UKC

Awesome Walls Sheffield to be the first National Performance Centre for climbing!

© Alan James

The highly-anticipated new Awesome Walls Sheffield will open at the end of September, in time to host the British Lead Climbing Championships on the 5th and 6th of October. After inspection the BMC have announced that the wall is eligible for the new status of National Performance Centre (NPC). 

Awesome Walls Sheffield - The main wall is taking shape  © Alan James
Awesome Walls Sheffield - The main wall is taking shape
© Alan James

Dave Turnbull, Chief executive of the BMC said:

The 12.5-metre overhanging wall at Awesome Walls Sheffield will be a tremendous new facility for national competitions and top-end training; the competition wall is the primary reason for the BMC granting the National Performance Centre title. We look forward to the first major test for the new wall – the British Lead Climbing Championships on 5/6 October.

There is no other wall in England that matches the main wall for height and steepness, being 15 metres in height, overhanging by 12.5 metres and 23 metres in length. It’s planned that this area will always be set with hard routes – on the steepest section the grades will range from 7a+ to 9a. The competition area also includes a 'speed wall'.

The BMC established the National Performance Centre designation in 2012 to encourage the development of climbing walls capable of running national and international competitions. NPCs will be flagship facilities in British climbing and operators will work closely with the BMC and the GB Climbing Team to run the facility not only as a successful climbing centre but also as a high standard competition-climbing venue. NPCs will have an important role in providing training facilities for GB Team members and top-end climbers.

Awesome Sheffield - The huge fixed featured pillar at one end of the hall  © Dave Douglas
Awesome Sheffield - The huge fixed featured pillar at one end of the hall
© Dave Douglas

GB climber Ed Hamer, the first ‘Awesome Athlete’ to receive direct sponsorship from Awesome Walls, will contribute to the centre by running master classes and setting routes. On his first visit to the new wall, Ed commented:

It's the largest wall I've ever seen and I've seen quite a few from my travels! The opening in September can't come fast enough.’

 

Awesome Sheffield - the view from the main wall back into the hall  © Alan James
Awesome Sheffield - the view from the main wall back into the hall
© Alan James

We asked Dave Douglas, director of Awesome Walls, what the BMC accreditation meant to him personally:

To be able to build a climbing centre that addresses the requirements of the BMC's National Performance Centre was no easy task. It was stated that I should look at the examples of walls that have been built in Europe that already host the IFSC competitions. These walls in question are massive, and have been built by the local government – not privately operated like Awesome Walls Sheffield will be.

‘From the outset there was no guarantee that I would be given the title, but I knew that I had to give it my best shot and create a climbing centre that would not only tick all the boxes but more importantly stand the test of time for all climbers – not just the elite competition squad. We're now in the final stages of building what can be ultimately classes as a truly ‘Awesome’ venue – Awesome by name, Awesome by nature!’

As the wall speeds to completion, extra facilities have been added including two slack lines, with a third to be added later in the year, and a top floor mezzanine specifically for classes such as yoga and pilates, and stretching and physiotherapy.

Here are some more photos of the construction taken in August:

Awesome Sheffield - One of the two bouldering rooms  © Alan James
Awesome Sheffield - One of the two bouldering rooms
© Alan James

Awesome Sheffield - The view from the warm room  © Alan James
Awesome Sheffield - The view from the warm room
© Alan James
 
Awesome Sheffield - Side room with extra beginners' walls  © Alan James
Awesome Sheffield - Side room with extra beginners' walls
© Alan James
 
Awesome Sheffield - close up of the featured wall  © Alan James
Awesome Sheffield - close up of the featured wall
© Alan James
 

Awesome Walls Sheffield is located in Newhall, Sheffield, five minutes from junction 34 of the M1. As such the centre will have a national catchment, and is easily accessible from London, Leeds, and Nottingham. 

For more information visit the Awesome Walls website, or for up-to-date news on the centre's progress see the Awesome Walls Sheffield Facebook page.


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10 Sep, 2013
Really? Sheffield already has The Foundry, The Edge, The Matrix and The Works, plus at least 4 decent free outdoor boulders. It's just going to put extra strain on the existing leading walls. This is no different to Sainsbury's opening a store where there are already 3 smaller stores (as has recently happened in Broomhill). One shop there has already closed. The same goes for sandwich shops in Highfield. Money has been put into a bright new shop within a quarter of a mile of 3 established smaller ones which are being drained of business. It's a "we're bigger and we don't care" attitude and I hate it. Si.
10 Sep, 2013
Great quote from Ed Hamer "It's the largest wall I've ever seen and I've seen quite a few from my travels!" - he must have had his eyes closed every time he has been to Ratho or Imst ;-)
10 Sep, 2013
I was thinking the same, 12.5 m isn't that big, perhaps it's the overhang that makes it look so big. I went to the DAV centre in Stuttgart and that had 16 m walls indoors and an amazing 14 m featured wall outside.
Hi Gethin, The tallest walls are 16m with the majority at just under 15m. By the time you add the actual route length in many of the lines are 18+m with the competition wall been 23.5m long. Thanks for the interest. Dave D.
I think the words 'one of' may have been lost somewhere down the line but it's still pretty impressive as is The Works. Dave D.
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