In our ongoing series looking at gyms from all around the land our latest stop is Beyond Bouldering in RAdelaide. We don’t know what is going to come when we do move beyond bouldering but we do know what is hot right now
What’s Beyond Bouldering’s elevator pitch?
We are committed to creating a clean, bright and welcoming space where climbers of all levels can come together to climb, train and have a great time. We are the largest indoor bouldering facility in South Australia and whether you’re looking to have some fun, get fit, or make friends, Beyond Bouldering is the place to start.
Who is behind Beyond Bouldering?
Beyond Bouldering is Paul Kinnane, Lucy Watson, Justin Taylor and Andrew Beckworth, four passionate long time climbers from Adelaide with a love for bouldering! At the risk of making us seem old, between us we have over 60 years of climbing experience.
Why did you decide to open a bouldering-only gym?
Opening a gym which has both climbing and bouldering is a big undertaking. Given the surge in popularity of bouldering, and our passion for the sport, it was an easy decision for us to make. Adelaide was also missing a world-class bouldering facility so we made it happen!
Can you tell us a little bit about the space where your gym is built?
Our gym is in Keswick which is just outside the CBD. It is a two-storey warehouse with the bouldering wall constructed in a U-shape on the ground floor. We haven’t yet set up our upstairs area, but we have had a lot of feedback about what people might like to see up there and will be making some exciting announcements soon.
Who built the walls and how do you decide on that?
Our walls were designed and supplied by Walltopia and built locally by JTI. We did think about designing and building our own walls, but at the end of the day these guys are creating amazing walls all over the world and we wanted to be the first to bring that product to Adelaide.
Who is going to do most of the setting, and what kind of styles do you think are going to define the gym?
We have a three-person route-setting team, headed up by Dan Berry who comes from a movement and parkour background. The other two team members are Jordan Grant, a young crusher with an eye for setting, and Brian Pillai, a former member of the Singapore National Team. We don’t want to be defined by one style – we would rather be known for having great setting across a range of grades. We also want to support our setters to build their skills. For example, Dan and Jordan attended the recent Jacky Godoffe course in Sydney, learning from the master himself, and Dan helped Urban Climb with setting for their recent BoulderFest 2017.
Is there a unifying philosophy underpinning the route-setting?
Yes, there definitely is. Our goal is to have a modern movement-based philosophy but our setters ensure that climbers of all levels and ages have access to fun but challenging problems across our grade and style range. We also have a few crimper problems to keep the old school boulderers happy!
What brand holds do you use and how do you choose which holds your going to use?
We have a wide selection of holds from all over the world, including Flathold, Artline, Kingdom and Cheetah. We are constantly looking to increase the variety of our holds, and our focus is on big feature holds that look, feel and climb amazingly well.
Do you offer any coaching for climbers and how is that going to work?
This is something we will be introducing soon. We have some very talented people in our team who will be offering coaching to our community from kids to elite level climbers – watch this space!
What do you think people are getting wrong with their training for climbing?
So many people say they are training but all they are really doing is climbing and hoping they will get better. Find out what your weaknesses are and then work them!
Climbing is inherently dangerous, what do you think are the key things to mitigate risk in your gym?
We have taken every step to ensure our gym is as safe as it can be – from the mats we have chosen, to producing a safety video for new climbers that has a focus on how to fall properly. We also have bouldering rules that are clearly visible around the gym, and our friendly staff are available to talk people through the safest way to use the facility.
Other than the bouldering walls, what other facilities does the gym offer?
We have hangboards, campus rungs and balls, awesome coffee and a small shop.
What have you got that other gyms haven’t?
All of the above! No seriously, what we hope to bring to Adelaide is not just an awesome climbing facility but ultimately our vision is to grow and strengthen our amazing climbing community.
What’s going on in the Adelaide climbing scene at the minute? Anything that the rest of the country should know about?
Watch out Australia! With a new bouldering gym in town, our climbing community is training, getting strong, and is ready to crush.
What are the biggest issues in Australian climbing at the minute and what role do you think you do or can play in the broader climbing community?
One of the biggest issues now is the influx of new climbers and the impact this has on the environment. New gyms like ours have a role to play in educating new climbers about climbing etiquette and how to enjoy the outdoors in a responsible way. Several of us have firsthand seen the impact on the Grampians National Park over the last few years and hopefully together we can influence change so that we don’t risk the closure of our climbing areas.
How have climbing gyms changed over the years and how does Beyond Bouldering fit into these changes?
Climbing gyms have changed immensely over the last 20 years. The walls, holds and route-setting are better, and gyms need to offer the best otherwise they risk being left behind. Gyms now need to offer more than just a climbing facility. Good training areas, great coffee, food and merchandise all have their place in a modern gym. Obviously, the style of setting for bouldering has also changed with more importance placed on movement and less emphasis on using smaller holds to make it hard. At Beyond we think we have nailed these changes and we are prepared to invest in our facilities and our staff to ensure we keep our climbers happy and coming back.
What does the future of climbing gyms look like?
Bigger and with a wider range of services not just focused on climbing. If you look at the big gyms in the USA they offer the full package to their clients. We would love to be a part of bringing this type of facility to South Australia.
How much does it cost to boulder at Beyond?
We charge $19 for adults, $17 for students and $14 for kids under 12.
For more info head to the Beyond Bouldering website.