/ The Beacon climbing centre :(

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Lord_ash2000 - on 31 May 2007
Is it just me or is there a huge lack of routes beyond 6c in this place? Me and a friend decided to go last night as the weather was a bit iffy and we needed some route training. So we donned our harnesses and had a look for routes. Warmed up on a 6b of which there seems to be many, then went for a 7a next to it, did that then went looking for another route, found a 7a+, did that, then for the next route it seemed like there was only maybe one other 7a route which frankly looked crap and I ended up doing a 6c next to the route I’d just climbed.

Worryingly although I didn't search too hard there didn't seem to be anything above 7a/7a+ in the whole centre, which considering its a decent sized wall with some ok overhangs you would expect at least up to 7c/7c+ routes as seems to be the rule of thumb with most climbing walls. I found this rather disappointing and considering the amount of climbing talent in the north Wales area I’d have expected if anything for it to be a pretty hardcore venue.

As for the bouldering side of things, it does offer a range of quite hard problems although I was again disappointed to find that after not going for a couple of months they still had the same problems as last time, with only a few easy ones having been changed or added, again rather disappointing considering the £6 entry fee and having to travel out into the middle of nowhere to get to the place.

Has anyone else found this with the Beacon? I can understand they want to cater for beginners too but I don't think I’ve ever been to a wall of that size that has such a lack of routes at a harder level.
Ian McNeill - on 31 May 2007
In reply to Lord_ash2000:

are you offer to fix it ?

a word with the people there may help they do not bite....
Lord_ash2000 - on 31 May 2007
In reply to Ian McNeill: I actually wouldn't mind setting a few routes there if I had the time. The difference is I don't work at the place and it shouldn't be my responsibility to sort it out. They have staff, I assume the current routes were not all set by the public so I don't see why they don't improve them, they are only hurting their own business at the end of the day, its not like 7a indoors is some elite grade hardly anyone climbs, a lot of climbers climb this indoors and I’m guessing more people would go if it had a wider grade range to suit more people.
Mark Stevenson - on 31 May 2007
In reply to Lord_ash2000: I really struggle to think of many occasions when I've actually seen people training on routes of 7b and up indoors. The only times that spring to mind were at the Foundry, the Edge and Kendall.

In my last two visits to Bristol I've been one of around 3-4 people climbing 7a+ but I can't recall seing anyone on anything harder. There are FIVE 7a+ routes there for comparison but Undercover rock is 50-100% larger.

Over two Winters of climbing at the Westway it was only about 1 visit in 3 when there was ever any climbers on the 7bs on the main overhang. Even there at one of the largest walls in the country there were very very few routes in the higher 7s.

I'm not sure where you climb, but quite frankly there just doesn't see to be the demand. Most of the good sport climbers I know seem to spend little time indoors and even when they do they boulder and campus much of the time.

I'd be interested in other views as to wether there is no demand from higher grade climbers so walls don't set the routes OR walls don't set the routes so higher grade climbers visit.

Other thoughts?
Monk - on 31 May 2007
In reply to Mark Stevenson:

I have recently started doing routes much more and find that while most walls do have hard routes, there are simply not enough of them to keep me visiting. I live in Reading at the moment though so I have several walls all equally far away so visit lots of them to keep my interest. Places like Craggy Island and Westway tend to have a fair few routes up to 7b then a couple of harder ones. Your comment about the Westway main overhang is fair, but that is one very specific style of climbing and quite frankly one that doesn't suit me particularly well. I can do vertical to overhanging 7c on small holds, but on that overhang I get wasted doing 6c! I know it's my weakness though. I do find that most walls now only keep me interested for a couple of visits until they change their routes. I go to each wall a couple of times a month, unless I get a particular project that keeps me interested. I have to admit that I often find the same with bouldering too, but bouldering routes tend to get changed more frequently than routes so it is less of a problem.

I do see your point though - there just don't seem to be many people on anything above 7a. Like you, I don't know if that is cause or effect. Mosst people at walls are on 6b or less usually. I guess the walls have to cater for the majority as that is how they make their money!
Lord_ash2000 - on 31 May 2007
All I’d say is that there seemed plenty of room on some of the panels and I’m sure they have some spare holds so it wouldn't do any harm to add maybe 5-6 7b's and maybe 2-3 7c's. Even if a lot of people don't climb at that level it gives them something to work on and a reason to keep coming. I doubt at the moment I could do 7c indoors but I’d love to be able to train on some to improve.
Monk - on 31 May 2007
In reply to Lord_ash2000:

I doubt there's a single wall anywhere in the country with that many hard routes!
Lord_ash2000 - on 31 May 2007
In reply to Monk: I’m pretty sure places like Leeds etc do, or at least they used to, I’ve not been to many big walls for a while. Maybe the beacon should lead the way, they would certainly get me as a regular customer if they did.
kamala - on 31 May 2007
In reply to Lord_ash2000:

The Beacons is a bit short of routes at the moment (last time I was there, a couple of weeks ago).
There are usually a lot more routes but they seem to have cleared it out recently, possibly for a competition, and are only just starting to put things back.

I've never counted the 7as, though. All I know is there used to be plenty of stuff much too hard for me
ClimbUK - on 01 Jun 2007 -
In reply to Lord_ash2000:

I think you have a very valid point; the Beacon held a couple of comps a few weeks back and we had to strip some large sections of wall to cater for them. The routes are going back slowly but so far they've mainly been easy'ish 5c/6a's so I appreciate that we need to get our act together and set a few harder routes asap.

I have to say that May/June can be a bit frustrating for us because we are obviously pretty quiet during the good weather, then the rain comes and climbers come back in after a month or two absence expecting there to have been the same turn around of routes there was during the winter.

As for it being a hardcore venue that's fine but we make our money during the summer from numerous school groups, Tasters, etc and they are really what make the centre a viable all year round proposition.

Anyway we've got some route setting planned for the next few weeks so hopefully next time it rains and you are forced inside we should have something to challenge you!

Happy climbing,
Twisty - on 02 Jun 2007
In reply to Lord_ash2000:

They're not really hurting their business, as many people go there when the weathers rubbish, and proper climbing isn't an option, and in North Wales, theres not going to be a shortage of that type of customer.

Instead of moaning about it to everyone here, whilst also bragging somewhat, why not open your mouth in an adult way and ask why they dont change the routes/ have harder climbs. There may well be a logical explanation.
omerta on 02 Jun 2007
In reply to Lord_ash2000:

I was there a few weeks ago and had a great time, but then again, I've got absolutely no use for 7a's at the moment! Did some fist-jamming, lots of bouldering, and left feeling really good. But I guess that as Steve says, it has to cater for the majority....
stephen Rowley - on 02 Jun 2007
In reply to sarah79: If you read the board in the center of the main room there a notice saying that if you feel there missing/havent got enough of certain grade go have a word(not exact words).

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