Sep 28, 2011

A Waste of Space

“It is not that we have a short space of time,
but that we waste much of it."

I propose substituting climbing gym wall space for space of time in the quote above. I have visited more gyms than I care to admit, and that is true for 99.99% of them. It is a combination of incorrect vision and improper execution. Their vision does not serve the needs of the community, which could range from a sedentary person's 1st climb to the local "rockstar" trying to break into the 5.14s. Instead, gyms focus on getting people in the door with "that looks cool" factor. These travesties include belay ledges, roofs, inverted staircases, and anything that can be labeled "natural." These climbing features are carnival toys, played with hard for a day and forgotten about. From my experience, the worst set 5.4 gets more traffic than the best indoor crack.

The lack of vision is compounded in the execution phase. This includes not enough t-nuts to texture that rips your shoe rubber off. The last step in the execution phase is routesetting. The biggest sin I have seen lately is "hold blocking." Hold blocking is setting a later climb with large marcos in the flight path of an previous (frequently harder) climb. Again this is taking the easier path over serving the needs of everyone in the community.

The list of particular gyms guilty of not serving their community is too long to call out for this post. However, one gym I can highlight as a shining positive beacon is Movement for both its vision and execution. It is physically a small gym but NONE of its wall space is wasted. That is one of the reasons they are hosting a World Cup on American soil.