It’s official. CityROCK Cape Town is moving to Paarden Eiland in late 2017.

It’s official. CityROCK Cape Town is moving to Paarden Eiland in late 2017.

There have been a lot of rumors and questions about our future in Observatory. Today, we finally signed a lease on a building in Paarden Eiland, which will become the new CityROCK in Cape Town.

The building is huge. 3,600 m2, significantly larger than our new Johannesburg gym.

CityROCK new location


Johannesburg took a year to build, and the new Cape Town facility will take about the same amount of time. Construction starts in February after the December builders’ holidays, when we will raise the roof from the current 11.5m to 16m. This will accommodate two IFSC 15 m speed walls. It will give Capetonians two years to train for Tokyo 2020 🙂

New Paarden Eiland Location:

We will be moving to Milner Road, the Northern part of Paarden Eiland. The new location is seven km from the Cape Town CBD, about the same distance as Obz is. The old Obz facility will be closed down.

Some people have questioned Paarden Eiland as a location. We would have preferred to stay in our current neighborhood, which has worked great for us for 14 years. Unfortunately buildings of this size and height with an abundance of safe parking don’t exist around here.

Cityrock new location

The new CityROCK 2.0 by the numbers:

  • Building size 3,600 m2 (about 4x the current gym and 900 m2 bigger than Johannesburg).
  • Roped climbing up to 16 m high.
  • 1,000 m2 floor area of high climbing walls, with 150 top anchors.
  • 750 m2 floor area of bouldering.
  • Two 15m IFSC speed wall routes.
  • Ten Auto Belays.
  • 30,000 grips.
  • A dedicated kids climbing area, for birthday parties and kids programs.
  • 370 m2 of cardio, weights and fitness.
  • 80 m2 of system, campus, moon, hang, peg, compression and Pluto boards.
  • Over 100 safe and secure parking bays.
  • 250 m2 gear shop, almost double our current size.
  • 100 m2 yoga studio, 4x our current size.

Cityrock building plan


The count-down is on.

– Robert Breyer, Trish Breyer, Charles Edelstein and Mike Behr

, ,

61 Responses to It’s official. CityROCK Cape Town is moving to Paarden Eiland in late 2017.

  1. Matt Bekker Dec 12, 2016 at 9:18 pm #

    This is awesome news so close to my work plus probably won’t have to worry about driving over a hipsters mini in the parking bay! Very exciting news guys!

  2. Grant Dec 13, 2016 at 8:53 am #

    Isn’t Bloc 11 just about to open a world class bouldering gym in Paarden Eilend? Now you want to build another gym there as well?


  3. Ricardo Dec 13, 2016 at 9:42 am #

    This is epic! Two massive new gyms in Paarden Eiland. So many questions… Who shall start? Or where do we start?

  4. Chantelle Dec 13, 2016 at 10:35 am #

    How high are the City Rock Johannesburg walls? How does this compare?

    • Paul Dec 13, 2016 at 10:38 am #

      Obs is 9m, Jhb is 16m.

  5. Jordan Dec 13, 2016 at 10:43 am #

    I do not think Bloc 11 undertook the necessary due diligence and market research studies before making their decision. They will unfortunately not be able to compete.

    • Justin Lawson Dec 13, 2016 at 10:48 am #

      I disagree, I think they will compliment each other.

      • Grant Dec 13, 2016 at 10:55 am #

        I am interested to hear how they will compliment each other?

        Unless City Rock is only planning to have lead walls and no bouldering and there is some sort of shared membership option. Otherwise they are direct competitors or am I missing something?

      • Charles Dec 13, 2016 at 11:11 am #

        We will see. The two different gyms have two different target markets. What is blatantly obvious is that building a world class bouldering facility in Cape Town made City Rock sh#t themselves and caused them to invest in something big. It will certainly be a good place for beginners, intermediate sport climbers, kids parties and business team building events but I think the bouldering community, anyone young and wanting to enjoy a fun place (City Rock isn’t particularly ‘fun’, what with their restrictions on music amongst other things) and any relatively strong climber will stick to Bloc11. The Joburg gym is a bit of a let down to be honest so maybe the Cape Town one will be an improvement. Either way, the sport will benefit from both gyms and we may at some point in the not too distant future have athletes that will be able to compete on the world stage.

        • Grant Dec 13, 2016 at 11:33 am #

          Fair points.

          Will be interesting to see how big these respective target markets are and if they are big enough to sustain two gyms in close proximity.

          • Ebert Nel Dec 13, 2016 at 11:50 am #

            Yeah Grant. They all compliment one another. We coming in with this lowest budget/cheapest gym in the exact same area in 2017.

            It’s by far the cheapest area. We plan on feeding off CR and B11 customers by offering a scruffy cheap affordable large climbing gym that’s so cheap people will come. It won’t be shiny but it will be at least half entrance to that of its neighbours. Selling only Sterling rope and scarpa shoes.

            Our business will aim at undercutting the market and bringing climbing to the people.


          • Charles Dec 13, 2016 at 12:22 pm #

            Ebert, please explain your trolling so that us dumb people can understand? Are you talkking about Hangtime here??

          • Charles Dec 13, 2016 at 12:23 pm #

            Ebert, please explain your trolling so that us dumb people can understand? Are you talking about Hangtime here??

          • Ebert Nel Dec 13, 2016 at 1:00 pm #

            No Charles. A new gym.
            One that’s cheap and affordable. Running to make climbers, not profit

          • Charles Dec 13, 2016 at 1:09 pm #

            I fail to understand your logic. A cheap gym to make climbers, not profit? How does that make climbers when the bar is set so low? How do you ensure that top quality holds are used as well as volumes? As far as I can tell, Bloc11 has provided a pricing structure that reflects the quality of the service that they aim to provide. If you want to climb on world class facilities in order to get to a world class level then you will have to pay a little for it. At R450 a month for membership, I don’t see this as expensive …..

          • Ebert Nel Dec 13, 2016 at 1:18 pm #

            Charge half, get double the amount of customers/locals.

            And I didn’t say it was gonna be poor climbing quality, just won’t have shiny floors, bathrooms, etc. Supporting local grip manufacturers, not like all these foreogners importing everything. It will be hipster old school and rusic. It won’t focus on making profit, instead it will focus it’s income on improving itself and the community.

            Half price, more members, more real climbers

          • Logic Dec 13, 2016 at 1:39 pm #

            I am with Charles on this one, Ebert, google “inelastic pricing” on why 1/2 price does not necessarily equate to 2X the demand.

        • Patrick Dec 13, 2016 at 1:45 pm #

          Charles? I’m sorry? Joburg is a bit of a let down? How so? You really are the very first person I’ve heard say that. I think it’s great. To make this kind of investment takes balls, creativity and vision. Especially for private climbers with no corporate backing. I am amazed to see that Cape Town is on the cards now. When I have the guts to create something better and bigger that’s when I’ll start complaining about the music. What they have done is clearly exceptional.

          • Charles Dec 13, 2016 at 2:40 pm #

            Ah Patrick, clearly you haven’t traveled much and have little knowledge of the quality of a ‘world class’ facility built for climbers. City Rock JHB is quite good and definitely the best overall climbing gym in SA. That however doesn’t mean that the place is incredible. What they did with their space compared to what they could have done is a little sad. I have only been to the JHB facility once and I found the following faults:
            Build quality of the bouldering walls was shoddy. (I didn’t climb on the sport walls that day so I don’t really have the right to comment).
            Angles, transitions and size of the bouldering walls was poorly thought out and could have been done much better.
            The sport climbing….oh my. Let’s just build vertical walls and then some more vertical walls…where’s the variation, where’s the slabs, where’s the super steep stuff….
            No screw ins?? No volumes???

            It’s a great facility but it’s not made for climbers. It’s a business made purely for profit with their target market being beginners who never improve, kids parties and business team building functions…

          • Jean Dec 14, 2016 at 11:49 am #

            Ebert, you possess the business acumen of a sheep. You’ll be f#cked before you even start.

        • Lisa Dec 13, 2016 at 11:22 pm #

          In Tacoma, Wa USA, a city with just under 200k people, we have a full facility gym like CityRock and a strictly bouldering gym. Both are very successful. In Cape Town, with about 3.7 million of you, the two gyms should have no problem making a go of it.

          • Chris F Dec 14, 2016 at 1:12 pm #

            I expect the demographic of Tacoma differs a fair bit from CT though, not really an ideal comparison.

  6. EBert Nel Dec 13, 2016 at 11:42 am #

    Don’t let Mike design a gigantic pillar/stack in front of the reception counters again, it blocks out the view to the rest of the gym. This time put the arch infront;)

  7. Logic Dec 13, 2016 at 12:53 pm #

    By the sound of it Ebert, I doubt wether the benefits > costs when weighing climbing at CR/B11 or your scruffy cheapie alternative. Rather stick to your dayjob, it managed to finance a sick new drill, right?

  8. Jan Jan Dec 13, 2016 at 1:44 pm #

    WoW that lasportiva deal made those citysmucks go overboard with this thing.

    I just hope people would stop creating these eye sores and help develop crags and improve on them.

    cityslawk has no hand in helping climbers, no name on a route, no acces agreement , no community of real rock climbers that climb for the love of the sport, cityrock does not support climbers they just enlarge their pockets.

    I hope they stop creating all these gym monkeys training by ascending plastic walls.

    • Patrick Dec 13, 2016 at 1:48 pm #

      JanJan … generalisations much? Or are you just out for a troll?

      • Jan Jan Dec 13, 2016 at 2:02 pm #

        It’s bit of a ramble but I feel like I have a point here.
        This Cityposh have no place in a community fuelled and driven by others and one self.

        What they have done has make the climbing and climbers pathetic.

        I would of liked them to help develop or improve or rockclimbing but thus far they have only managed to do so in gymclimbing.

  9. Patrick Dec 13, 2016 at 3:03 pm #

    Ok well I haven’t travelled I must admit. Nor am I a cutting edge hardcore climber. It would be very interesting to hear from some of the leading Gauteng climbers who frequent CR JHB. I won’t mention names … they know who they are. What do you guys and girls think of CR JHB. “World class” or “Up to maggots”? Or somewhere inbetween?

    • Jan Jan Dec 13, 2016 at 3:21 pm #

      Patrick you’ve been under the impression that cityplastic has raised the roof and rockclimbing and made it better for all.

      a fingerboard to some can be used it a way that out trumps all exercise provided by a gym and to most of you gumbies you souldent worry about world class because gyms are not wat fuels the so called “hard core” climbers.

      world class is a term coind for advertisement and has no real substance to it

  10. Patrick Dec 13, 2016 at 3:39 pm #

    What is a gumbie Jan Jan?

  11. HatersGonnaHate(sigh) Dec 13, 2016 at 3:56 pm #

    No amount of ugliness will endear anyone to the Sport.

    Why is it so hard for people to support each other in their businesses? Are you personally doing a better job? Are your words and actions bringing any level of peace, harmony and improvement to this Sport which has so very much potential?

    I commend City Rock for their business initiative and their hard work at growing this Sport as a Sport.

    • Patick Dec 13, 2016 at 4:16 pm #

      I have to agree HGH. I see a lot of beginners at CR but I also see a lot of super hard ROCK climbers who train at CR during the week and crack open 30s all over the country at the weekend. Easy to sit on the sidelines and deliver critique. Something quite different to put your money where your mouth is and get it done. When I can do all the boulder problems and climb all the routes at CR I’ll find something to be pickey about.

      • Jan Jan Dec 13, 2016 at 5:33 pm #

        Good think they change the problems and routes in order to keep that plastics addiction of you alive and well I see.

        Get a life and climb outside Patrick your wasting your time in a gym..

        You are so far on the side line your practically falling off a cliff! Or in your case a wall or something artificial.

        • Patrick Dec 13, 2016 at 6:44 pm #

          You have such a hairy chest Jan Jan. It’s funny watching you being the tough guy and making all sorts of assumptions to support this supercool outdoor anti gym anti CR chuck Norris chickmagnet you’re trying to be. You don’t know me at all. Not how long I’ve been climbing, how old I am, what grades I’ve climbed, whether I’ve opened any trad routes at grades above 20, whether I’ve climbed at Boven, Bronkies, Chosspile, Harrismith, TM, duToits Kloof, Montagu, Oudtshoorn, Silvermine, Hout Bay, Wellingtons Dome, Kouga Wildernis or heaven forbid Blouberg?? We know you’re tough, buddy. We get it. You don’t need to assume that I’m a gym rat and give me advice to make yourself look more cool. You’re supercool already. All I’m saying is that CR is a very nice gym and I’m quite sure that anyone who puts in the time and the effort during the week to build strength and endurance will experience positive results when they hit the rock at the weekend and it really doesn’t matter what angle the wall is at or what the finish is on the walls or what music they’re playing or whether you think climbing gym training is beneficial or not. I hope this helps.

        • Stu Dec 13, 2016 at 6:54 pm #

          Oh shut up already. Many of our best climbers in SA train on plastic and climb on rock. Plastic is there to get you strong for the rock.
          And you know what, even if people choose to climb strictly on plastic that is their choice, it’s a pity but that is their choice.
          Stop being such a fundamentalist, not everyone climbs according to your rules. I’m sure if you ask most climbers they would prefer to climb on rock but that is just not practically possible in the 9 to 5 world.

  12. Jurgen Vogt Dec 14, 2016 at 8:20 am #

    I thought i would defend CR JHB’s honor here. CR has been fantastic for climbing and the climbers in Johannesburg. It has opened up a whole new world for newbie’s, kids, boulderers as well as the established climbers.
    We’ve got a whole set of ex cross fit athletes that have taken to bouldering, young climbers that are training really hard and sending hard grades on rock (we’ve got a 14 year old that sent a 31! outdoors – not bad for an indoor trained climber) and forced many of us weekend warriors who used to train at a Virgin Active to climb more often at our “world class” gym.

    And I really mean world class. I was in San Francisco last year and climbed in 6 different gyms there and CR JHB could happily compete with any of them so i’ve no idea why the criticism there.

    So Capetonians stop complaining and enjoy what promises to be an abundance of fantastic climbing options in your city.

    Joburg out.

  13. Cuan Dec 14, 2016 at 9:40 am #

    Somewhat suspicious timing IMHO in relation to Block11 opening there on Thursday…CR in my experience (ask Hangtime) is not exactly a fan of healthy competition…

    • Grant Dec 14, 2016 at 1:19 pm #

      Yea it seems pretty obvious that they got a fright from block 11 and are building this massive facility to try crush them. IMHO.

      Hopefully there is enough people to fill both gyms, but will have to wait and see.

      Interesting that there was no real consultation with existing members. (i.e. potential price increases, what they would like in a new gym, best location). The only thing I have seen is a random facebook post on their page about moving to Paarden Eilend.

      If you going to make such a substantial change then consulting your existing client base would probably have been a nice thing to do. I am wondering if this new facility is going to cost existing members more, as I see the Joburg one is about 30% more expensive.

    • illona Dec 14, 2016 at 2:39 pm #

      Guys, I don’t think you realise how much time it takes to find a location. It doesn’t happen overnight. The research takes months or even years. And then for all the negotiating and paperwork to go through takes even more time. So to assume that one thing is a reaction to the other is not taking into account that there was a long lead up in the background.

    • Jean Dec 14, 2016 at 8:01 pm #

      Yes Cuan, and why would they be? Its a business just like any other run by entrepreneurs. They are not going to lay down a red carpet for their competitors.

      • Cuan Dec 15, 2016 at 9:01 am #

        lol Jean…perhaps you aren’t aware of how long the core bouldering community has been asking for a facility like Block 11. The timing and location, irrespective of what Illona has said, just seem a little suspicious. Along with the only notification prior being the above mentioned FB post. But hey, make of it what you will. There’s business, then there’s being a dwis.

  14. Chris Naude Dec 14, 2016 at 11:02 am #

    I agree with Jurgen and Stu and would add that there will be room for both gyms in the market. The competition isn’t between rock or plastic. Like it or not, indoor climbing is set to take off. Some of these climbers will get really good on plastic and never climb outdoors and some will learn on plastic and abandon it for the rock. Cape Town is blessed with so much choice that climbers can head off for the trad routes, sport climbing or, dare I say it, even bouldering! (Some still think that this sport only exists to get strong for “proper” climbing.)

    City Rock growing and the launch of Bloc 11 will facilitate and encourage more and more people to join the sport. I certainly see no room for criticism of those who are prepared to invest vast amounts of their own cash in building such great facilities. Whether you choose to make use of them or not.

    I wish everyone in the business or pleasure of climbing a wonderful holiday season with plenty of great sends and maybe even a new best grade for Christmas.

  15. Jacques Dec 14, 2016 at 12:16 pm #

    The problem with egberts fees-must-fall attitude is someone has to pay for things – egbert has been on the receiving end of mommy and daddys goodwill for way too long, aka ‘failure to launch’. Hard to understand, I know egbert, I know….

    The problem with janjans ‘lets hate some on CityROCK’ approach is 1) CR does create much needed revenue and much needed momentum that really helps the sport to grow(one must be blind not to see it), and b) if only people knew how much hard work goes into running that place, from the cleaner ladies to to management, there will be more respect shown to the folks who put SO MUCH effort into and so much on the line to make a climbing gym work. Have some respect janjan, or try creating a small business like that yourself, you’ll soon find it takes a LOT to make these things work in SA. And now many years of grinding enables CR to go even bigger. Having lived through some of it fills me with pride(that I was a small part in it) and respect(for the people who put their money where their mouth is).

    I sincerely hope CR and B11 will make it, both. Marijus has been the highest performing SA climber IMHO, consistently bouldering 8a and surrounds – if anyone can share some training tips, its him. Listen to that guy.
    Robert, Charles, Trish and co understands business, and have given so much for the sport, free bolts, labour, sponsorship(aka the art of giving money away), re-bolting crags, new route development, work with the MCSA etc etc, I hope he/they will reap the rewards.

    The memberships will come, it will take hard hard work tho…. the market has 3.5 mil possible clients.
    Oja, hangtime gets little respect.

    Jacques out.

  16. Plastic is King Dec 14, 2016 at 2:38 pm #

    More gyms can only be a good thing for the climbing community and huge respect for anyone investing money in SA! The best gym is the one with the best routes. The only criticism I have of CR JHB are the abrasive cement walls they are climbing shoes worst nightmare. I also wonder how long their rental shoes last. Smooth wooden walls are def more “world class”.

    Lets go crush some plastic!

  17. CityROCK Dec 14, 2016 at 2:48 pm #

    As the driving force behind our new Paarden Eiland project and the announcement above, I thought I would add a few comments of my own here.

    A new proper climbing gym takes literally years of planning.
    Finding the right building, securing the financing, negotiating with the new and OLD land landlords is just a long and slow process, often with many dead ends and restarts. A great climbing gym requires one thing more than anything else: HEIGHT. And to that, the standard landlord telephone conversation goes like this: “you want to do WHAT to my roof? CLICK.”
    You also have to time it right so that your existing lease expires at the same time as the new facility is ready. Commercial or industrial leases tend to be multi-year, and our Obz building end-of-lease clause was signed a long time ago.

    Bouldering gyms on the other hand are relatively easy, any old warehouse will typically do, and that’s why they are popping up all over the show, witness Hangtime 1,2 and 3. To put things in perspective: our Johannesburg facility took five years from me first seeing the building, to our actual opening.

    So our Paarden Eiland project has been in the works for a lot longer than just a few days or months.

    Initially, when I heard of a new gym being built in Paarden Eiland, I did think it was just another one of Gareth’s Hangtime projects, so I didn’t actually pay any attention to it (I heard rumours that Gareth wants to do “10 in 10 years”?). Only very late in the game did someone point out to me that it’s not Gareth this time. I tried repeatedly and unsuccessfully to make contact with the Bloc 11 owners, because it is far from ideal to have two gyms so close to each other. The Bloc 11 existence was not a deterrence for me to stop my planning.

    Having said that, we will build a world-class bouldering section too. Anyone that boulders regularly with us in Johannesburg or San Francisco will attest to that (Some of you may know Planet Granite in San Francisco and Portland, OR – I am a part-owner there). Or better still, ask the likes of Brian Weaver, Andrew Pedley, Jono Cohen, Tiffany Wells, Sam Stainton, Naureen Bretherick, etc. what they think of our bouldering. (It is probably not fair to ask Oliver Marx, Eran Waldeck, Dylan Vogt, James Barnes or Calrin Curtis -they are on our payroll).

    I did some very careful analysis before choosing Paarden Eiland as our new location. I actually looked at the addresses of all our existing members and day pass visitors (that dreaded “waiver”), and analyzed various suburbs, distances, etc. We also did a Facebook poll not too long ago which confirmed what I had already found in my own analysis. Some people will love the new location, some won’t. I am convinced that the new location will be so phenomenal that it will be worth the extra drive to those people living in the Southern Suburbs. (we have many customers in Johannesburg that drive all the way from Pretoria).

    The debate about plastic vs. real rock – we show the Reel Rock Tour every year 🙂
    Seriously, some of you may know some of us owners, and we all love real rock. Whether it’s Boven rock (Mike and Ruth own Tranquilitas), Yellowwood (Charles thinks he owns it), or just good old Silvermine, where Trish and I climbed yesterday afternoon. As Vice President of the MCSA Cape Town section I have an NGO interest in real rock too.

    The fact is that indoor “_______” (fill in the blank: climbing, cycling, running, exercising) is here to stay. You just can’t fit in two hours of serious exercise after a regular office day job, 200 Virgin Active gyms all over SA attest to that. Indoor climbing gyms have also produced arguably the world’s best climbers, period. From Chris Sharma, to Alex Honnold, to Ashima Shiraishi.

    Pricing has not been set. But Johannesburg is actually cheaper than Cape Town, believe it or not. In Johannesburg we have one price for everything, R520 per month. In Cape Town we have separate bouldering, climbing and yoga membership pricing (historical) and the Climbing & Yoga is actually R585, so more expensive than Johannesburg.

    Majiej from Bloc 11 called me earlier today to invite me to their opening tomorrow night, a very nice gesture. Unfortunately I am in Johannesburg for our year-end Christmas party, otherwise I would be there for some cool bouldering.

    Happy climbing.

    – Robert Breyer

    • Logic Dec 14, 2016 at 5:16 pm #

      Blah blah blah blah…bragging…blah blah!

      If the new gym is only fractionally as amazing as Robert it will be mindblowingly awesome.

      • Die Gestewelde Kat Dec 14, 2016 at 6:52 pm #

        F*k tog Logic, jy kan darem maar ‘n k*nt wees partykeer.

        Is say well done to everyone opening any gym anywhere. Not an easy thing and so what if they ask a lot. If you can’t pay then go climb on real rock (like you lot of hard core okes are moaning about)

    • Jean Dec 14, 2016 at 8:16 pm #

      CR got the first mover advantage many years ago and worked hard at establishing a monopoly. Such is the way of a free market and only a idiot would not continue on the path they are currently on. Quite frankly I dont see how there is even basis for a argument or why Robert sees it necessary to comment or explain on this forum.

      Keep quite and carry on with what youre doing.

  18. Jan Jan Dec 15, 2016 at 1:02 am #

    I have seen a update on the CityRock instagram.
    CR* cleaned the area surrounding itself. (is this due to the sudden realization of the lack of community involvement? )
    CR* I believe has no more sponsored athletes.
    CR* should add to the pie and not just stick their fingers in it.

  19. Flex Dec 15, 2016 at 8:00 am #

    Robert, I find it problematic that you use my name to punt your argument without consulting me first.
    So here is my actual opinion…
    I climb at City Rock because it is 2km from my house and certainly has many positive attributes. However, the response to various requests from so-called ‘hard climbers’ has been tepid at best.
    If the Mimosa wall was closer to where I live I would cancel my membership tomorrow.
    In conclusion, don’t assume that your monopoly translates to undying loyalty from your customers.
    Marc Flex Efune

  20. Flex Dec 15, 2016 at 8:49 am #

    Some comments specifically about the bouldering at City Rock Joburg:
    A lot of the bouldering space is wasted as the walls are not steep enough and/or not high enough.
    My preference (which is echoed by many others and has been communicated to gym management) would be to have the tall steep wall filled with grips so that we can make our own problems.
    Since, the aforementioned does not seem to be on the cards, I would like the problems to be changed more regularly.

  21. Phil Jones Dec 15, 2016 at 10:22 am #

    Stating that a great climbing gym needs height is a drastic oversimplification, and really only valid if you are trying to promote a lead climbing gym as superior to all others.

    I would prefer to think that a great gym (or world class as seems to be what people are saying) would be one with interesting angles, good holds and most importantly continuous good setting in a progressive environment.

    The biggest walls in the world won’t help your gym be great without this. Looks like one gym is trying to do this, the other has managed not to get this right in 15yrs.

    • Nick Dec 20, 2016 at 2:02 pm #

      Well put Phil Jones

  22. Patrick Dec 15, 2016 at 3:42 pm #

    Sheesh the arrogance. I’m almost embarrassed to be a climber. I don’t know Robert only having met him once at CR in Obs but he sounds like a really unpleasant person judging by the way some of the users in this forum are carrying on. He didn’t strike me that way. Insulting, clearly resentful comments. It is one thing to pass constructive comment, quite another to attack personality and to question ethics. Maybe there is childish envy involved here? May I suggest that all those who cannot contain themselves visit the Mamahood page on Facebook and get into the debate on breastfeeding. You’re sure to find fertile soil there for all your righteous vitriol. Pathetic indeed.

  23. CityROCK Dec 15, 2016 at 4:54 pm #

    Thank you for that Patrick. There are quite a few keyboard entrepreneurs on this forum, and I don’t take their comments too seriously. A number of SA news web sites have removed the comments option on individual news articles.

    In person the individuals often come across very differently. I don’t what it is that makes them so aggressive behind the keyboard, but there it is.

    It is rather sad to me though that not more people speak up, or that Justin doesn’t intervene.

    – Robert

  24. Brian Weaver Dec 16, 2016 at 6:10 pm #

    I enjoy the JHB CityRock gym but the bouldering area falls dramatically short on the angles and features.

    I’ve also thought the same about the lead walls, seriously lacking a sustained long overhang, everything ends in a slab.

    Hopefully these facts are taken into consideration for Cape Town.

    Bloc11 looks unbelievable! Proper bouldering and training facility.

  25. Colin Crabtree Jan 17, 2017 at 11:08 am #

    I have thought long and hard before posting in this thread due to the emotions reflected. After due consideration I feel I can add some unique perspective as someone who started climbing in the early 70’s when there were few rock climbers in the country and no rock gyms existed and neither did sport climbing. It was Trad or nothing.

    In those days climbing was purely a social sport and we never did any focused training. We got better and climbed harder just because we went out, pushed ourselves and got on with it. In the early 80’s things started to change as training studies started appearing and the first real rock climbing training manual was published in 1984 called “Performance Rock Climbing”.

    This fundamentally changed the scene and we saw the first boulder caves appearing in back yards, garages and at the back of outdoor gear shops enabling us to take advantage of this new thing called “training”. It was not uncommon to have 20-30 people pitch up at a garage cave twice a week to train using the training methods evangelized in the book. Rock climbing had suddenly become a true athlete sport.

    With the books regime of training using periodization where we would train endurance, power, power endurance and capillarity we were able to up our game very quickly and with the added boom in the technology of climbing shoes we were pushing the envelope of grades in SA. We had no choice now. If we wanted to climb the routes being opened we would have to train like athletes and train hard.

    During this time the training venues were a means to an end. The only reason you were in a bouldering cave was to get stronger for rock. The caves allowed us to mimic moves we would be climbing on weekends. ALL climbers climbed on rock on weekend unless it was raining, then we would assemble in a bouldering cave, train some and then drink lots of beer.

    As time moved on we saw the first rudimentary commercial climbing walls being put up and then the first proper commercial climbing gyms. The only difference from a rock climber’s perspective between a back yard boulder cave and a commercial gym was the lead wall, the ability to climb routes. This did not change our mindset. We used the gyms as a means to an end. Train your arse off on simulated routes and problems and put it to practice on the weekends – F**k yeah!
    Commercial gyms had a business model that by necessity created a market for non-climbers that included corporate events, kid parties and the like. There were just not enough rock climbers to sustain the overheads of a gym (possibly still today?).
    As the commercial gyms became more sophisticated and were located in more accessible urban environments we saw the emergence of a new type of clientele, the climbing gym bunny or urban climber. These individuals see the climbing gym as the end goal not a training venue. They come in all forms from the “clap gym boets’s” to CrossFit types to gymnasts and many other non-outdoors type of people.

    For these people, sending routes and problems in the gym as boring as it may seem, is the desired result. They have no desire to achieve anything else beyond that. These people are generally in the majority and as any good business model dictates, you need to cater for the demand of all your clientele in the percentages that present themselves.

    In addition, indoor climbing quickly became a mainstream type of sport which a lot of rock climbers got involved in. It is a fundamentally different sport to rock climbing and in my mind can’t be compared in any meaning full way. When plastic climbing went competitive and sponsorships and endorsements were added to the mix, there was a huge increase in rock climbers taking the potential opportunity to make money and live the dream life of a full time sponsored climber.

    This is why there has been a fundamental shift in direction in the nature of commercial indoor climbing facilities. They don’t follow the model of the home grown boulder caves that were purpose built for rock climbers that would train for outdoor climbing on weekends. They follow a model of a purpose built facility for non-rock climbers and indoor climbers alike and are not by any means ideally suited to training for rock climbing.

    As a rock climber in the minority you must not expect to rock up at a climbing gym and find a magnificent bouldering wall filled with 1000’s of holds so that you can make your own problems and emulate a hard crux sequence for the route you are projecting at Boven – It would be great but not going to happen.

    In the same vein you must not expect to rock up at a climbing gym and find lead routes that mimic routes at Choss, Bronkies, Boven, Fern or any other crag – It would be great but not going to happen.

    However this does not stop me going to these gyms as I use them as a convenient venue to supplement the training regimes I already have and have had for years that I developed when gyms were not around. I have my hang board and a few other implements of torture to keep me busy. I have accepted that the boulder problems at gyms are party tricks of no use to man or beast wanting to send in the wild but serve the sole purpose of boosting the ego of a route setter.

    I will still however cherry pick problems to work at gyms that I feel will challenge my fingers beneficially even if for just 3-4 moves. I have accepted that the lead routes are not useful to anyone except people who are competing or playing on plastic so have stopped climbing them in order to focus on alternate methods to get the desired results.

    I know there is an argument about getting what you pay for and that the fees don’t then justify what you get and that you are a paying customer and deserve the facilities you require to boost your rock climbing performance. Unfortunately the times have changed and so must our expectations of what benefits we as rock climbers can expect to get out of our local climbing gyms.

    My advice is to accept what you can get from a gym, weigh that up with what you need, be selective and smart on what you train on at a gym and how, make a decision on the fees vs. the benefit and finally make a plan to setup some home training to make up the difference.

    I myself am happy to pay the fees as I feel I definitely get some supplementary training and social benefit and also enjoy frequenting these gyms as they generally have a cool vibe and it’s nice to hook up with a few mates in the community and shoot the breeze.

    • Justin Lawson Jan 18, 2017 at 10:03 am #

      Hey Colin,

      Thanks for the comment…
      So I got onto the climbing scene in the late 80’s, lots of garage walls at 50 degree’s (will make your forearms strong (so strong that they end up pulling your back out 🙂

      I would dispute a couple of things:

      a purpose built facility for non-rock climbers and indoor climbers alike and are not by any means ideally suited to training for rock climbing.

      – Disagree, it does fill a gap for people who purely want to climb indoors (only) and it also provides a good training ground for technical training (I go into this in my next paragraph).
      You say ‘ideally suited’, it would be almost impossible to make it ideal for all, so yes then a home wall is best. CR certainly gives a lot of value to a lot of people and provides an excellent start and training to all.
      Many people do not want to go outside, they’re having fun at the level of ‘Gym Climber’ – they may or may not progress to the great outdoors. If they do progress, it has helped them.

      In short, many people are having fun doing their thing at the gym (only). I see no need to tell them on what they’re missing out – “you’re not a climber unless you can redpoint a route outside on real rock“.
      No need to start unnecessary queues at the crag 😉

      …lead routes are not useful to anyone except people who are competing or playing on plastic so have stopped climbing them in order to focus on alternate methods to get the desired results.

      – Wrong. Indoor lead climbing builds confidence and is a safe environment in which people learn to Lead climb, belay and learn general ropework. Way back when I was taught to climb, it was ‘do this, don’t do that’. There was not much practice, I recall falling off Last Laugh’s overhang on TM one morning. This was my first lead fall and my belayers first catch – point is my belayer was shaking (in shock) more than I was!!!

      You speak of results: Not everyone is aiming to send 8b+ or seeking results at all. Some folks just want to go and experience movement, have some fun and socialise.


      Brian, everything shall now end in a slab for you because you have gone to Europe – enjoy!!
      But I must disagree, that is not the case in ZA – Many Johhny Dawes ‘hands free’ problems await you 😉


      Then to deal with the rest of the above comments… CityROCK vs ZA, zealots & idiots!!!!

      When CityROCK started out in OB’s way back when, most people said ‘WTF, it will never never work!!!’
      Now, you can provide a service, run a restaurant at 110% levels and you will still never make everyone happy. Fact.

      One of the owners at CR has past gym ownership experience and the past shows that he knows how to run a gym – I believe his 10000+ hours have been clocked through AND if you think you can do a better job, then go start your own gym – otherwise see comment below about suggestions to management.

      What can you do about it. Well in Cape Town, you can pass suggestions onto management (as they are relocating and building a new gym), lucky you.
      With Regards To the new location (in the same neighbourhood as Bloc 11). Robert has already given the reasons. As far back as I can remember CityROCK have been looking to move for various reasons.
      I also know that this decision process started well before Bloc11 became a topic (see Robert’s comment above).

      This website also gains from climbing, we have advertisers that allow us to make some money from the site, which in turn allows Ebert to have a soapbox and, and and…


      Further more – New Rules on Comments

      Please include your full name, the reason for this is that people sling less crap when they use their real names.

      Play the subject not the person i.e. Do not attack anyone, argue the subject (nothing else)

      Thank you.

      ClimbZA Administrator / Owner

  26. Colin Crabtree Jan 18, 2017 at 11:28 am #

    Hey Justin,

    In retrospect, I would agree with your comments. Maybe I should have qualified this one of mine a bit better.

    “a purpose built facility for non-rock climbers and indoor climbers alike and are not by any means ideally suited to training for rock climbing.”

    What I was trying to get across was that the routes set in gyms rarely ever translate to routes in our local crags so training on them is often wasting precious time as while they may be boosting your performance in some direction is not the appropriate direction for the routes you may be climbing on rock. Typical examples are that gym routes tend to have massive reaches and numerous dynamic moves and will include huge slopers and volumes. This is all good if you are training for an indoor comp or who just wants to climb indoors (which is fine of course) that has exactly the same look an feel. However it is useless when you need to get fit for a project at the God no wall in Boven that has miles of tiny crimpers and static power requirements.

    This is why I said they are not “ideally suited” and we as rock climbers should not expect to find this type of route in a gym and should make alternative plans to compliment the training that we can get at a gm.

    • Justin Lawson Jan 18, 2017 at 11:33 am #

      Colin, I know exactly what you’re saying and I agree with you. Not sure what happened to my copy of ‘Performance Rock Climbing!? 🙂

      Thanks for the response.

  27. Paul Brouard Jan 26, 2017 at 5:56 am #

    Its all climbing to me. When I started climbing, I climbed everything: the wall bedroom window (even making eliminates), I imagined sequences in the clouds, I climbed brick, plastic, trad, sport. I was awful at dynos, but loved the degree of perfection required to do one at your limit. I set routes at two gyms in Idaho, I set perfectly crimpy ‘outdoor’ style routes, i set with huge feature holds and dynamic parkour style climbing.

    It is all climbing.

    Your progression stops as soon as you start judging how you get your climbing fix – you may still get stronger but you’ll not develop as a climber. This is the value of climbing gyms. So many more new climbing experiences. And a good wall should have a training area or just use a garage wall for specific training (they’re not that expensive). Be thankful because City Rock is a huge step for Joburg climbing.

Leave a Comment/Reply/Review