/ Xscape Castleford

This topic has been archived, and won't accept reply postings.
rbracken - on 11 Sep 2006
Rumour has it that the lease on the ICE wall will not be renewed. So if you want to get some practice in you've only got a couple of weeks.
UKC Forums - on 11 Sep 2006
This thread was started in the wrong forum and has now been moved.
Please could you try and post in the correct forum, it makes life easier for both users and moderators.

Forum descriptions - http://www.ukclimbing.com/forums/info/forums.html
mart rich - on 11 Sep 2006
In reply to rbracken:
Really?? Where did you hear that?

Anyone else know anything about this?
TimS on 11 Sep 2006 - host217-37-99-241.in-addr.btopenworld.com
In reply to mart rich: yep, open for three more weekends then that's it. Said to be due to the fact they couldn't get anyone to lease the units behind the wall, as everyone thouhgt that was the end of the shops.
rbracken - on 11 Sep 2006
Asked if the booking was still done through Ellis B's to be informed that it was but only for the next couple of weeks, then the wall would be dismantled, for the reason given above...........

Thought it was too good to last.
Andy S - on 13 Sep 2006
In reply to TimS: 'Tis true. I used to work there and have friends who still work there. They are indeed closing the ice-wall down. Some stupid reason about it makes the units difficult to lease. If that's the only reason (but I suspect it can't be - surely!) then it's absolutely ridiculous. I would have thought it's not making money. There's easy enough ways to solve the unit problem etc.
Howard J - on 13 Sep 2006
In reply to Andy S:

I agree, it sounds like they're being a bit unimaginative if they can't let the retail units.

I'm not surprised if its not making money, it hasn't really marketed itself to the climbing community and its pricing structure (particularly when it first opened) was expensive and confusing. The need to do a supervised session to get assessed (which took about 5 minutes out of the hours session) was off-putting to most climbers used to signing a disclaimer at a wall and getting on with it. Add the cost of getting to the place and it all became a bit unattractive. I now see they've reduced the prices, a bit late though

The only time I went they charged me £30 for an hour's sesssion and then gave me a £29.99 t-shirt as a "special opening offer". I thought that was good value, but not exactly commercially viable!

I'm sorry to see it go, it was a good facility. Let's hope the ice wall that's supposed to be coming to Manchester actually gets built.
A Crook on 13 Sep 2006
In reply to rbracken:

yep it is closing.

The excuse has been already given, but some people( no names) suggest that it is because the owner of the 'mall' was too fat to get off the floor when he tried!
crowberry gully - on 13 Sep 2006
In reply to rbracken: It defrosts on Sept 30th I am told.
I will regret it's loss, in my view the Ice Factor at Kinlochleven is better built and better run but Xscape wins on location.

The marketing has been really poor. The windows look onto the part where few people climb so most Xscape visitors are unaware what it is about, when climbers are there you cannot easily watch them (unlike Kinlochleven),there are no explanatory signs, they shut at 5.45pm so no climbing in the evening, and the pricing has only recently become sensible but they haven't promoted this.

The rock climbing at Xscape is for kids and the whole place is becoming just another shopping centre.

I am told that Xscape will continue to provide snow for the Manchester ice wall.
mart rich - on 18 Sep 2006
In reply to crowberry gully:
I spoke to them this morning - they mentioned staying open until Mid October.......

Perhaps there ahs been a last minute rush
Wonrek - on 30 Oct 2006
In reply to rbracken: Apparently not, I've just made a booking for the ice wall on Weds. So it seems they are still up and running.

I don't know if it's any good so opinions would be appreciated. I'm going with my partner as a treat because I'm buggering off to Glen Coe this weekend :-D

kevin stephens - on 30 Oct 2006
In reply to rbracken:

What's the skiing like there? Is it greatly superior to a plastic slope like Rossendale?
gobbyduck on 30 Oct 2006
In reply to kevin stephens:

Best fake skiing!

much better than tamworth, I always found it too icy there.

I think they do a deal sunday nights £30 for three hours.
Wonrek - on 30 Oct 2006
In reply to Clears: Ok, so the 'fake' skiing might be good but has anyone used their ice wall?

SteveM - on 30 Oct 2006
In reply to Clears:

It's ok. Either too slabby or too pumpy to be anything more than an introduction or refresher, in my opinion.
Viva la Trance on 30 Oct 2006 - 82-69-53-65.dsl.in-addr.zen.co.uk
In reply to SteveM:

Did some training there Dec 05 and Jan 06 before we went to Rjukan in Feb 06.

We found it ideal for Water Ice style e.g. Rjukan, but would not have been ideal for Winter climbing in the UK.
SteveM - on 30 Oct 2006
In reply to Viva la Trance:

It is more like water ice in it's aspect (verticall-ness, if that's a word) but it's made of snow ice. Not a conbination you really find in the real world.

Unless an army of santa's little helpers have been pelting the side of the ben with a lot of snowballs
featuresforfeet - on 30 Oct 2006
In reply to Clears:

Thought it was a pretty close approximation to the water ice I've climbed in Norway and Colorado. Never ice climbed in Scotland so can't comment.

Shame it's closing (if indeed it is).

no_more_scotch_eggs - on 30 Oct 2006
In reply to SteveM:

was a few months ago i looked at it in passing; the ice seemed to be in indifferent shape. the climber was just placing his axes into big pockets and pulling up on them. maybe i just looked in on a bad day, but it put me off trying it.
Andy Hobson - on 30 Oct 2006
In reply to no_more_scotch_eggs:

> maybe i just looked in on a bad day,

Probably, the ice gets maintained pretty regularly.
Rampikino - on 31 Oct 2006
In reply to rbracken:

Not any more it doesn't. We visited for the first time very recently, and it will be the last time because they are closing down.

Maybe it's because the instructors are losing their jobs or something, but they were surly, uncommunicative, unenthusiastic and made it clear that they didn't really care. The ice seemed to be hacked to pieces and I spent much of the time pulling up on picks placed in holes that had been bashed out.

Looking forward to trying Manchester. (and Rjukan).
margie - on 03 Nov 2006
In reply to SteveM:

I'm not quite sure what world you live in but in my real world winter climbing generally involves a lot of snow because it snows in winter (well, sometimes)

Also, generally in winter you will find evidence of people who've climbed before you, and if they've hacked out pockets you'd be a bit foolish not to take advantage of them!

Oh, and if there wasn't these pockets at the Ice Wall then most of you would struggle (even more than you do) to get up the routes!

philbert - on 03 Nov 2006
In reply to margie: I called them this week and they were fully booked up this weekend Apparently the ice wall is closing for good this Sunday. But it's had a 'final' day at least two times so far and it's remained open!! So who knows...
Andy S - on 03 Nov 2006
In reply to philbert: interesting reading these comments! I used to work there and left nearly two years ago.

I was at XScape right from the start, before it even opened officially. The company I worked for ran the climbing wall and the Skyride. After it went 'bankrupt' (it was attached to Ratho so went down with it), the operation got taken over by Ellis Brigham. The manager left almost immediately because he didn't like the package he was being offered by Ellis Brigham (I don't blame him - they wanted him to run the whole operation including the ice-wall - an extra responsibility - but refused to give him full accountability or powers to actually make decisions, even though anyone higher than him would very rarely be around). A few other people left because we were left with a muppet in charge of us who ran the Ellis Brigham shop and knew nothing about anything other than running a shop.

The first day after our manager left, an executive representative turned-up from Ellis Brigham to have a little meeting. The first question I asked him was, "so who is in charge now?". Believe it or not, the reply was that they thought we could just get on and run the place for the time being.

They unofficially put two of the full-timers in joint charge of the rest of the staff, without giving them new contracts or increased pay and without telling the rest of the staff either, which obviously made it difficult for them and us.

Basically the atmosphere became very sour indeed over a period of time and I got out eventually. That was after getting royally screwed-over by Ellis Brigham over some holiday pay. They decided they were entitled to deduct money from my salary to get it back. It was illegal as they didn't seek my permission. Their reasons were also poor. I could have launched a tribunal over it but I couldn't be bothered at the time (wish I had now though!).

Ellis Brigham made the two full-timers joint managers, which was a terrible move 1. because one of them is clearly a terrible manager and 2. because they find it almost impossible to work together 3. joint managing is difficult at the best of times.

A friend of mine has finally left and it's a great relief to him, not only because of the poor atmosphere between the staff and terrible management and lack of vision and proactivity from Ellis Brigham, but because the building is an awful enviroment to work in: incredibly noisy, very busy during certain times and sheer and utter monotony and lack of variety.

Some of the problems for the ice-wall have been caused by poor initial planning. Another thing against it that Ellis Brigham's management style is to manage from afar. The managers in the shops are effectively puppets and they tried to manage the rest of the operation in the same way. They have never managed facilities like these before and were new ground. However, facilities like that need someone on the ground with power and accountability to make things happen and solve problems. One of the Brighams turning up once every two months is not enough.

However, so long as the place is making a profit, they will probably just leave it and keep it running in the same way.

The place and the facilities could have been much better under different management. It is a real waste of a facility.
jimkeeley - on 05 Nov 2006
In reply to Andy S:

Just spoken to one of the bods @ the icewall - it defanatley is closing this weekend.

Andy S - on 06 Nov 2006
In reply to jimkeeley: Who did you speak to? Do you know their name, or what did they look like?

margie - on 06 Nov 2006
In reply to Andy S:

Why you so interested? Planning on waiting for them in a dark alley after hours and doing them in for passing on information??

Andy S - on 07 Nov 2006
In reply to margie: Yeah that's right!


I'm just curious to know if it was anyone I know, that's all.
threepeaks on 07 Nov 2006
In reply to jimkeeley: having just called this afternoon to confirm if they were taking bookings after Nov 5th (which was the last date they were taking bookings until)I can confirm that the wall is now closed.
Tenchu - on 18 Nov 2006
I've worked on the ice wall for the last year now and yeah it was mismanaged and not used to its full potential but we loved it and are very sad to see it go.
We did leave some of the routes hacked up since all but one of the routes were vertical and otherwise beginners would have struggled. You probably did see someone hooking and pulling but some people wont listen to advice and continue to climb like ass, doesn't mean you have to.
Apologies to the fella who found us sullen and uncommunacative but yes, it was probably because we had all just been told that we no longer had a job on the ice wall and were offered jobs peddling the wares in the climbing shop. Needless to say I'm quitting and heading to la grave for the winter.
It is well and truely closed now. Stripped down and ready to be removed. Basically, PYB, the big guy in charge of Xscape didn't like it and wanted it out of there so wouldn't renew our lease. We fought to keep it open for 2 months and lost in the end. Manchester and london ice walls are still open but each is less than half the size of ours and is maintained and managed in the same way.
lippy lion - on 20 Nov 2006

In reply to Tenchu:

Dude, are you the guy with the Salomon fruit boots?


Tenchu - on 21 Nov 2006
In reply to lippy lion:
lol, probably, white pants and black north face softshell? thats me
Andy S - on 21 Nov 2006
In reply to Tenchu: pontefract eh? I wonder if I know you!
Tenchu - on 22 Nov 2006
In reply to Andy S:
Maybe, I work at the countin house too.
Andy S - on 22 Nov 2006
In reply to Tenchu: hmm haven't been there for a year or so though. I'm a native Pontecarlonian, but haven't lived there for a while. The Countin House used to be my usual haunt a few years ago!

This topic has been archived, and won't accept reply postings.