 GHawksworth 04 May 2020
In reply to Steve Mayers:

Those dome dome holds are what I've used before and thought they were great. It'd be fantastic if they're included in the campus area!

A sauna would be something to set it apart from other gyms in the area! I would go for that too!

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In reply to Steve Mayers:

+1 for a sauna. I don't know of any UK walls that have one but they're fairly common in the US. If you had one you might tempt me all the way down from Gwynedd.

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 dreadlockpasta 06 May 2020
In reply to Steve Mayers:

Looks good. I'm not that bothered about a sauna, but a (good clean) shower would be nice. I'm surprised that so many new walls don't have a shower . Good luck! 

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 George Frisby 06 May 2020
In reply to Steve Mayers:

Boulders which you can top out onto. These are good as you can replicate bouldering outdoors, rather than just always jumping down from the last move. 

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L Nichhh 09 May 2020
In reply to Steve Mayers:

The plans look so good! Very excited to move my membership over!! What's the estimated open date? 

+1000 for sauna, or if not just some modern changing/shower facilities. (hairdryers and mirrors for the ladies? )

What were you thinking for opening times? I know lots of climbing centers in London have started opening earlier so you can go before work. I would love for this to be an option personally! 

And little gym/weights in the training area?? 

Post edited at 08:45
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 Anoetic 12 May 2020
In reply to Steve Mayers:

having climbed in many modern walls worldwide, weights areas, saunas, etc will be used by a very small % of clientele.  The differentiating factor that will bring people back over and over again is the setting and investment in holds...A mix of old school and modern setting, a mix of hold types, good problems, circuits, and a decent woody will trump all other fads....

in the current climate it will be interesting to see when normal gyms and saunas (re germ factories) reopen...

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 myrddinmuse 13 May 2020
In reply to Anoetic:

Good point on the Saunas re germ factories.. But I disagree on the weights thing. I've been to quite a few new centers and they always seem to be quite popular (maybe not during quiet times) and the type of clientele that you want to be able to poach from normal gyms will see them as a major plus. It may be a small % overall but they will generally be your long term users (even the type of person who'd come in on a sunny day 😱, not me)..

Totally agree that holds and setting has to be #1. There have been times here that we've been waiting literally months for any bouldering resets and during a wet winter people start to go rabid. That's a low bar but plenty of ways to make regular setting a thing at a high standard!

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