Friday, 14 November 2008

New website and blog

We've been working hard to get the new website and blog up this week, and transfer the archive so it's all under one roof. It's now active so just click on the link below...

Thursday, 6 November 2008

Undercover Rock

Don't forget that UCR have their climbing festival tomorrow (Saturday 8th).

This fun filled annual event includes a roped competition, the 2nd round of their boulder series and a gear shop by Dick's Climbing of Old Market, and is always one of the highlights of Bristol's climbing calendar.

The fun starts early, lasts all day and there are loads of prizes to give away.

Wednesday, 5 November 2008


Our plasterer, Lee, has done an amazing job, having worked his way through a total of 84 bags of plaster. His attention to detail was 2nd to none and the finish is incredible. We'll get painting then...


Reception and locker area


Saturday, 1 November 2008


Kev has putting some paint on the walls in the last week and what with the new lighting, it's starting to come alive.

Friday, 24 October 2008

Going Supersonic

So the last section of wall is now almost complete, bar a few boards, and the whole centre is taking on a different feel altogether.

As you can see it's fairly steep and should prove a great spectacle for comp finals and for anyone chilling out in the cafe.

The rhs is fairly constant at 60 degrees while the left will form a more complex cave stucture.

Meanwhile on the darkside, The Escalator wall is now complete, with just a bit of I-beam boxing in to finish the woodwork off.

Elsewhere there's also lots of activity. The plastering is in full swing as is the floor laying, and all the new lighting fixtures are being attached to the ceilings.

All the walls are due to be undercoated this weekend so the whole place should soon take on a more ghostly feel.

Tuesday, 21 October 2008

1st Routes

We set our 1st problems today to get a few photos taken. My good friend Dave 'The Boff' Pickford popped in to snap off a few shots for us before I stripped the routes down again ready for painting.

Dave's getting a deserved reputation for both his photography, lectures and for his excellent journalism. He's got a few up and coming lectures in Bristol - Adventure Photography at the Hen and Chicken in Bedminster on Nov 19th and Madagascar (for the Wilderness lecture series) at the University Chemistry lab on Nov 26th. Both start at 7.30pm.

You can see more of Dave's photos at and


Toilets have got to be one of the most important parts of any project to get right, that's why we have built ours as solid rooms within rooms with proper heavy doors. There's nothing worse than a flimsy cramped cubicle to make you feel vunerable and self concious.

The cubicles are well oversized too, so they can be used as private changing rooms, and we are fitting underfloor heating to make the experience much more pleasant too.


Lighting is such an important part of the climbing centre that we've researched all the options very thoroughly and decided on Phillips Activiva Active lamps.
Since 2002, Phillips has been working with leading universities to understand just how light affects us, physically and psychologically. The focus has been the highly complex relationship between light and well being and the Activiva lamp is a result of this research.
The Activiva Active is a new lamp based on tried and tested technology, in which the amount of blue light has been optimized to provide extreme cool light with 85% more blue light than existing cool daylight lamps. These not only provide high quality lighting in line with the latest standards, but also directly affect the way people feel by making them more alert, awake and energized.

Wednesday, 15 October 2008

Timber Origami

We've been cracking on with, and have now finished the framework for the last sections of wall. It's difficult to make a shape of the origami-like structure but it will soon be apparent with ply pannelling - needless to say it's the jewel in the already impressive crown...

The Phat 45 wall is all finished and were just putting in all new electrics for the lighting system.

Monday, 13 October 2008

5 and 14 year membership update

One of the people who's taking a long membership asked if we would allow them to be transferable. It seemed like a perfectly reasonable thing to do so we've said yes. So, now, if you take one of our 5 or 14 year memberships and you end up leaving Bristol or stopping climbing for some reason, you can sell it on to someone else. Makes it even more of a bargain!

Saturday, 11 October 2008

Climbing Wall Solutions

Big Ron Barraclough popped by this week for a look at the wall, very dapper in lilac and sporting his freshly sign-written van. Formerly part of the team trying to set up Climbing Works Bristol, Ron's attempts were thwarted by a mixture of council and landlord nightmares. Fortunately his Climbing Wall Solutions business is going from strength to strength. So if you need a great climbing wall for your sports centre, school or just your double garage then give Ron a call or drop him an email to discuss your requirements.
Ron was impressed with the constuction so far and as one of the top routesetters in the country, expect to see his gymnastic handywork appearing on the walls of The Climbing Academy now and again.

Monday, 6 October 2008

A very special offer

With the climbing surfaces nearly finished and a target opening date of November 15th, we are ready to offer a limited number of very specially priced, long term subscriptions to The Climbing Academy.
Our 5 year subscriptions are on offer at £1,250 a discount of around 35% on 5 yearly memberships.
We’re also offering a 14 year membership (the length of our lease) at £3,000 a discount of around 45%.
If you’re interested in either of these, please contact me by email on and I’ll call you back to discuss how it will work.
We have a limited number of these subscriptions and we’ll sell them strictly on a first come first served basis.
Speak soon

Thursday, 2 October 2008

Phat 45

We've been working on the Phat 45 wall today and should have it complete tomorrow. It starts with the magnificant prow before hitting an awkward groove, a slight lessening of angle (40 degrees) and then a blunt arete to finsh.

The bottom end is looking great and will be complete when the ceiling boards go up and remaining I beams are boxed.

Tuesday, 30 September 2008

Bring on the steep

Apart from the roof, we haven't yet built anything too steep. That's just about to change now as the remaining areas are going to be quite beefy indeed. The 1st of these is a 45 degree prow and wall which is nicely taking shape.

At every corner there are new shapes and angles, and the centre has a very natural and organic feel to it. A bit like font indoors really.

Plenty is happening away from the wall build - ceilings are going up, all new electrics are going in, and we're starting to think about colours and kitchen appliances too.

There's a huge amount still to do but the balance has tipped and it's now feeling more like a bouldering centre than a building site.


While we would like to encourage everybody to travel by foot/bike/bus or train, we realise that many climbers will come to us by car. Rich has been working hard to secure some more car parking and we're pleased to say that we now have 3 car parks with 75 spaces to ensure parking for everyone on busy winter evenings.

Rich and Tom spent the weekend clearing up our new aquisition, taking out all the brambles and weeds, wheels, tyres and other bits of general junk.

This space alone has 60 parking spots and plenty of on street parking too.

Friday, 26 September 2008

Jobs update

We've now got both our Duty Managers in place so thanks to everyone who showed an interest in that one. They both smile a lot, understand climbing and are really up for getting The Climbing Academy buzzing. We're still looking for someone to help us with the cafe/reception work and an office manager, so if you want to get involved have a look below and send us your details.

Thursday, 25 September 2008


Things have been happening thick and fast this week. As well as all the timber for the suspended ceiling, we've just had lots of shiny ducting that will be integral to the extraction system.

Tony was so excited he felt the need to model it too...

Having worked so hard for the last 6 weeks, I finally let the team take a tea break. They enjoyed it immensly and I said that if they were good then they could have another in November.

Jim's been busy fitting the ceiling rails and wants me to move my car out before he lays the cafe floor. He's been getting a worried look though everytime I say "you know what would be good Jim?"

Mike and I are working our way back through towards the circuits area. Tomorrow we will build what I think will be the most impressive feature of any bouldering wall anywhere. Watch this space...

Monday, 22 September 2008

New bits and pieces

We're filling in the last two gaps in the perimeter, the extractor wall and perimeters end. The former has some crazy angles and the latter has a great arete. All the ducting for the extraction is on its way and the fans have been admirably dealing with all the saw and concrete dust

Work has also started on the other island structures. Mike has built a fat tanker's prow and I'm presently creating a chunky archway across to it.

We've also been having some fun with Jim's laser (in between using it seriously of course).

We've now been measured for matting and have been making decisions on the look and feel of the centre. From the reactions of all our visitors, we are pretty confident that we are setting a new standard for this type of facility. Bold words maybe but everyone here is committed to making this the best indoor bouldering venue in the UK.

And we'll be starting to release a lot more information soon...

Thursday, 11 September 2008

The Island

The latest piece of wall is almost complete. This island-like structure runs from the cave parallel to the wall of angles and has 2 gently overhanging faces and two steeper prows.