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Chockstone Forum - General Discussion

General Climbing Discussion

 Page 1 of 3. Messages 1 to 20 | 21 to 40 | 41 to 49
Author
Compare gyms in Melbourne to Europe

dreamingof8a
29/01/2008
9:49:34 PM
Have only been in Melbournes gyms so far and only in Europe so I can only talk about these areas.

Have been climbing and setting routes in various gyms in Germany, Switzerland, France and find the routes here in the Melbourne Gyms (especially the Hardrock gyms) hmmm, say "different".

Are there other climbers that want to share their thoughts about that?
Where have you climbed, where did you like it the most? Why?

Cheers
gfdonc
29/01/2008
10:01:42 PM
I've been to the gym in Munich, which was great - but I didn't form any view about the routesetting being different.
Really liked:
- the Entreprises walls set at roughly vertical, meaning a lot more of the features can be used on routes. The only Melbourne gym with these panels has set them on a steep overhang.
- the tall walls outdoors with no draws in place - so you could bring your own and lead the artificial "sport route".
Mind you, there was one VII route (about 21) that we got absolutely spanked on, otherwise the grades seemed about right.
Nunawading grades have a reputation for being undergraded, I also find a lot of the clips quite pumpy .. good place for building trad endurance.
- Steve

muki
29/01/2008
10:22:59 PM
Climbed in ice gyms in Switzerland, lots of wooden blocks for hooking on or bigger pine blocks for pick
placement practice, hang your own draws was mandatory!
In the states the best gyms were in New York down at the peir, and near good climbing areas like in
Colorado, but the mix was 50/50 top rope/lead, and New York gym being about 30/70 top rope/lead.
In general the route setting in Oz is a bit lame compared with overseas, I think that places like the Lactic
factory are the best set routes, because of the focus on movement!

belayslave
29/01/2008
10:28:06 PM
On 29/01/2008 gfdonc wrote:
>I've been to the gym in Munich, which was great - but I didn't form any
>view about the routesetting being different.

Possible the same one that i've been to?...
Kletterzentrum München

I was very impressed by this gym. The average heights of the walls and lengths of the routes were
great, no wonder the Euros have such great endurance. The route setting i thought was of a high
standard, though some routes pretty stiff at the grade.

My only gripes:

• Too many people! (though i'm from Tassie so Melbourne has too many people too!)
• concrete floors! throughout the whole place, and in winter they were bloody cold!

That aside, the gym had every feature possible. indoor and outdoor bouldering and sport. Dry tooling,
high ropes course, tight wire, steel ladders, very few top ropes in the way! :)

In general; man i love Europe, can't wait to get back there.
devlin66
30/01/2008
11:00:14 AM
One of the big problems in Australian gyms is the lack of full time route setters. Mostly they are part time gym staff. There is a growing professionalism in the northern hemisphere that hasn't really caught on here yet. There are a couple of guys like Saxon Johns etc. that are at the fore front in Australia but even he has to work a full time job as an architect to make ends meet. Once the shift to full time route setters is accepted here and their value recognised, we will start to get some quality routes indoor.

I've also found every gym I have climbed at here in Australia has some compromise in it's layout. Whether it be height, no/not enough bouldering or just badly designed walls. Given the cost of installing a gym though, I can understand the complexities and hurdles of installing one. These factors all contribute to the feel of the route setting.

westie
30/01/2008
12:29:37 PM
On 29/01/2008 dreamingof8a wrote:

>Are there other climbers that want to share their thoughts about that?

...just to continue the recent theme of gym bashing, IMO there is a lot of variety across the three main gyms in Melbourne at the moment. Nunas great but as mentioned - a little undergraded. The route's are fine and well considered. Always something to challenge yourself on. Altona's good as well. The vertical/slightly overhung routes are perhaps a little easier than Nuna and the texture of the surface is perhaps not up to par any more (tough to smear in spots). The city gym is in another league altogether. The routes were set by a blind, sidewinding one legged SOB who must be about 7 foot 2 inches with a chip on his shoulder about gym climbers. Needs work. Munich sounds great.

nmonteith
30/01/2008
12:41:06 PM
On 30/01/2008 devlin66 wrote:
>Once the shift to full time route setters is accepted here and
>their value recognised, we will start to get some quality routes indoor.

A free 3 month membership for route setting doesn't quite cut the mustard for professional route-setters!
gfdonc
30/01/2008
1:06:03 PM
Yes, DAV Kletterzentrum was the one. Here's a couple of my pics

Outdoor wall - bring your own draws.


Indoor wall - seems to have lift in place permanently for route setting!

Disagree with Westie's comments about the routesetting at Verve, some of those are interesting, just as long as the holds stay put!

hangdog
30/01/2008
1:48:00 PM
Hi
i can't say much about Melbourne Gyms as i haven't been to any. However i do have some experience in a comparison between Sydney Gyms and the ones i have been to In Vienna, Austria ,Sweden and in Leuven Belgium.
For example- Vienna - i went to 3 or 4 including a bouldering only gym.
- no chalk- heated floor - bring your own belay device- single attachment- some routes of varying quality had been left for over 2 years - access to Bar next door. One of these gyms was not staffed and you entered via pin code access. there were some cameras watching though!
Sweden- Nice gym and especially the beach vollyball court in the middle complete with sand and bikinis.- hard to get your belayer to pay attention. routes were ok. (not roots!!)
Belgium- Nice gym and a bar inside the gym.
It seems (according to a previous post) that the Melbourne gyms have difficulty getting or paying for good setters. Not the case in Sydney as there are a number of excellent setters who work pretty well full time.

dreamingof8a
30/01/2008
1:50:48 PM
On 30/01/2008 nmonteith wrote:
>On 30/01/2008 devlin66 wrote:
>>Once the shift to full time route setters is accepted here and
>>their value recognised, we will start to get some quality routes indoor.
>
>A free 3 month membership for route setting doesn't quite cut the mustard
>for professional route-setters!

In the gym I used to set routes in Germany (Kletterwerk Radolfzell, a new gym near Lake Constance in the south) there were 10 of us route setters who all got free entry to the gym for setting at least two routes a month each. More routes allowed for negotiating discounts on hardware etc.

It was a lot of fun and I'm really missing this activity. A lot of discussions with climbers helped to improve our setting habits; the routes had a life cycle of usually 3 to 4 months, depending on the popularity. There is also a computer system that allows visitors to leave comments and a star ranking for the routes as well as suggested up- or downgrades.
As people mentioned earlier, the focus on setting high quality routes is much greater. Many routes here in the gyms would fail the "quality control" over there due to reachy moves, lack of footholds (a problem here imho) and so on.
Stuey
30/01/2008
1:58:13 PM
On 30/01/2008 hangdog wrote:

Not the case in Sydney as there are a number of excellent setters who work pretty well full time.

Really? I don't think anyone here makes a living route-setting exclusively, unless they don't mind living on the poverty line. Most setters I know have another primary source of income.

westie
30/01/2008
2:48:52 PM
On 30/01/2008 gfdonc wrote:

>Disagree with Westie's comments about the routesetting at Verve, some
>of those are interesting, just as long as the holds stay put!

I've climbed a couple that were alright. The overhanging crack on the corner is fun. I've climbed more that were ridiculous though. Smearing with both feet off the deck or traversing ten feet across other climbs. Some of the positions are complete rubbish.

Cliffhanger
30/01/2008
7:05:07 PM
On 30/01/2008 devlin66 wrote:
>One of the big problems in Australian gyms is the lack of full time route
>setters. Mostly they are part time gym staff. There is a growing professionalism
>in the northern hemisphere that hasn't really caught on here yet. There
>are a couple of guys like Saxon Johns etc. that are at the fore front in
>Australia but even he has to work a full time job as an architect to make
>ends meet. Once the shift to full time route setters is accepted here and
>their value recognised, we will start to get some quality routes indoor.
>
>I've also found every gym I have climbed at here in Australia has some
>compromise in it's layout. Whether it be height, no/not enough bouldering
>or just badly designed walls. Given the cost of installing a gym though,
>I can understand the complexities and hurdles of installing one. These
>factors all contribute to the feel of the route setting.

From a gym owners perspective, you won't get full-time route setters until the volume of patronage in gyms, at least in Melbourne, trebles! It's just not cost effective.

AlanD
30/01/2008
8:12:57 PM
On 30/01/2008 Stuey wrote:
>On 30/01/2008 hangdog wrote:
>
>Not the case in Sydney as there are a number of excellent setters who
>work pretty well full time.
>
>Really? I don't think anyone here makes a living route-setting exclusively,
>unless they don't mind living on the poverty line. Most setters I know
>have another primary source of income.

The principle route setter at Climbfit pretty much a full time staff member who also works in the gym as a private instructor and fitness instructor in the gymnasium. Climbfit resets about 15 metres of their main walls each week, so most walls are reset every 5-6 weeks. In addition the 2.5 metre section of their bouldering wall, effectively the complete bouldering wall is reset every 5 weeks. When the routes are reset, all the holds are washed.
devlin66
30/01/2008
10:51:32 PM
On 30/01/2008 Cliffhanger wrote:
>From a gym owners perspective, you won't get full-time route setters until
>the volume of patronage in gyms, at least in Melbourne, trebles! It's just
>not cost effective.

From a customers perspective you won't get more patronage until the walls are better set and the gyms feeling like a good place to climb rather than some run down barn.

alrob
30/01/2008
11:06:53 PM
On 30/01/2008 devlin66 wrote:
>On 30/01/2008 Cliffhanger wrote:
>>From a gym owners perspective, you won't get full-time route setters
>until
>>the volume of patronage in gyms, at least in Melbourne, trebles! It's
>just
>>not cost effective.
>
>From a customers perspective you won't get more patronage until the walls
>are better set and the gyms feeling like a good place to climb rather than
>some run down barn.

so if the gyms jacked up their entry price to pay for professional routesetters you'd be cool with that?

the reality is that when you rock up on a tuesday night to climb with friends and socialise, you're oblivious to the hours spent during the day by staff setting routes. do you realise how much time and effort goes into setting even just a single route?

granted, most of the staff are not trained routesetters, but you don't go to your local bakery and ask why the croissant you just bought for 80c tastes nothing like the one you had in France do you?
richardo
30/01/2008
11:13:38 PM
On 30/01/2008 alrob wrote:

>but you don't
>go to your local bakery and ask why the croissant you just bought for 80c
>tastes nothing like the one you had in France do you?

I would not pay anything for a bad croissant. And if the French knew you Ozzies toasted croissants they
would nuke you.

Rich
30/01/2008
11:31:39 PM




Here's some pics from westway gym in london.the overhanging walls are obviously all lead only and there are lead/top rope walls on both sides of these as well as behind. there is another area of larger size which is more devoted to beginner top roping.

Routes are changed regularly enough to make it interesting however its a big gym and probably receives more patronage than melbourne gyms. I love the texture of the hardrock gyms compared to entreprise or plywood walls which feel hollow to me but was quite disappointed when I came back from overseas expecting the city gym to be better than nunas. what a bugger eh? Anyway I digress..

There is 2 other gyms in london - 1 of them, Mile End gym is unique in that it offers basically high ball bouldering instead of climbing! well the walls are higher than most bouldering at about 5m with pads to land on. Definitely preparation for the grit or font!
The Castle is a converted church and is set up quite well on mulitple levels with large rooms and extensive bouldering which always makes for a very social gym. It also has a nice lounge and coffee shop/bar with toasted sangas!

AlanD
31/01/2008
8:18:56 AM
The Castle is actually a converted water pumping station, not a church.

http://www.castle-climbing.co.uk/files/castle%20history%20scans.pdf
devlin66
31/01/2008
10:02:21 AM
On 30/01/2008 alrob wrote:
>On 30/01/2008 devlin66 wrote:
>>On 30/01/2008 Cliffhanger wrote:
>>>From a gym owners perspective, you won't get full-time route setters
>>until
>>>the volume of patronage in gyms, at least in Melbourne, trebles! It's
>>just
>>>not cost effective.
>>
>>From a customers perspective you won't get more patronage until the walls
>>are better set and the gyms feeling like a good place to climb rather
>than
>>some run down barn.
>
>so if the gyms jacked up their entry price to pay for professional routesetters
>you'd be cool with that?
>
>the reality is that when you rock up on a tuesday night to climb with
>friends and socialise, you're oblivious to the hours spent during the day
>by staff setting routes. do you realise how much time and effort goes into
>setting even just a single route?
>
>granted, most of the staff are not trained routesetters, but you don't
>go to your local bakery and ask why the croissant you just bought for 80c
>tastes nothing like the one you had in France do you?

Actually I'm not oblivious to what goes on behind the scenes. In the past I have managed a gym and been the main route setter there. Some weeks were up 60hrs trying to stay on top of the route setting and the day to day running of the gym.

What I'm on about is where I'm paying $18 to climb on routes that have been there for the last 6 months some even longer. When I had my routine sorted I could strip and set a decent route in about 45 mins if there were no interuptions. Is it too much to ask that someone who is getting paid about $18 an hour to set routes, to do a couple a day to keep the routes turning over. That's only a a couple of customers worth and they 'll keep coming back because of the variety. No need to jack up the price at all. So much easier to retain customers than trying to entice new customers all the time. Climbfit in Sydney seem to realise the importance of good route setting. I have not climbed at Sydney Indoor since the move, but I know Saxon Johns well who is a route setter there and know the philosophy they work to at the gym, so I can imagine they turn their routes over pretty well. It costs a little up front like any buisness improvement but done properley will reap returns in more feet through the door. Pretty simple busines that even a non business guy like me can understand.

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