/ The Warwick Bear Rock climbing wall is being demolished

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batson - on 28 Nov 2017
I just wanted to give everyone a heads up that the Warwick climbing wall as we know it will be knocked down in about a years time. I think the plans for the new wall are going to be placed on the notice board for those that are interested.

In my opinion the plans for the new wall are incredibly disappointing especially in comparison with the current facility -primarily due to the limited space allocated for the new facility and the glass panels for half of the climbing room walls. I don't believe the new wall will even match what we currently have for roped climbing and given the choice i would chose to stick with the the current facility (and competition wall!). Sad times...
Dandan82 - on 28 Nov 2017
In reply to batson:

It's a real shame, the new wall is clearly style over substance and is basically just being used as a prop to make the entrance to the new leisure centre look good.
I've moved away from the area now but when I was still there I was one of many people that raised concerns.
There was supposed to be some kind of consultation that I put my name down for but it never happened as far as I know, so they have ended up with a climbing wall designed by architects.

I guess all climbers around Leam/Warwick/Cov will have to become boulderers and just go to the (frankly excellent) Ballroom instead... ;)
Hat Dude on 28 Nov 2017
In reply to batson:

Totally agree with the previous two posters.

So sad that they've ignored the concerns raised and just appear to be going ahead with their original idea.

While the current wall has its faults, it is functional and I think the new wall will be a nice to look at white elephant!
GLO - on 28 Nov 2017
In reply to Dandan82:

Shame there's no parking at ballroom (...and a lot of traffic to get to the centre of Coventry!).
Lord_ash2000 - on 28 Nov 2017
In reply to batson:
Has anyone got a link to the new proposals/designs?
Post edited at 13:21
Dandan82 - on 28 Nov 2017
earlsdonwhu - on 28 Nov 2017
In reply to Dandan82:

There was a hint of consultation but basically the views of users have been ignored. A massive opportunity lost.
nniff - on 28 Nov 2017
In reply to batson:

Looks like Surrey sports park. That's a shiny facility that doesn't know if it's catering for elite athletes or children's parties and so trends to the latter

http://www.surreysportspark.co.uk/sports/Climbing/
L Sllithgow - on 28 Nov 2017
In reply to batson:

Absolutely agree, the plans for the new wall are terrible! I alsi put my name down for the consultation meeting but never heard anything more about it.

They are going to get rid of all the feature walls and go for generic plastic walls like all the other climbing centres...I travel 30mins to Bear Rock and am there a lot, if these plans become a reality I'm not sure it will be worth the fuel!!

Having climbed with glass walls before I can say that they are definitely more for show and not practical to climb at all!

Really hope they will listen to the people who actually use the wall!
goddamm7 on 28 Nov 2017
In reply to batson:

I have just seen the new designs and feel very annoyed that after climbing at the uni for 9 years I will have to look for another venue? I still can’t believe that a climbing facility will have more glass than climbing walls and with the Olympics you would have thought the concentration would have been on creating a world class venue?
Unfortunately I don’t think a climber has been involved in the decisions and the loss of the feature walls to flat boards is the most disappointing
john arran - on 28 Nov 2017
In reply to goddamm7:

In the late 70s Warwick University built a state of the art end-of-sports-hall climbing wall. The management were so keen to keep it looking good, they banned most climbing shoes and instead bought a supply of white-soled rock shoes for climbers to use.

Sad to think the same absurdly misplaced priorities may be showing themselves there again, especially when the first lead feature wall there was such a step ahead of almost everywhere else at the time, in the 90s.
Lord_ash2000 - on 28 Nov 2017
In reply to Dandan82:

Those renderings were from way back, I don't know what this new plan is everyone has seen, it would be good to have a look at it to see what they settled on.

If it's any consolation I did a fair bit of work on a design for this new centre in 2016 which involved some nice big steep walls and decent bouldering, but by the sounds of it they have opted for something better suited for birthday parties. Seems to be the problem these days, climbing walls are seen by architects as nothing more than fancy cladding.
earlsdonwhu - on 28 Nov 2017
In reply to batson:

In my gallery , I have put some images.

The amount of glass is staggering! Obviously, it vastly reduces the potential climbable space but may look nice. They did actually employ a climber consultant but he obviously had his own agenda.

They say this is final but can't be any harm expressing one's views to the vice_chancellor.
Lord_ash2000 - on 28 Nov 2017
In reply to earlsdonwhu:

Just had a look now, yes that's a crap design, nearly all vertical.

If only you knew what you could have had.
Dandan82 - on 29 Nov 2017
In reply to earlsdonwhu:

The original plans included a full size speed climbing wall built to official spec, is that still in there? It was tucked in the join between the main wall and the glass wall.
At least it would mean the wall is 15m+ tall which is a decent length...

The bouldering looks like absolute junk, it'll never be a patch on panel 3...
DubyaJamesDubya - on 29 Nov 2017
In reply to batson:

Very disappointing
neilh - on 29 Nov 2017
In reply to batson:

Is this not where the new Maths department building is going?

One man's meat is another persons poison.
john arran - on 29 Nov 2017
In reply to Lord_ash2000:

> Seems to be the problem these days, climbing walls are seen by architects as nothing more than fancy cladding.

I wonder which other sports have seen similar disregard for the views of the people who will actually be using them?

The swimming pool would look just as good if it was only a foot deep, and it would be much easier to mainitain.
How about replacing that dull 5-a-side wooden floor with nice pretty, shiny tiles?
Table tennis tables clearly have dangerous corners, so let's make them oval shaped instead.
And we could replace badminton nets with advertising banners to keep costs down.
earlsdonwhu - on 29 Nov 2017
In reply to Dandan82:

Last I heard , the speed climbing wall is still planned.

The only good news is that I may well be persuaded to get outdoors more often!
Spartacus on 30 Nov 2017
In reply to batson:
This type of design is unfortunately happening everywhere in the Southeast. Token walls designed to give some sort of wow factor at the frount of any new leisure facility but unappealing to most seasoned climbers.
Presumably motivated by architects and kerb appeal of non climbing types.

I can’t think of any recent (last 8 years) council type development which has not followed this trend.

Alan Jephcott - on 30 Nov 2017
In reply to batson:

Soooooo, I took the time to look at the plans following on from this post and can only echo the thoughts and sentiments, I've always embraced change in any way that sees progression but I'm struggling to find this progression within the plans.. The existing facility provides an environment which sees people new and old hands at climbing aspiring to the challenge of the steep overhanging lead wall. I fear that too much space has been given over to design in the new plans and in an environment that is often at capacity the priority I would have thought would have been given to the customer need.....more route lines less bouldering

I will obviously reserve judgement and am ever the optimist but as I say fear the worst more regressive than progressive
keith-ratcliffe on 30 Nov 2017
In reply to john arran:
I lived in Coventry in the 90's and the Warwick Uni wall was my local one that I visited regularly. It was a big deal for me to lead a climb on that overhanging section and on my own quickdraws! Don't get that anywhere now. Also loved the jamming crack. I got on well with the staff and took pictures at lots of their events and they were used in publicity for the wall.
Skyfall - on 30 Nov 2017
In reply to batson:

Thanks for the post. I agree completely, as does just about everyone I know who uses the wall regularly.

It will be the very sad end of an era and not in a misty eyed but progressive way. From what we can see, it's just a significant step back and missed opportunity.

We have annual memebership and will probably cancel and start using other walls in the midlands. There is a choice if prepared to travel a little (and we do already travel to use the Warwick wall). It's sad but I suspect people will vote with their feet.
Sandrex on 07 Dec 2017
In reply to batson: Having viewed the plans I wholeheartedly agree with you. Significant step backwards in comparison to the existing facilities featured walls. Most definitely a missed opportunity should this proceed in its current form.
Would appear someone from ‘Everest’ sat in on the review meeting! Dependant on the aspect of the building I wonder if climbers will be subject to the suns rays pleasantly warming the wall (chalk sales to increase).


Murd on 07 Dec 2017
In reply to batson:

I have attended all of focus group meeting and had a few discussions with management before the group was set up. i think the plans for the new wall look ok....given the space that design was given, but the very large elephant in the room is the room itself.
IMHO this was never a space that was suitable for building a wall, and from day one there was never any room for discussion in this area. This was the space, and there was no choice but to make the best of it...I think the new layout will probably do that.
Like others have said, I think this was a huge opportunity missed, starting from scratch it could have been so much more, it seems that design (eye candy) was given president over what climbers wanted/needed. To a point I can see why they would like to create a wow factor to the entrance to the new sports development but personally I think that this was a error.
I should add on all other areas of design that the university were more than willing to listen and took on board what was said, I think for this part the university should be commended, praise where praise is due.
I really hope that the old comp wall will just not end up in a skip and someone will take it away and use it, it's been so much fun to climb on over the years, I'm going to miss it.
Andy Fielding - on 07 Dec 2017
In reply to batson:

No featured walls seems a bad move in my opinion. Next you'll be telling me they haven't included at least one crack system in the new design. ;) If this is a money saving exercise why not just dismantle the current wall and rebuild it in the new facility.
Murd on 07 Dec 2017
In reply to Andy Fielding:

There are featured walls...admittedly it would have been nice to have more, and yes, that was a budget issue, as was relocating the existing wall, which was also discussed.
Andy Fielding - on 07 Dec 2017
In reply to Murd:

...and the crack?
Boxman - on 08 Dec 2017
In reply to batson:

It is suggested that the current proposed design is sanctioned because the new sports complex is already over budget and the climbing area itself is over budget. It is estimated that it would cost around a further £153K for detailed walls, as used in the old climbing area, so there is no chance this can happen. What is not stated however, is the glass costs around this figure! What climbers want glass?
A very experienced, retired construction executive said during one of the meetings:-
You will be forgiven fairly quickly for being over budget and for being late, but poor quality is there for ever!
It is so sad that a top UK University, as rich as Warwick puts style over substance, worries about £153K (but could save more that this by simplifying the design) and cares not to listen to its potential users.
earlsdonwhu - on 08 Dec 2017
In reply to Boxman:

I was under the impression that the present wall has an annual revenue of well over £100,000 so the new one would effectively pay for itself incredibly fast.
krikoman - on 08 Dec 2017
In reply to earlsdonwhu:

> I was under the impression that the present wall has an annual revenue of well over £100,000 so the new one would effectively pay for itself incredibly fast.

Not if everyone stops going there because it's shit.
krikoman - on 08 Dec 2017
In reply to Andy Fielding:

> ...and the crack?

I love the crack.
batson - on 08 Dec 2017
In reply to krikoman:

Well you can say goodbye to the crack as I didn't see one in the plans -perhaps i missed it as i was blinded by the sunlight coming through from the insane amount of glass panels!!

Seriously though-no crack in the new plans-you'll have to go red point Birmingham for some good cracks!
keith-ratcliffe on 08 Dec 2017
In reply to batson:
Can anyone tell me the timescale for the demolition - new build please?
batson - on 08 Dec 2017
In reply to keith-ratcliffe:

I think very early 2019 the new wall opens
keith-ratcliffe on 08 Dec 2017
In reply to batson:
Thanks - my granddaughter has just got into climbing and is going there on Saturday morning. Just wondered how soon she would need to find somewhere to climb until the new one is built. There is nowhere else in Cov other than the ballroom and that is bouldering only.
batson - on 08 Dec 2017
In reply to keith-ratcliffe:

They have started building the new one now and the old one wont close until the new one is opened!
keith-ratcliffe on 08 Dec 2017
In reply to batson:
Thanks.
Boxman - on 08 Dec 2017
In reply to earlsdonwhu:

Very true. The wall is the only part of the complex that actually makes money when running costs Vs income are analysed although the Uni would never admit to this. It has been heard that Warick sports as a whole loses ~ £2m/year (and yet admin staff increase and they take decsions that will increase this loss?)
Add to this that climbing/bouldering is one of few sports actually growing in participant numbers yet a Uni potentially downgrades a facility. Forward thinking?
Andy Fielding - on 08 Dec 2017
In reply to krikoman:

> I love the crack.

You and me both. It's the only reason I go :D
krikoman - on 08 Dec 2017
In reply to Andy Fielding:

I always liked Warwick, I thought it had one of the best variations of routes of many of the walls I've been to.
ERU - on 08 Dec 2017
RIP indoor climbing in Warwick. The new build is a really poor design, if you're a regular climber...

A great 'business opportunity' now presents itself for anyone thinking of opening a new midlands wall.
stu84 - on 09 Dec 2017
In reply to batson:

Just stumbled across this and it makes a sad read. I learned to climb here around 2000 and have great memories of the place.

It’s a shame also that given the ever increasing status of climbing as a sport, and its Olympic inclusion, a top university such as Warwick is passing up the opportunity to make what could have been a significant investment in both its facilities and the sport as a whole.
THETWIG007 - on 10 Dec 2017
In reply to batson:

SAVE the BEAR ROCK wall
Sid Sherborne - on 10 Dec 2017
In reply to batson:

I'm a student at the University and went along to the consultation. Here are the final plans they sent to me and other attendees on the 28th Nov: https://drive.google.com/open?id=1_3tdLmN1CexcyruLmTimnLZN3yML5G81
bouldery bits - on 10 Dec 2017
In reply to Sid Sherborne:

Thanks for sharing
Boxman - on 10:20 Tue
In reply to Sid Sherborne:

Thank you for sharing. Much worse than I had remembered. Style over substance is very much the operative phrase! Such a large area to go at but only ~30% more lines than current and all that glass? Makes no sense.
batson - on 11:08 Tue
In reply to Boxman:
I'm not sure there are more lines as i couldn't see in the plans how many climbing lines there are? Lets not forget two of those lines are exclusively for speed climbing. With the finger like profile of the walls to gain more climbing area its going to be dangerously tight in some of those corners I don't see how they think that wall will accommodate the huge groups they have in for parties/the bear cubs/scouts in addition to the students and private climbers at the levels we have now let alone in a few years time (as climbing becomes more popular with the Olympics/ increasing student numbers and general population). For a start where would the groups even sit safely whilst waiting their turn to climb?

Someone said at one of the consultations that those in charge of the new sports centre should be ashamed of themselves for what they are doing to climbing at Warwick-and having seen these final plans I'd have to agree.


Post edited at 11:12
earlsdonwhu - on 15:17 Tue
In reply to batson:

Remember too that although some of the lines may reach 15 metres, the new roof slopes down so many routes will actually be much shorter than the present ones.
Alan Jephcott - on 09:25 Wed
In reply to batson: ive been thinking about this a lot and concerns are greater now than before on two points really but around the same issue, I’ve spoken to a number of climbers old and new, elite and beginner and the idea of segregated areas cause two problems, climbing is a community sport active encouragement between different skill levels has not only helped with mine and others climbing development but has helped regulate safety with experienced and generally more skilled climbers able to give advice about a whole range of issues.

Along the same thought lines with these areas beginners will quickly exhaust the offer in the beginners area and move to the intermediate section, this will become overly congested and the knock in will be some climbers taking increased risks moving into the advanced area to avoid the crowds whilst not having the skill set to do this safely, I may be wrong but feel it is a significant area of concern the wall staff will need to address

Boxman - on 11:01 Wed
In reply to Alan Jephcott:

Certainly a different approach and extremely valid.
Further thoughts.
Transfer of current walls to new build. Objections are:-
Closure time. Estimate no more than 16 man weeks. i.e. 4 guys 4 weeks to strip current wall and re-install in new build. The frames would be in place in the new build ready. (Certainly no where near the 6 months as quoted!) 4 weeks without a climbing wall would be worth it!?
Concerns about the panels theirselves not able to be put back due to distortion etc is unlikely. The panels are grp. Extremely stiff, resiliant and strong. A quick jet wash and they would be as good as new. (Apart from the rope wear!)
Saving money as well!

batson - on 15:05 Wed
In reply to Boxman:

I did suggest this moving of the current wall to the new building at a consultation but they said the panels wouldn't cope with it and surprisingly they also said it wouldn't save on cost?
Graeme Alderson on 15:13 Wed
In reply to Boxman:

Having been part of the team that installed the curved resin wall I would be very surprised if you could take the wall down and re-build it without using one of these https://www.bes.co.uk/gorilla-14in-wrecking-bar?ref=gs&gclid=EAIaIQobChMI89Gd8qKH2AIVhLDtCh2LTwR... and lots of these http://www.mytoolshed.co.uk/p1001831/Roughneck_Sledge_Hammer_3lb_Fibreglass_Handle/product_info.html...

I seem to remember the pieces of the puzzle didn't fit very well when we built it ;-)
lx on 22:34 Wed
In reply to Boxman:
No way 4 guys could dismantle the existing wall in that time - or dismantle it at all without destroying it. As Has been mentioned the original “comp wall” didn’t fit together that well. The newer stuff was resined together in situ. The panels arrived with out any resin on the borders so they could be bolted on to the frame. They then applied about an inch of resin al over the gaps and sculpted it on site. You’d have to smash all that off, angle grind the bolts and then crow bar the panels off which would probably break the edges of them in the process. You’d just be left with a big broken mess. You could salvage the frame but the panels are made over the frame so you would have to lay all that out over the floor and make the panels over it. The reality is that this is an antiquated way of making climbing walls. There’s a reason all the new walls are plywood. It’s much better. It gives the route setters way more freedom and it’s also impossible to comply with most walls route setting policies on a resin wall as you never have a flat surface to put a hold on and you can’t pin anything. With a flat plywood surface and the right selection of volumes I can build you a crack, or an Arete, or a corner. I can turn a vertical wall into a slab and vice versa, then on the next reset we can change it and give you something new. We can also use every hold available on the market. With a resin wall you are restricted to a tiny percentage of what is available.

On the face of it I don’t think the new design looks that bad, (though it doesn’t look that great and it is being built by EP I think so will have their usual annoying features like rounded panel edges and square t-nut pattern). I imagine they will get all their holds from them as well which is another mistake.

I felt like I worked hard there to bring the wall forward, change the hold selection, organise the route setting program etc and as soon as I left a lot of that work was thrown out the window. In fact despite living a mile away I haven’t been back in there at all in the last 7 years. Seems a shame but I guess some of the problems that I was always up against will never change - first and foremost it is a university and the sports facilities are a loss leader to attract students and staff.
Post edited at 22:36
Boxman - on 10:57 Thu
In reply to lx:

You may be right but having worked with grp for 30 years it is more rugged, versatile, repareable than most people realise. (or want to recognise?) As you already mentioned bonding panels in situ with grp glass matt or pre-preg and resin. Gaps can be closed, corners re-bonded. Nothing has to be smashed, just cut (jig saw/angle grind) and re-bond. Emotive terms smash, crow bar off?
Of course a new featured wall would be preferable but such a waste to just dump the current featured wall. When Rockface closed, Creation managed to take the featured walls and make something of them. 4 guys could strip the current panels off in a week by cutting. Lots of health/saftey issues could be brought into play but nothing that the grp industry does not already understand and cater for. Cut and bond, just a very manual process that is a bit dusty and then smelly when using matt and resin to re-bond/reinforce.
Boxman - on 11:11 Thu
In reply to Graeme Alderson:
See answer to lx (who I think must be Alex.)
In the end though I think his last sentance ( first and foremost it is a university and the sports facilities are a loss leader to attract students and staff) is the case and this is more an adverstisement (i.e. style) rather than a state of the art (substance) facility. Hence all the glass (windows) to show it off.
lx on 11:32 Thu
In reply to Boxman:

Personally, building anything out of resin/spray concrete etc is never preferable to plywood in a modern indoor climbing centre. Not unless you never want to do any route setting.
Hat Dude on 12:18 Thu
In reply to batson:

Thread Juxto here

The Warwick Bear Rock climbing wall is being demolished

Bear Grylls - why the hatred?

Perhaps they could slightly alter the name of the name of the new wall to "Bear Grylls Rock Climbing Wall"
Because it'll be crap and not deliver what it claims to.
Boxman - on 14:40 Thu
In reply to lx:

For route setting you may have a point. However:-
For quality of climbs (do not read difficulty)in my limited experience of routes indoors, Bear Rock is difficult (read almost impossible) to compete with. Harrogate, Stockport, Redpoint so limited in comparison. Creation used to be good but the venue is not the most comfortable.
One would also debate, it is not about the setters, it should be about the users experience/quality of routes?
Graeme Alderson on 15:47 Thu
In reply to Boxman:

GRP/curved resin or whatever you want to call it has the major problem of limiting the holds that you can use. The flat spots can only be so big otherwise what is the point of using such an expensive material, and this severely limits the size of the holds you can use.
lx on 20:30 Thu
In reply to Boxman:

Heavily featured spray concrete/featured resin etc does give an experience that is more like climbing on certain rock types. But it can't be changed. Once its built you are stuck with it forever, never to be updated or modified or even cleaned properly. Its not about the setters, in so far as its not about me doing what I want, but it is about giving me all the tools I need to be able to create what the walls customers want. One of the big frustrations that free lance route setters have is we are often unable to deliver exactly what the customer is asking for with the resources they have. The two main culprits for this are poor hold selection and poor wall design. Bear in mind that most climbing wall customers group together with similar minded climbers and consequently tend to assume that because they and their friends want something, that is what everyone else wants. It may well be that the majority of the Bear Rock users want another heavily featured wall given that this is what they have had for so long, but in my experience this would certainly make them unique amongst climbing wall users. What most people want is change, with fresh new challenges every few weeks. Look at what is happening in the industry. There are new walls opening every month - all of them plywood. Go to the Ballroom in coventry, or the new depot in Birmingham and check out all the amazing large feature feature holds and volumes, and all the tiny screw on footholds that really teach you how to use your feet - you can't use any of those on a resin wall. You also can't pin any holds to stop them spinning. You can't route set in a style that helps all the kids on the squads who are going to comps. You can't set anything harder than the grade of the wall on features only, (which on a few of the lines at Bear Rock is about 6a+). And you get all of these limitations for a significantly higher price.
Graeme Alderson on 21:07 Thu
In reply to lx:

Alex - using the return button to create paragraphs would be good
lx on 21:19 Thu
In reply to Graeme Alderson:

Ha ha yeah sorry - turned into a bit of an essay. Bear rock always a bit of an emotive subject for me I guess. Start of my career in the industry and sort of my “first love” but always spoilt after the court case and new management.
john arran - on 09:22 Fri
In reply to Hat Dude:

Some other good juxto potential at the moment:

Which trad routes have you fallen off in 2017?
We didn't fall off a cliff edge

Today at the test
Stumped by my 4 yr old
earlsdonwhu - on 17:57 Fri
In reply to batson:

Irrespective of the merits of plywood panels and moulded resin, the new facility will not offer the number of lines or lengths of route which were originally promised. That alone is a big disappointment.
In reply to batson:

surely there is an opportunity for some enterprising individuals to open their own climbing wall in the vicinity, now that the main competition is probably going to be a waste of space

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