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PostPosted: Fri May 30, 2014 2:06 am 
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Real Name: Gareth Cotten
Hi guys,

We're proud to announce that we're in the process of building a new climbing gym in Cape Town!

This is not some up-in-the-air dream project for some time in the future - we broke ground on construction of our new premises yesterday (28 May 2014). So we're committed now! We already had a lot of the infrastructure in place, so we're targeting 1 July as our opening date :thumleft:

We're not going to be as huge as CityRock, but we're also not going to be a garage boulder room. We'll have 7m indoor walls, with a good 15-20 anchors, as well as a dedicated bouldering area. We're also proud to announce that we'll have some epic outdoor walls - most likely 12m and 16m - so you guys will be able to get some outstanding endurance and technical training in.

We'll be sure to pop in on these forums from time to time, but in the interim, please follow us Facebook, where you'll find us under 'HangTime Gym'. (Website and everything will be up in due course)

As much as we have a pretty good idea of everything we want to hit, we'd love to hear any suggestions you might have for us. Anything you've always wanted in a climbing gym? Anything you've always hated? We can't promise to take everything into account, but we'll certainly listen :)

It's time. Let's climb.

Gareth Cotten


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PostPosted: Fri May 30, 2014 6:53 am 
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If you haven't designed/started building your bouldering area I would really like to come and have a look at the space you have and maybe give you some suggestions to provide a bit more variety.

If you are interested send me a PM and we can go from there.

Cheers
Nick Telford


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PostPosted: Fri May 30, 2014 7:58 am 
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Real Name: Kenny Moreland
Awesome!

Where will you be situated?


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PostPosted: Fri May 30, 2014 8:51 am 
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Real Name: Wesley
Did you do any market research? At first glance it doesnt seem viable.

1. There is already a very well established climbing gym in cape town
2. It is very well located
3. The owners have poured a ton of money into it and continue to do upgrades and improvements
4. The Cape Town climbing community is pretty small compared to Europe and the US
5. Most people who would use a climbing gym already go to city rock

What sets you apart from the competition? Location? Facilities? Prices? Hours?


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PostPosted: Fri May 30, 2014 9:44 am 
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Location: Cape Town
Real Name: Willem Boshoff
i think a gym in the city bowl will see a lot of traffic - a bit of a mission to go to Obs during the week after work from the city / Altalntic side. The northerns subs likewise.

looking forward to hear where you will be located!


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PostPosted: Fri May 30, 2014 9:53 am 
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Real Name: Warren Gans
Wes, I disagree: were you in there last night? That place is so busy we have Henk etc complaining of the traffic. If Cape Town can't handle another gym its not because of lack of demand.

Right now Town has MCSA wall, UCT has theirs but both of these re smaller than what is being spoken of here. Gareth I agree that Nick and probably other voices need to be included in designing the wall. The biggest failing of Rockfit was a poor design, don't repeat that.

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PostPosted: Fri May 30, 2014 11:17 am 
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Wow ... this is cool news. Biggest thing, where will you be located?


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PostPosted: Fri May 30, 2014 11:40 am 
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Real Name: Arnold de Beer
More gyms can only be a good thing. But I just wish somebody would do it right, i wouldn't get a membership at gym with a 7m wall for lead climbing, what we need is a gym thats 20-25m high and routes that are updated every 3 weeks, then I would pay top dollar :thumleft:


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PostPosted: Fri May 30, 2014 12:30 pm 
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Real Name: Mike J
I would pay top dollar just to go to a decent boulder cave where the problems change. At least in Gauteng there's not much. And the problem isn't really the size of the walls as much as the fact that they don't do anything with them. Plenty of great gyms in North America are self-built from plywood, but what makes them great is the constant rotation of interesting problems.

Take Wonderwall. Nothing really wrong with the facility, aside from those ridiculous holes someone cut into the walls. But last time I went there were TWO boulder problems. Total. Never going back, even if it's free.

Gyms: your routes / problems are your product. People do not show up just to breathe the chalk dust.


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PostPosted: Fri May 30, 2014 12:43 pm 
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Real Name: Wesley
So the facebook page for HangTime Gym is Sunrise Park, Sunrise Circle, Pinelands, 7405 Cape Town, Western Cape.

This is 5mks away from city rock. :?


With regards to bouldering problems, set your own. Then you can Taylor it to your needs and grades. At least at city rock, there are enough grips on the walls to make up routes without having to screw in more. Although it is nice to work preset route.


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PostPosted: Fri May 30, 2014 1:01 pm 
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Location: Aberdeen, Scotland
McJagger wrote:
But I just wish somebody would do it right, i wouldn't get a membership at gym with a 7m wall for lead climbing, what we need is a gym thats 20-25m high and routes that are updated every 3 weeks, then I would pay top dollar :thumleft:


Ratho, near Edinburgh has this. Unfortunately it costs top dolllar too - walk in for a one off session and it will cost £10.

Maybe enclose Higgovale? :wink:

http://www.eica-ratho.co.uk/facilities


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PostPosted: Fri May 30, 2014 3:48 pm 
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Real Name: Gareth Cotten
@NickT: We'd love to hear from you - have dropped you a PM.

@Kenna and @GClamp: We'll be in Pinelands. Less then 5mins from the N1, N2 and M5 :)

@Wes: We've done plenty of market research, not to worry. We wouldn't have pursued this big a project if we weren't sure of it, haha! We know CityRock very well (that's where we learned how to climb), but we're eminently aware of how crushed it can get in there, for one, and a little competition is never a bad thing for keeping everyone on their toes and at their best :wink: We don't want to work against CityRock - we're already talking to them, and want to work together to build the climbing community in CT.

We'll definitely have our unique selling propositions, though. We'll be significantly more affordable (on a session fee and membership basis), and we're also looking at our opening hours closely, to accommodate our awesome climbers. We look forward to having you check us out!

@mokganjetsi: We were originally looking at the City Bowl, to be honest, but had our plans nixed by a big retailer who laid claim to the space we'd earmarked with the landlord (they couldn't upset their anchor tenant for us!) We'd also look at building another one in the Northern Suburbs in time, especially if our first one is well supported :wink:

@WarrenG: We'll definitely be taking on advice from a range of climbers and boulderers, bud - have already dropped Nick a message as you suggested...

@McJagger: We would love to build a monster gym, but trying to find indoor walls that height is like trying to find your mates in a bar when it's their turn to buy a round. If you own or find any buildings with 20-25m walls, please let us be the first to know!

@mikej: That's great input, thank you :thumleft: We'll be sure to actively rotate, change and update our routes, and boulder problems in particular.

@ChrisF: Maybe we should talk to Juju, and nationalise the quarry? :P


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PostPosted: Fri May 30, 2014 10:45 pm 
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Real Name: Henk Grobler
Mok, you think driving from ya flat to CR is a mission? Try sustaining a climbing routine from Durbanville. Which is why I would think a new gym 5km from an existing established shop is not such a great idea. Some differentiation ito geography, style etc may be better. Price only, I am not so sure. "If you pay peanuts, you get monkeys".

So, here you have a solution to current congestion, and I complain :cyclops:

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PostPosted: Fri May 30, 2014 11:32 pm 
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Real Name: Max Basler
A new climbing gym would be welcomed.
I think different shaped walls would be awesome, flat walls get boring in gyms, not so much outdoors.
Roof's, bulges, mantle stuff.


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PostPosted: Sat May 31, 2014 4:15 pm 
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Real Name: Gareth Cotten
@henkg: We've got our eyes on one in the Northern Suburbs next, promise!

@basler: While we'll have enough flat walls (as we definitely want to attract new climbers to the sport without intimidating them), we've got a number of feature-sections planned as well. Think roofs, lips, incline-to-overhang, etc. We'll also have one decline wall to try and emulate a really technical 'slabby' route...


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PostPosted: Sat May 31, 2014 4:31 pm 
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It might work, it might fail. Guess you'll just have to do it to see which one.
I'm quite stoked. It's around the corner from our offices. I also travel too much for work so 3 month membership never worked for me. So, would there be a possibility of having session cards at this new gym?
- Chris


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PostPosted: Sun Jun 01, 2014 8:39 pm 
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Real Name: Gareth Cotten
@Charnoenderbite: Call us optimists, Chris, but we're gonna go with "it might work" :wink: A couple of people have suggested session cards to us now, so it's definitely something we'll look at trying out!


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PostPosted: Mon Jun 02, 2014 3:00 pm 
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Real Name: Borislav
Hey, sounds like a great project!
When is it due to open?


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PostPosted: Tue Jun 03, 2014 12:57 am 
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Real Name: Gareth Cotten
@Nopester: We've got 1 July down as our opening date! Check out our Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/hangtimegym to follow our progress :)


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PostPosted: Wed Jun 04, 2014 2:20 pm 
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Location: London, United Kingdom
Real Name: Stephen Martindale
Having learned to climb at CityRock and then moved to London, where I have been a patron at several rather large gyms (Westway, The Arch, The Castle, one near Guildford ...) I have some points to raise:

  • Route rotation is THE MOST IMPORTANT FACTOR. Westway left some routes up for more than four months... on lead walls. The Castle changes routes regularly. I won't go back to Westway.
  • Feature walls are great. All the cool gyms, here, have walls with ripples and ridges and aretes and volumes and cracks and stuff. Routes are typically set so that those are "in" for feet which is, in my opinion, far more like the real rock experience. If you find this makes the route too easy, down-grade it or set harder hands.
  • Spinners are optional. Here, the problem is typically solved with self-tapping screws and that works brilliantly. (well... except for The Castle who prefer to prop up a laminated sign declaring that a route has a spinner instead of sending someone up with a spanner to fix it)
  • Variety is the spice of life. Problems that are hard because they're crimpy or require a massive reach get boring very quickly. Find great route setters.
  • Mobile Bouldering Mats suck, in the gym. I remember loving the old wall-to-wall gymnastic mats that CityRock used to have, back in the day, and I also remember swearing loudly after almost breaking my ankle on the edge of on of those new mobile things they have, now. The bouldering sections (and dedicated bouldering gyms, like The Arch) here have wall-to-wall mats, not mobile ones, and they inspire great confidence.


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PostPosted: Sat Jun 07, 2014 1:20 pm 
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My sense is that CT could support a second facility that prioritises bouldering.

Hopefully the new gym will spend time on good route setting and management. Personally, and based on experience from my travels, well designed and managed route setting trumps other features.

My definition of well designed and managed route-setting:
- Technically interesting/challenging,
- Variety in movement (across the range of routes),
- Easy to follow (the best system I've experienced is same color grips per route - tape is a poor substitute),
- NO REACH PROBLEMS (you've failed if a reach move shuts down a competent but short climber),
- Clean grips,
- Regular rotation of routes (at predictable intervals),
- At least equal distribution of difficulty through the grades.

I thought the bouldering facility at Climbfit in Sydney was excellent (I preferred it to the Spot in Boulder) and could offer useful tips/insights to local facilities.


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PostPosted: Sat Jun 07, 2014 9:57 pm 
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Real Name: Warren Gans
Small bit of useless information: we did a route count at City Rock last week and of the 85 roped climbs (lead or TR) over half are graded between 17 and 20. This excludes the new area which has another 6 anchors with 2 routes each.

That's actually a lot of routes in total if you think about it: 20 routes a week is 80 a month, so you wouldn't do a route more than twice in the 2 month theoretical lifespan of a route. And if you get bored you haven't even started on the boulder problems which get stripped monthly.

I know this has nothing to do with the topic, but as it relates to the numbers above I have a little challenge for all you gym bunnies: on Monday David (13) and Tom (10) did 10 routes each in 30 minutes while belaying each other. Don't get beaten by a 10 year old folks :eye:

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PostPosted: Sun Jun 08, 2014 3:25 pm 
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Real Name: Gareth Cotten
Thanks, guys, we've identified varied routes (and regular route replacement) as a primary area of focus for us. One way in particular we're going to address this is to have a varied set of route-setters putting routes up for us - each with their own style and approach. We're also going to actively ensure that there's a good even distribution across grades, without too much 'clustering'.

And @Xharlie, we'll be going with larger 'one-piece' flooring and matting, to avoid exactly that issue of ankles and feet getting turned or caught when falling or stepping.

@WarrenG: Ah, to be made out of rubber and plastic again :wink:


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PostPosted: Mon Jun 09, 2014 8:18 am 
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@Warren......just to correct you a bit...the City Rock bouldering is reset on a 3 month rotation and not a one month rotation...far far too long for problems to be left up in my honest opinion....they should be up for 2 months maximum and ideally should be rotated on a monthly or 6 week basis!! The resetting of lead walls is a more difficult proposition. I agree that route setters are what makes or breaks a gym and more focus should be placed on managing problems/routes set in said gym(s) so that they remain constantly interesting and that problems are not set to be 'reachy'. For the year that I climbed at The Arch (www.archclimbingwall.com) in London, it was always very exciting to come in and see a new set to try every second week or so. The setters there were very professional and efficient and their gym really looked after their setters. The Arch were quite strict on who could set at their gym and had drawn up a route setting manual and day of training and testing before anyone could set. This was done in order to maintain standards as the problems that were set are the product they supply to their customers! Their standards and regular resetting ensured they were pretty much THE most popular gym for bouldering in London....

In order to sort the problem of resetting the bouldering and routes at City Rock, I would recommend having someone in charge of the sport walls AND someone else in charge of the bouldering as it seems quite obvious that one person cannot effectively manage both without problems/routes becoming old and boring. Maybe Hang Time can start with a good system and maintain a high standard of route setting and regular rotation in order to set them apart from the competition (which may cause City Rock to follow suite??).


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PostPosted: Mon Jun 09, 2014 10:26 am 
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Real Name: Mike J
If you want to keep bouldering interesting, you need multiple setters. Even in a gym with multiple setters it's often evident who set the problem by its style. Everyone has a unique way of approaching and thinking about climbing and this naturally comes through in the way they set problems.


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PostPosted: Mon Jun 09, 2014 11:03 am 
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@mikej . . . yes agreed, but it is also necessary to have someone manage the setting in order to maintain a standard....otherwise a bunch of random setters come in and set a bunch of random crap! There are very very few active setters in Cape Town and this is largely due to either climbers having full time jobs and no time to set or there is no incentive for them to set.... good setting takes time, practice, and a certain level of experience in climbing both outdoors and indoors. Thus the gym(s) should take good care of their setters and ensure they don't lose them.....for instance the Arch in London pays their setters £100 for a circuit.. a circuit usually consists of 25 problems and is usually set by 2 setters over the course of a half a day (they would start at 7am and be done by about 12pm). So in essence these setters were/are being paid roughly R1600/12.5 = R128 per a boulder problem. Thats quite a good incentive to set I think......


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PostPosted: Mon Jun 09, 2014 12:04 pm 
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Real Name: Mike J
Definitely. A head setter needs to set standards and oversee the overall menu of problems.

I've seen gyms that can't afford to pay setters do all kinds of things to get some of their stronger regular customers to set. Free passes are a pretty good incentive to the typical broke climber. Plus some people are psyched to set replicas of things they are working outside or to be able to set problems which train particular weaknesses. I even know of one gym that would close off a section of the gym, strip the walls, invite a bunch of regulars, let people bring beer, and have a setting party. Ultimately people want to climb fun stuff, understand the financial situation of a lot of small climbing gyms, and are willing to collaborate.


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PostPosted: Mon Jun 09, 2014 12:12 pm 
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I can only echo that sentiment.

At Wonderwall the worst case scenario was allowed to occur where a few "heroes" set awful routes that suite them in style and difficulty and thus there are no good routes for the reasonable man to climb.

To be a good route setter involves many requirements but one of these is to avoid contrived difficult routes that only suite the super tall or the ridiculously strong. Strangely enough the bulk of climbers do not fit into that category.

So what am I trying to say? Sure have a few super hard routes for the "heroes", but a well set out gym should have clearly marked 16's, 17's and 18's, which have some tricky moves in and are most likely good training. From there one can work on a range of 19's and 21's, but then even those should avoid jut being plain nasty. After that you can make them as mean as you like...

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PostPosted: Wed Jun 11, 2014 5:40 pm 
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Real Name: Wesley Williams
A climbing gym in the northern Suburbs would do quite well. Pinelands? Not so much.


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PostPosted: Fri Jun 13, 2014 11:39 am 
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Real Name: Gareth Cotten
@NickT: Thanks for coming in the other day, to come and give us some advice on the bouldering section. Much appreciated :) We'll definitely be looking for ways to look after our route setters...

@mikej: A variety of route setters (all with different styles) is actively what we're looking at. The beauty is that we've had a pile of PM's from climbers offering to come and set routes - with many of them sharing their experience of where they've set in the past, and what their particular style is like.

@Old Smelly: We want to target 'intermediate' climbers in a big way. We'll have the environment which appeals to beginners and newbies, and also make sure that we have enough to keep the experienced hands busy as well, but we know that the vast majority of climbers want to hit the 16-22 range - so they'll be well catered for :wink:

@wesleywt: Northern Suburbs in next on our list, brother!


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