The 400sqm bouldering cave offers a healthy alternative for kids this half term, with a competition for experienced climbers and special events.
On October 19th, Rock and Rapid Adventures will open North Devon’s biggest bouldering cave at its climbing facilities, The Wall. The £100k investment is an impressive 400sqm and makes the perfect addition to the adventure centre’s climbing offering, ahead of the 2020 Summer Olympics.
The cave will open less than a year ahead of the international games, where the bouldering discipline is expected to receive a huge boost as “sport climbing” makes its debut in three separate categories: speed climbing, lead climbing and bouldering.
The new, state-of-the-art facilities feature unusual shapes, irking angles and more than a thousand different holds; all of which maximise the space within the bouldering centre. It will include new slab routes, cave routes, arches and much more.
Five recommended routes will be set around the walls in different colours according to difficulty.
The yellow route is ideal for first timers and provides a basis from which to progress to the orange, blue, red and black routes as they build up their skills. The routes will be changed every two weeks and a different competition circuit added in each month so that bouldering at The Wall is always a fresh, fun and challenging experience.
What is bouldering?
Bouldering involves the most rudimentary elements of rock climbing in a more stripped-back setting, without the need for specialist equipment and experience. It tends to be done close to the ground, with most bouldering “problems” found below 15 feet. You can learn the basic safety principles in a short induction session and throw yourself into the sport quickly.
The bouldering challenge isn’t purely physical, though. Without ropes, climbers are forced to slow down and consider carefully where and how to make their next move. And while it does involve a combination of grip, orientation, precise movements and strength, it’s up to the climber to calculate how to bring those elements together and avoid falling.
Bouldering offers a great alternative to the gym. It’s a judgement-free zone without any mirrors, and it’s never boring. You don’t have to do repetition after repetition to build up your arm muscles in a bouldering cave; climbing does that for you, without you even noticing. Do it with a group of friends and you’ll be able to draw on each other’s ideas to work out how to accomplish trickier problems too.
“Hugely social exercise”
Owner Keith Crockford anticipates that the Olympics’ exposure of climbing and bouldering will give the activity a massive boost. He said: “There’ll be loads of coverage of climbing and bouldering at the Olympics next year and more and more people will finally see these activities for what they really are: sports that anyone can enjoy.
“Of the three new Olympic disciplines, bouldering is the easiest to get involved in; you don’t need any special equipment or training to get started. But it’s still exercise, and hugely social exercise at that! We’ll be kicking off at the wall with some friendly competition to show people just how much fun they can have together while bouldering.”
Lots happening during half term
The bouldering cave will open its doors with an adult competition for experienced climbers from 12-7pm on 19th October. The following day on October 20th, it will host a version of the same competition for children, running from 12-6pm.
Over the rest of the opening week (which happens to be half term week!), Rock and Rapid will be hosting various special events, including specialist bouldering coaching, a ‘Cheeky Chimps’ toddler sensory session, a ladies’ night with climbing and yoga and much more.
The week will be rounded off from Saturday 26th-Sunday 27th with a ‘Floor is Lava’ obstacle course-come-bouldering challenge, which will be great fun for all ages to have a go at, plus a raffle to raise money for charity Climbers Against Cancer.
There will be plenty happening at the bouldering wall during half term, from October 21st to 27th, too. With frequent “Have a Go” sessions, newbie kids and grown-ups can come along and try their hand at both bouldering and rock climbing for the first time. Normally £15 per person, these 1.5 hour sessions will be discounted to £10pp just for the half term week.
From then on, the bouldering centre will be open 10am-10pm Monday to Friday and 10am-6pm on the weekends. Entrance to the climbing wall is £8.50 a session, with no time restriction. You can also sign up for membership on a monthly direct debit basis, for £35 per month, or £30 per month if you sign up before 20th October.
If you’d like to find out more about The Wall or to sign up for membership, please don’t hesitate to call the Rock and Rapid Adventures team on 01769 309003, or check out their website - www.rockandrapidadventures.co.uk.