With the huge rise and record-breaking numbers using Netflix, Amazon Prime and other home entertainment services in 2020, whilst seeing Cinemas forced to close and in complete crisis, can the UK's climbers learn anything from this armchair revolution?
Home exercise has grown exponentially too since the pandemic dropped in the UK almost a year ago. With all daily life altered we are having to adjust to our new norm. Well for many this has been the rise in home climbing walls. A thing of the early 1990s, built before we had a network of Climbing Centres around the UK, then redundant when the mutated variant, the Boulder Gym swept the UK, leaving us all bigger and stronger than ever before.
It was never envisaged that we could face a regular and constant ban on going to the Climbing Gym and it's safe to say we all took this right of access completely for granted. So from April people in the UK started a resistance. A Home Guard to protect us from losing the gains we had made and from stopping climbing completely. Our existing DIY skills were put to good use and we sought to expand our knowledge of both home training but also Home Walls. With big guns' Sean McColl, Shauna Coxsey and Louis Parkinson all have shown us their various examples of the home wall, built to keep their strength up, but also the motivation. It's not just the physical benefit from building a home wall, it's the problem solving, the hours that can be lost in this home playground is exactly why Netflix has taken over the living room and headspace of the population, filling the void.
We used to go climbing to exercise our body and mind and stay sharp. Lockdowns are the opposite of this so we have seen an explosion of home projects during the first lockdown. Now we are on the cusp of another potentially long lockdown it's time to finally nail that home wall experience. Invest your time and some money in your own personal climbing home gym.
However, we don't want to see our beloved UK Climbing Gyms go down the same rocky road as the UK's cinemas. We would encourage all UK climbers to invest in some kind of prepaid subscription with their local gym of choice. Almost all gyms have survived this terrible year of 2020 but without our support, it might be a different landscape when this virus has finally gone. Buying gift vouchers, prepaid punch cards or prepaid passes will all help to secure the future of each and every UK gym. Most climbing gyms have a shop, they might not be as cheap as the online discounters, but then again, the profits go towards something you use in your local community. Shop Local might save you from driving an extra hour to get to a climbing gym in the future, something that will cost you less than an extra 5-10% off your next pair of rock shoes. So you don't need any new rock shoes? Well, they don't go out of date, if you can afford to invest in the future security of our industry then the power is in your hands and in your wallet.
So to welcome in this new year buy a climbing gym pass and build your own wall, safeguarding your own climbing skills and your return to the public climbing scene when this is all over. At Serious Climbing Distribution we have been doing our bit, buying up and stockpiling cheap climbing holds from gyms, factory seconds and discontinued stock. We have so far supplied tens of thousands of holds in 2020 for the humble home climbing wall and we hope to be able to keep this flow of affordable climbing holds for all into 2021. Add to this our other products, fixings, textured paints and now panels we can make more people fulfil their home gym goals in 2021.
Not everyone can afford a purpose-built extension or a room with a Kilterboard installed. But, in true British style of discovery, we have taken over part of the garage, the spare bedroom or the loft/roof space or even pimped up the garden shed. From a few second-hand holds on a hangboard or the beams in the roof, or boarding the underside of the stairs to incorporating a home gym into your next home you buy, people can find a way to have something to pull on.
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