/ Traverse walls
Just been having a discussion about traverse walls in climbing walls. Lots of opinion and little agreement (strange that). What do people think. Still a useful use of climbing surface; or a thing of the past?
I think the main problem is that it's a pretty inefficient use of space. You can't stack routes horizontally like you can vertically.
Always loved the one in the hallway at The Foundry, especially the features based one. Great way to get a bit of a pump on for those of us with personality problems (and thus being Billy no mates).
Do you mean old style corridor shuffling, or modern steep circuit boards too?
Corridor shuffling is obsolete, whatever fond memories oldies like me may have of our dim & distant youth, but circuit boards are an absolutely essential use of climbing surface for my purposes. You can't really effectively use a bouldering wall as a training facility for route climbing without them.
So then it comes down to a commercial decision about use of space: do the management regard people training for routes as a significant part of their market or not? It seems they still do; I can't think off the top of my head of a dedicated bouldering facility I've been to that doesn't have a circuit board *
As for setting for training purposes I much prefer e.g. Manchester Depot style circuits, consistently pumpy with no stopper moves, to my local Boulderwelt style: tricky, low percentage cruxes with "I would never, ever contemplate doing that in real life" sequences, often on the the downclimbing bit.
(*) Update: yes I can. One in Hamburg & one in Düsseldorf. Both places where outdoor route climbers probably aren't a major component of the local bouldering population.
You can for traverses: just set multiple routes, like a rope climbing line lain on its side. If you have a one-way rule then several people can be on it at the same time.
Circuits can give more realistic movement with a upward component, but then yes, you have the disadvantage that only one person can be on the board at a time.
Also traversing is good for people who don't like getting down from the top of the bouldering wall (fear off heights, bad knees).
I agree with others that they use up a lot space that could normally be used for other climbing. Foundry one utilises the dead space created by a fire escape, it is also great area for instructors to get kids groups warmed up away from the main climbing area.
This was one of the points argued. Several people can be shuffling sidewards on a traverse wall at the same time. A circuit board is dominated by one or two users; so inefficient use of space in comparison. I sort of agree but think the traverse wall needs to have two sides so you can go round and round for stamina.
> I can't think off the top of my head of a dedicated bouldering facility I've been to that doesn't have a circuit board *
Leeds has two now - The Lab and City Bloc. Quite annoying!
In reply to caver:
> I sort of agree but think the traverse wall needs to have two sides so you can go round and round for stamina.
The arch Building one has this - well you have to swing across on a rope or just step the meter or so across. I think it's a nice addition but awful for training - way too many people try to get on it which causes traversing jams!
I really like the traverse wall at Craggy Island, it's great both for warming up and working footwork/body tension, I'll normally work the harder problems and try to complete them before the inevitable reset. It's in a position where the atmosphere would be significantly cramped if you replaced it with vertical routes, even though the wall space is there.
I think very useful and not enough of them. The main reason is that they're the best way to train endurance if you don't have a lead wall or don't have a partner.
I don't really agree with the 'taking up space' argument. Because they're low they can be fitted into different spaces from lead or even bouldering walls. They don't even have to be particularly long or high to be useful. If you create circuit problems you can link multiple circuits if you want to do something really long.
> Corridor shuffling is obsolete, whatever fond memories oldies like me may have of our dim & distant youth....
Fond oldy memory alert:
I fondly remember the traverse wall at the Sobel centre in N London - used to be considered a good wall.
> Fond oldy memory alert:
> I fondly remember the traverse wall at the Sobel centre in N London - used to be considered a good wall.
The Sobel traverse wall was amazing. I’ve never seen anything like it anywhere else.
Ah...the Sobel corridor. Certainly a step forward when Don constructed it. When I moved to London in 1986 a friend took me there with tales of outrageous moves and inventive problems. Couldn't decide which was more polished. The local skills or the holds. Still; it inspired me to walk out and go and build Mile End. So it spawned a whole climbing wall industry in the country.
Yes it was well polished ! And thank you for building Mile End which is great !
That was the problem with walls with non-changeable holds. I used go to Broughton back in the 90s. Managed to fit in a quick nostalgia visit just before it closed a few years ago & was shocked at how glassy everything had become.
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