Should you get a climbing wall for your leisure facility or business?

What are the benefits of adding a climbing wall?

Climbing walls don’t just provide an additional activity – they provide a wide range of benefits from increased customer throughput to building a hub for a community to grow.

Build a customer pipeline

Attracting young children into climbing will help convert them into climbing regulars. The climbing community are generally enthusiastic and sociable so a climbing wall can help facilitate social interactions and encourage regular visits.

Bridge the gap in activities for the 4-8 year old range

Leisure centres are an important community hub for local families. Most offer a range of activities for babies and toddlers such as soft play and swimming. These are a great way to encourage new parents to use facilities and meet other families. At school-age, some families lose touch with their local leisure hub. This can be partly due to increased demands on time and partly because of lack of activities for this age range.

Indoor climbing, however, is a great sport that young children can take part in and is an activity that can help bridge that divide between toddler and older child. A climbing wall is a great addition to not only leisure centres, but also for rejuvenating commercial spaces, school gyms and playgrounds looking to attract that missing customer segment.

Children can start climbing from as young as 4 and has a host of social, mental and physical benefits for their development.

little boy climbing a rock wall indoor

Add commercial value

You can add significant commercial value to your facility by adding a facility that is a good all rounder in terms of age ranges and attracting a wide range of customer types.  As well as pre-schoolers and their parents, is also good for school age children during off peak times, young adults, families and retirees looking for a new challenge.

Create a hub for a community

Climbers often cite the community spirit as one of the main reasons for attending and returning to climbing gyms. Climbing walls have helped rejuvenate under-developed communities and towns. There are inspiring stories from poor towns in the US which have used climbing to reinvigorate the community once industry has collapsed.

Climbing gyms are more than just a place to get fit and learn to climb…they are “gathering spots where bankers and engineers, and 4-year-olds and 70-year-olds alike, learn to climb. They find their place, their home, and their community.” (Climbing)

The climbing community is fantastically open and friendly. That’s one reason it’s growing. You’ll get teenagers climbing next to 20-year-olds climbing next to 40-year-olds climbing next to 60-year-olds, and they all get on, sharing information and looking after each other.

(ABC Rich Emerson, quoted in The Guardian)

Increase traffic with auto belays

Auto belays are great for managing climbing slack when you ascend and controlling the descent. It removes the need for a human belayer to manage this and can, therefore, reduce the amount of staff needed to support new climbers or climbers looking to do laps, speed climb and improve their skills on their own. It also dramatically reduces the risk of a fall by a new climber or from belayer error. The Safedown auto belay retraction speeds of up to 4.5 meters per second which will outpace even elite climbers.

Increase programming with auto belays

The Safedown auto belay is tested for climbers from 10kg to 150kg which makes it ideal for young children. If you equip your wall with an auto belay, you can expand your offering to include groups, parties, junior clubs, school visits and beginner classes. Schools can be offered a range of programme ideas from setting team challenges, problem-solving activities or fitness classes around balancing, strength, grip – all which can support a primary school curriculum. Registered climbing walls can also run NICAS (National Indoor Climbing Award Scheme) for children aged 7 and above (or NIBAS for bouldering).

What to consider when installing a climbing wall

Wall Safety

Climbing walls need to be regularly maintained, holds cleaned and routes changed.

Climbing supervisor training

It is important to ensure that all staff know how to manage climbers, plan and manage emergency situations as well as being able to maintain the climbing wall, equipment and any auto belay systems. Specialist climbing companies can provide training about managing the climb zone and the procedures for fitting harness & equipment on a novice climber, dealing with the public, the safety implications and the resolutions.

Climbing wall servicing

All climbing walls should be specially serviced and maintained to ensure safety standards are met. The strength of the wall needs to be checked to ensure it meets CEN-12572 standards. The BMC provides a climbing wall manual with a range of guidance about how to plan a new climbing facility, fund, design, build, maintain and keep up to date with regulations and child safety.

Auto Belay Support

An auto belay can increase your range of programming options, membership and participation. This is because it removes the need for a dedicated human belayer and increases the safety of the climber and protects against any falls.

Auto Belay Maintenance

Ensure that you are aware of all the regulations surrounding installation and testing of anchor points and the care and maintenance of your auto belays. Inspection and logging manuals should be used for auto belays and installation points.

Auto Belay Servicing

An auto belay should be serviced and re-certified once a year by the manufacturer or a specialist climbing company. In order to minimise downtime on your climbing wall, it is best to find a company with engineers who can provide on-site servicing and who can replace parts and repair an auto belay on site.

We love climbing and are passionate about safety. We can help you find the right climbing wall for your facility and provide auto belays and all other climbing equipment through www.safeclimb.co.uk. For more information about the Safedown Auto Belay, contact Liza or Scott on +44 (0)333 200 2602 to find out how our SafeClimb can become your climbing partner.