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.

Tool Time

We've got a lot of equipment on site, and I thought you might like to know just what bits of kit everyone favours.

Being our youngest team member, Will took the obvious choice with the DeWalt chop saw. This is also a favourite of mine and Jims, it speeds up workflow immensly, and can easily make compound cuts in timber.

Tony is totally enamoured with his Screw gun. It means he can put up sheets of plasterboard at lightning pace and have time to squeeze in another tea break.

Jim is excited because his spray gun for dry lining fixing arrived today. Not my first choice but then there's no accounting for taste.

Mike's all about his Makita drill/driver. Compact yet powerful, it has a Gucci LED that lights up the work area when the trigger is pressed.

My favourite of the moment is the battery powered circular saw. It chews through battery juice but is so quick and handy around sheets of ply that I still love it. And with the laser, even long cuts are extremely accurate without a guide.

Tuesday, 9 September 2008


If you fancy working in The Climbing Academy, we’ve got some posts we’d like to fill pretty quickly. Two are full time and one is part time. We’d like them all to start before we open so you’ll be able to get involved in shaping how it’s all going to work.

Duty Manager: We’ve already appointed one DM and we’re now looking for our second. Alongside looking after customers and the safety of the centre when you’re on duty, we also want you to deal with our building and facilities, and to work on our customer database (you’ll have approx 10 hours each week dedicated to this work). There’ll be some evening and weekend work in a 37 hour week. Depending on experience, the salary will be £15-17,000.

Cafe Manager: Our cafe is going to be an important part of the wall, serving hot and cold food. We’re looking for someone to take responsibility for hygiene, food ordering, stock management serving and at quiet times working on the reception desk. You don’t need to be a cook, just well organised with a friendly face and a desire to make the cafe a real feature. As with the DM job there will be some evening and weekend work in a 37 hour week. Depending on experience, the salary will be £11-12,000.

Bookkeeper/Office Manager: Here we need someone organised and experienced in doing the admin for a small business. We’ll be using Sage for our accounts and all the usual Office applications. Along with the bookkeeping we’ll want you to make sure the office is stocked with all the bits and pieces we need and to provide admin support for our events, competitions and marketing activities. The job will be for 15 hours per week at a pro rata salary of between £16-18,000 depending on experience.

If you’re interested please send a CV and covering email to r.emerson@ukonline.co.uk.

We will be looking for part time staff and instructors but will advertise these jobs nearer our opening, so please only get in touch now if you want one of the jobs above.

Thursday, 4 September 2008

Wall of Angles

Another couple days and some more progress. We finished the wall of angles today and are now only a few days away from completing phase 1. This section runs down the side wall from the cave and morphs from a gentle overhang into a very steep, sick slab.

We mounted and tested the extractors and they worked incredibly well, even before sealing. They dealt admirably with the sawdust storm we purposefully created so chalkdust will not be a problem.

Some interesting figures:
1. By my short-legged pacing, we are 592 paces from the nearest train station which is on the Severn Beach Line. This cheaply serves Montpelier, Redland, Clifton Down, through to Avonmouth and Severn Beach.
2. So far we have created 2600 square foot of climbing surface. The photos don't really do the space justice as all our visitors have commented on how much bigger it is than they expected. It's always pleasing to exceed expectations...

We've also had a few choice quotes that I am able repeat here.

"One word: SICK" Fred - director Arch Climbing Wall

"That's the best bit of wall I've ever seen" Ben West - national routesetter, wall builder, coach, ex British Bouldering Team member

"Hurry up and finish building because I need somewhere decent to train" Steve Richardson - director Bristol Climbing Centre

"This is amazing" Andy Sainsbury - local boulderer

"Can I have some lunch now?" Mike Sowell - wall builder

Tuesday, 2 September 2008

Monday, 1 September 2008

The Roof is...

almost complete.

And what a beastly feature she is!