/ New Warwick University Climbing Wall
Paid my first visit to the newly opened Warwick Sport Climbing Centre last night.
There was a fairly lengthy thread with generally negative views (including mine) when it was first announced
What do other people who've used it so far think of the new wall?
Here are some of my initial thoughts
It's a pound dearer at £9.00 per session which isn't too much of a hike and on a level with other walls, however on top of this there are now parking charges of 3 or 4 quid whereas evening parking was free. At first glance the climbing membership at £34.00 per month looks reasonable. There's now a £6.00 fee to register, this is waived if you were registered at Bear Rock. You still have to re-register and take a walk through; this process was probably a bit swamped last night but shouldn't take too long on less busy evenings
Down at the bimbly end of the scale where I operate, the grades seemed stiffer but then they were probably too soft at the old place.
IMO the climbing lacked some of the sublety of the old wall, no opportunity to use small features to develop better footwork; just big pulls with high step ups. Hopefully this will improve as the route setting is tweeked.
I'm not a fan of auto-belays and interspersing them with top rope routes doesn't work as they seem to have a rule that you can't climp on the top ropes next to the autobelay when it's being used; this severly reduces the number of routes available
Loads more bouldering which I'm not particularly interested in.
Two panels with identical speed climbing routes on - waste of space IMO as I somehow can't see myself competing in the Olympics.
Two friends were turned away last night as the place was full, hopefully things will settle down and it won't be so busy when the newness wears off or this will be a problem for people travelling any distance.
I was there last night too, only did bouldering.
For such a large and tall space it was surprisingly warm and sticky. With all the glass I hope they have some decent aircon for the summer or it will be worse than the old bouldering room.
The bouldering grades were a very mixed bags, I flashed a couple of V4s but failed several V3s. A lot of the bouldering problems are quite short - only a couple of moves really - due to being under a low ceiling. There was a reasonable variety though, and obviously a lot more than before (but much less than e.g. the Ballroom).
I will have to try the lead walls, but overall my experience was not much different to before, apart from paying to park which is going to be a massive disincentive as it makes a session 50% more expensive than any other wall in the area.
Thanks for the review, I've always thought the new wall was a bit of a vanity project than a climbers, climbing wall.
We were due to visit tonight, but we're going elsewhere, because of the parking costs. I dare saw we'll go the eventually, but the whole "window wall" when that could have been more climbing, sort of sums it up for me, style over substance.
It's a great pity because the old wall was one of my favourites, with some great route setters, though maybe a bit soft grade-wise.
They've always been a bit over protective with the auto-belays, something that I've not encountered elsewhere, thankfully. They way they had the last set up and their rules meant an auto-belay used up three panels.
I'd forgotten to mention that it was a bit too warm.
Also forgot about the crack feature in the "bendcrete" type section, which you are not allowed to climb as it is supposed to be for showing how to place trad gear and not designed for actually climbing. Seems a bit strange as it is full height and if it is just for demonstration to people under instruction; I can't see it being actually functional for placing gear and holding a fall nor I suspect would the insurance permit it. If you just wanted to show how various types of gear are placed, a small panel at ground level would be better.
> I'd forgotten to mention that it was a bit too warm.
> Also forgot about the crack feature in the "bendcrete" type section, which you are not allowed to climb as it is supposed to be for showing how to place trad gear and not designed for actually climbing. Seems a bit strange as it is full height and if it is just for demonstration to people under instruction; I can't see it being actually functional for placing gear and holding a fall nor I suspect would the insurance permit it. If you just wanted to show how various types of gear are placed, a small panel at ground level would be better.
You couldn't make it up.
The massive windows are going to be fun in the summer, although the accumulation of chalk dust might help with that
I was told that the acres of glass were to make the wall highly visible and inspirational for prospective students and visitors.......but it is in fact smoked glass so quite hard to see through! The speed walls are a vanity project so far as I am concerned.
There is space that could yet be used, or could have been used, in the far corner to the left of the campus board/ by a fire exit.
Quite nice to have some seating but then it is so fragile, one is not meant to use it with a harness on. Silly!
Parking cost is an issue.
It seemed a bit like climbing in a shopping mall or zoo....... Passers by pausing to gawp!
We were charged £6 registration despite previously being registered at Bear Rock so not sure if there are inconsistencies in the administration side.
I wonder how long it will be before the stone cladding on the exterior will see chalk marks and bouldering mats strewn around!!
> We were charged £6 registration despite previously being registered at Bear Rock so not sure if there are inconsistencies in the administration side.
It states on their website that you don't pay if previously registered, you should try to get your money back
I will ask. When I queried it I was told it was basically for a new card....needed to actually access the room/ wall. It did smack of the non negotiable booking fee when buying gig/ Sport tickets.
I totally agree, parking is a rip off and wall was very humid and to be honest I like to lead climb but ran out of lines to climb very quickly. To summarise it cost more fore entry, about 5 pounds to park for a wall that is mediocre. Unless the parking becomes free again then I will be climbing elsewhere in the future.
All the complaints about its size and capacity and soooooo much wasted space and glass have come to fruition. I had my 1st visit Tuesday and agree it is an amazing LOOKING space its just a real shame the people in charge had no interest in the climbers opinions? A bit like Ferrari building a super car which looks fabulous and then put a 1.0 litre fiesta engine in it?
STOP being cheap and concentrating on profit people climb in deserted warehouses and run down drafty cold old facilities to climb on great routes not sit on a comfy chair to look at the view? If you pay professionals to set routes as the movie says the people will come?
Im staying away now until they strip all the EP routes set by wall builders which were dreadful, no thought or foot holds on boards with no features and to make things even worse i see people having to Que upstairs until others leave as they were at capacity?
10 years climbing at the old wall and a close friend said she feels like an old friend has died?
The potential is huge but i doubt any thought will go into changing it???
And students who pay an annual pass for the leisure facilities are now being told that for the climbing wall they only have access off peak otherwise they have to pay full climbing wall prices.
As my daughter - doing maths - says when on earth do I get time to go off peak with lectures etc for STEM subjects.
Badly thought out
Stunning that there is a £6 parking charge. Unreal.
So, to sum it up, the new wall is;
Hot, expensive, has acres of unusable space, bureaucratic and inordinately expensive to park. (After all how many non-students actually live within cycling distance).
Am I to assume that the "staff" are also a bunch of (effectively) incompetent barely qualified newbie students as per normal ?
All really as so many people expected.
I for one shall never go there again.
> Am I to assume that the "staff" are also a bunch of (effectively) incompetent barely qualified newbie students as per normal ?
Sorry, I have to take exception to this, the rest of the comments on this thread all seem valid but I only ever found the wall staff to be friendly and knowledgeable, (yes the old manager was a bit of a misery but the staff were great) and the (all in house) setting at Bear rock was excellent.
Past 'incompetent, berely qualified newbie' employees include Frances Bensley (Just bouldered 8B - again), Will Smith (climbed 9a) and Alex Fry (owns LX grips) among others...
That is perhaps a little unfair. It's only expensive because you have to pay to park, the bureaucracy is no worse than registering at any wall, the utilisation of space is not much worse than many other places (if you forgive the inclusion of the speed wall).
I have never had any problem with the vast majority of the reception or floor staff, who I would say are coping admirably with the increased workload associated with opening a new centre (they certainly had lots on on Tuesday).
All that does not detract from the fact that it is all a massive missed opportunity, and we can all vote with our feet, but it is still a reasonable facility in an area which does not have an overabundance of opportunities for roped climbing.
> All that does not detract from the fact that it is all a massive missed opportunity, and we can all vote with our feet, but it is still a reasonable facility in an area which does not have an overabundance of opportunities for roped climbing.
Though if you head up the road to Birmingham you've got Redpoint and Creation, so there is competition...
(Warwick Uni of course isn't, er, in Warwick, but in Coventry! I wonder how many of these "misnamed" universities there are? Edge Hill, which moved from Edge Hill in Liverpool to Ormskirk absolutely years ago is the only other one I can think of)
I could not criticise the staff, either on the reception desk or in the climbing hall; on Tuesday they were coping pretty well with a much higher than normal workload.
I'm pretty new to the area (from Sheffield originally) so the discrepancy in climbing options around here has got me feeling pretty down, I live over leamington way currently, I did hear there's a bouldering wall trying to get planning permission nearby but I think it's planned to be on the small side.
IDK Why there isn't a good dedicated climbing centre around here as it sounds like they are very busy - must be a potential goldmine being missed out on, heck I'd happily pay double the fee for access to a real world class climbing centre. I mean Sheffield has like 8 walls and they are all crammed full! It's a real shame Warwick are wasting all that space with the speed walls.
That being said I am hoping this wall is better than I've heard some people say as it seems to be my only current option! Do the new parking fees apply in an evening too? and how do people find climbing partners around here?....
> Past 'incompetent, berely qualified newbie' employees include Frances Bensley (Just bouldered 8B - again), Will Smith (climbed 9a) and Alex Fry (owns LX grips) among others...
The ability to climb (or boulder) has no relevance to the competence and how people act as staff.
Maybe the old misery was the real problem, but either way I'm not going there again.
I believe parking fees apply all day......and even to university staff members who have already paid for annual parking permits! Anyway, I shall go by bike when possible.
The reason for the speed walls was because they made the mistake of getting in a consultant! The advice was all about making it a venue fit for international competition and how speed was one of the Olympic disciplines. It will be interesting to see how much use they actually get.
Thanks for the info, have you been to the wall in Northampton at all? also do you know of any groups around here that facilitate finding climbing partners?
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