UKC

/ New bouldering centres

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tomparker74 - on 30 Jan 2018

Seeing loads of new centres opening recently, they seem to be popping up all over the place. Are there any experts or people who've looked into it out there who know the rough costs of opening one? Thinking with the Olympics coming up I think it might be a good thing to look into. Even if it's just a small private training facility. Just keen to get an idea of the costs.

thepodge on 30 Jan 2018
In reply to tomparker74:

Private in your spare room under 500 quid.

Public, lots and then a bit more. Just look at the cost of space before even filling it.

Also, define good idea. I earn over twice what my local wall owner earns but they probably get more climbing perks. 

1
MusicalMountaineer - on 31 Jan 2018
In reply to tomparker74:

Please come and open one in Birmingham. We desperately need another plastic jug hauling centre, asap.

3
Bulls Crack - on 31 Jan 2018
In reply to MusicalMountaineer:

Or maybe something different: a bouldering wall with featured 'rock' that you can work out your own problems rather than every feckin' wall looking exactly the same

 

It would never catch on  

5
haworthjim on 31 Jan 2018
In reply to Bulls Crack:

Just like Inglesport in the late 80 early 90s and charlotte mason, the original leeds wall, foundry ect ect.

Post edited at 15:02
Danbow73 - on 31 Jan 2018
In reply to tomparker74:

Being a wall manager in the industry, there's been a lot of 'the olympics are coming, it's a great time to get into climbing' but it's really not. Unless you are in a really good location with not much provision it's pretty difficult to make it work financially.

In the midlands we've had at least 10 new centres open in the last 2 years but two of these have gone bust and lots of the others arn't exactly rammed.

The hardest market to crack is actually the climber market.

Regular climbers want route setting all the time (which is expensive), will move around all the available walls and dissappear completely in the summer which ultimately means you need to build other things into your buisness plan.

The last thing you have to consider is the life of the wall (maybe about 15 years) if you're renting a building rather than own it you'll either have to factor in the cost of demolishing the wall at the end, rebuilding or hope you can sell it to someone. When you add in the cost of the wall staffing and rates etc you find that it starts to get very difficult to make money unless you are consistently a lot of people coming in a day.

Having said all that there are very successful walls so it is possible to make it work, but If I had money to invest in a project it wouldn't be a climbing wall!

pasbury on 31 Jan 2018
In reply to Bulls Crack:

Why not just get some real boulders made out of real rock inside?

When they're all worked out they could be tilted a bit to give a whole new set of problems.

3
stp - on 31 Jan 2018
In reply to Bulls Crack:

In this country it seems that set routes and problems are the norm. But from pictures I've seen of elsewhere it seems many places just plaster a wall in holds and let climbers work out their own problems.

I can actually see this being the future with development of sophisticated computer technology and LEDs.

tomparker74 - on 31 Jan 2018
In reply to Danbow73:

Very helpful, thank you!

I'm based in Southend (Essex) where we have very high population of all ages and the closest climbing walls are a 45 minute drive away, of which there are two. One in Colchester and one in Tottenham. The next closest are all the London Centres (Hard and expensive to get to). This is why I believe it's a good idea!

 

steveriley - on 02 Feb 2018
In reply to tomparker74:

Sadly, one closed up here in Widnes just this week - I doubt the guys running it ever managed to pay themselves minimum wage. Still, if you've got a building, I know of a wall for sale!

Sorry

harold walmsley - on 02 Feb 2018
In reply to steveriley:

> Sadly, one closed up here in Widnes just this week

The new bridge tolls would not have helped them!

Bulls Crack - on 03 Feb 2018

In reply to 

 

I'd be happy  for 1 or 2 sections/boulders that were featured just to add interest and choice. Flexibility has increased but variety gas declined

paul__in_sheffield - on 03 Feb 2018
In reply to stp:

> In this country it seems that set routes and problems are the norm. But from pictures I've seen of elsewhere it seems many places just plaster a wall in holds and let climbers work out their own problems.

 Certainly come across this a lot in the States and Oz, walls covered in holds, and coloured tags denoting the current set routes. As an old, grumpy Brit, I don’t find that a very satisfying experience, a bit too distracting for me. However, it certainly works for me making stuff up on a circuit board.

Danbow73 - on 03 Feb 2018
In reply to tomparker74:

Sounds like you may be in a good area for it!

One thing I would say is if you're in an area with not many climbing walls, you've probablly not got a huge climbing population. This is fine because it's a great opportunity to create climbers! However what you need to get right is the lower circuits. One of the walls that went bust in the midlands advertised itself as 'grading for outdoors' which is a nice way of saying everything is nails.
 

I'd spend some time going to walls that get that bit right (the depot's Spring to mind) as that'll be the key to running a sustainable wall. The pit fall that some walls get into is they end up catering for their mates (who are dedicated climbers) but there's really not enough of them around to build a buisness.

Hope it all comes together, if you want any advice (for what it's worth) feel free to PM me

becauseitsthere - on 03 Feb 2018
In reply to pasbury:

> Why not just get some real boulders made out of real rock inside?

> When they're all worked out they could be tilted a bit to give a whole new set of problems.

I'd love this but alas a 4x4x4 granite boulder weighs 170tons. Bit of a logistics and transport nightmare.

Didn't the druids do well. 

pasbury on 04 Feb 2018
In reply to becauseitsthere:

Tricky but some people manage it for different purposes!

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Levitated_Mass

stp - on 04 Feb 2018
In reply to paul__in_sheffield:

> walls covered in holds, and coloured tags denoting the current set routes. As an old, grumpy Brit, I don’t find that a very satisfying experience, a bit too distracting for me.

I think the future is going to be LED and computers. The big advantage is that where there was once 3 or 4 problems there will now be hundreds or even thousands.

thepodge on 05 Feb 2018
In reply to stp:

> I think the future is going to be LED and computers. The big advantage is that where there was once 3 or 4 problems there will now be hundreds or even thousands.

I like this idea and I think there is some truth in it. I can see a Japanese karaoke influence where you'd rent a board / booth and have access to any number of problems or interactive "games". It would remove some wider social element but I think I'd quite like that on occasion.

However the holds will still need to be removed, cleaned and replaced every 8 weeks at a popular wall and unless everyone everywhere had exactly the same wall (moonboard style) you'd still need centre specific route setters to program the LEDs... in which case why not stick with the current model of route setting?

1poundSOCKS - on 05 Feb 2018
In reply to stp:

> I think the future is going to be LED and computers. The big advantage is that where there was once 3 or 4 problems there will now be hundreds or even thousands.

 

This would be great on fixed hold boards like the Moonboard. The 30 and 50 boards at the Pudsey Depot would benefit, there's already a Facebook group with shared problems, an LED/Bluetooth version would be a lot better. And UKC could write a generic app, for free obviously , and we could add boards from around the world.

thepodge on 05 Feb 2018
In reply to 1poundSOCKS:

> This would be great on fixed hold boards like the Moonboard. The 30 and 50 boards at the Pudsey Depot would benefit, there's already a Facebook group with shared problems, an LED/Bluetooth version would be a lot better. And UKC could write a generic app, for free obviously , and we could add boards from around the world.

I know people working on similar project and Digital training boards already produce a system but their user interface is shocking. 

 

1poundSOCKS - on 05 Feb 2018
In reply to thepodge:

> Digital training boards already produce a system but their user interface is shocking

 

The Moonboard app aint great either. I can never work out how to do anything, intuitive it is not.

Dave Garnett - on 05 Feb 2018
In reply to paul__in_sheffield:

>  Certainly come across this a lot in the States and Oz, walls covered in holds, and coloured tags denoting the current set routes. As an old, grumpy Brit, I don’t find that a very satisfying experience, a bit too distracting for me. 

Me too.  I can see that if you are a regular, having walls peppered with random micro-crimps and slopers with bits of post-it note attached is probably OK, but it dates from a time when routes were rarely reset.  

I travel a fair bit and go to a lot of walls I don't know (US, Germany, Norway as well as UK).  My heart sinks when I turn up somewhere where it takes me 10 minutes to work out where each problem goes.  I'm used to getting my arse kicked at any particular grade by the style of an unfamiliar wall but having logical,  consistently colour-coded problems is the equivalent of a good line outside.  All bouldering is artificial and illogical at one level, but it's much more satisfying if you aren't constantly falling off because you can't read the handwriting on a tiny tab of paper jammed behind a crucial hold.    

1
Jon Greengrass on 05 Feb 2018
In reply to stp:

Have you seen the aurora climbing system where the whole hold lights up, it looks much more  intuitive to climb on than the Moonboard 

https://www.instagram.com/p/BejGZ7VgBWj/?taken-by=auroraclimbing

stp - on 07 Feb 2018
In reply to Jon Greengrass:

Hadn't seen that one. But I have seen one where the light appears to be inside the hold so the whole hold glows. Can't find the link now but it was on a regular bouldering wall, rather than just a board.

Seems like since the LED system on the Moonboard the technology is evolving at a rapid pace. The Climbing Works recently installed LED's on two Beastmaker systems boards there too.

Bulls Crack - on 16 Feb 2018

In reply 

Depends on who designed the problem surely? 

zoobizooretta - on 08 Mar 2018

In reply to stp:

They're been around since 1996 when glohold tried in the late 90's they never caught on

Jim25 - on 08 Mar 2018
In reply to tomparker74:

There's also a wall in Harlow. 

Fishmate - on 08 Mar 2018
In reply to stp:

> But I have seen one where the light appears to be inside the hold.

I've seen this recently. I recall it will be used in a new wall, where? I don't know. I think it was outside UK. The holds look very good, but again, I can't see much use for them beyond 45/50° boards. I use a 45° board happily without lighting but it could be useful to aid focus on limit moves perhaps?

 

Most routes/problems I climb on all use the same colour holds, so a lit hold doesn't seem to offer any advantage for most folk. I could be missing a point?

 

 

 

Jon Greengrass on 09 Mar 2018
In reply to Fishmate:

Imagine a wall where every single hole was fitted with a hold that appear to be the same dull white colour  but start up an app on your smart phone and a route would appear above you lit in a different colout to the one on the next line  allowing more routes to be set per square metre and with more grade range.

 

 

MGRT - on 09 Mar 2018
Jon Greengrass on 09 Mar 2018
In reply to MGRT:

That look pretty but doesn't add any function.

beeaanno - on 09 Mar 2018
In reply to Jon Greengrass:

when there's a busy section of wall and everyone is climbing different problems it wouldn't work

nniff - on 09 Mar 2018
In reply to tomparker74:

 

> I'm based in Southend (Essex)

The trouble with that is that half of your catchment area is under water, an eighth of the rest is marsh or mostly closed to the public, then you've got oil refineries and power stations, docks, some villages and Basildon.  Compare that with the walls in and around London, say, and you have to be realistic about where the paying public will come from.  A 'member' is going to pay you about £50 a month, or £600/year.  So 100 of them gets you £60,000 which won't go far, especially when 20% of that goes on VAT and you've got to cover staff, rent, heat and light, build costs, setting, insurance, IT, rates, cleaning.  You need to be realistic about where the revenue is going to come from - how many members you will have, how many regular , pay-on-the-day occasionals and how many kids clubs, schools, birthday parties etc you will have.

Jon Greengrass on 09 Mar 2018
In reply to beeaanno:

The Moon board appears to be quite successful?

The system I proposed was for routes, where the cost of route setting is higher, rather than bouldering walls

Fishmate - on 09 Mar 2018
In reply to Jon Greengrass:

I've just seen MGRT's video link response to your comment. You both make a fair argument ;)

It would definitely suit a Goth or clubber who was into climbing..

Post edited at 22:09

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