28 June 2012

Climbing Walls in the Leeds Bradford area - Yorkshire



Anybody who regularly reads this blog will know of my love/hate relationship with climbing walls. Thing is in the winter when its cold, dark and raining, unless you are made of sterner stuff than me, going outdoors mid-week for 6 months of the year on an evening, is really a non-starter. Here are reviews and details of my favourite Climbing Walls in and around the Leeds, Harrogate and  Bradford area. What they offer and what I and some of my mates think about them as places to pull on 
convenience plastic.


Quick Links to reviews

The Depot
The Climbing Barn
Leeds Wall

Harrogate Climbing Centre

My Local climbing wall and a favourite. Mainly because the staff are really friendly and welcoming and not full of themselves, which seems to be the case quite often. They offer a 15m leading wall, with a mix of top roping and leading and there is an autobleay too if you like that sort of thing. Personally they always scare me sensless at the point at which you have to let go to descend. The main leading wall manages to overhang over its whole width and still fit in some lower and middle grade routes by using some big holds. There is plenty of potential beyond 7a too if you can pull on small, overhanging holds. Add to this a good range of top-roped and quick draw equipped lines down two corridors, and you have more than enough to keep you busy for an evening.  Here is their promotional video:


The bouldering area is a room and it is not the biggest, but HCC always seem to manage to have a really good set of problems, from easy to Superwad standard . As they have world cup boulderer Dave Barrens setting the problems you can rest assured they will be a subtle mixture of butch and technical at what ever grade you operate. A bouldering league runs though the winter and its friendly and attracts some good climbers Andy Swann turned up last year, oddly he never looked that comfortable but he never seemed to find a problem he couldn't do a sign of class perhaps? The comp thing helps keep up my interest levels when I don't fancy turning out on those dark February nights so its a win for me.

The bouldering room can get pretty busy on an evening and when it does it can be fairly sweaty too. At is point I usually head for the new circuit board. This is your standard overhanging plywood Moon board with a mix of "up" problems and a fewer longer circuits, if you want to lap things for stamina. This usually finishes me off and I head for the cafe, the very acceptable Indulge Cafe which is a cut above the usual climbing wall offerings. It isn't tied to the climbing wall and it serves the dance studio and gym which share the same building, it does some pretty decent meals and  snacks as well as a good coffee too. HCC have their own shop with a good range of gear, shoes and clothing and finally you can have children's parties there too. My 6 year old had a whale of a time last summer and he's been back with me on a top rope a couple of times since. All in all it feels like a nice little community rather than a cycnical attack on your wallet, reccomended

Contact info/prices

Admission Prices

Opening times

Mon-Fri: 10am-10pm
Sat: 10am – 8pm, Sun: 10am – 6pm

Address

Hornbeam Park Avenue
Hornbeam Park
Harrogate
HG2 8QT

Tel: 01423 81502

Map

The Depot


An all-bouldering no-leading bouldering venue sounds like it might make for quite a limited indoor climbing expereince. The depot does a real good job of being a slightly different offering to the mainstream with loads to do. Its a huge bouldering area with loads of different styles of problems you get slabs walls, roofs, barrels and all types of problem in between. If you have a favourite style or your working on a weakness The Depot will have something to suit. As there are so many problems,  (there must be two hundred or so). the circuits are finely graded and you can easily find yourself a set of problems at your favourite grade. They have problems set by Dave Barrans and Tom Newman who both know how to put their top level experince into a problem that can please a punter and usually you will find some moves that you won't have found anywhere else.


There is no heating so on a really cold winters night take a hat, as it can get pretty chilly. The cafe is just a behind the counter job but its tea, cakes and prices are good. My favourite thing about The Depot is just the huge variety of styles of problem. Its like your dream crag in many ways or like going to Stanage for the very first time. There is loads to go at, more than you can get though in a session. It will of course beast you and I guess that's the point. The folk behind the counter are pretty friendly but it does feel a little more serious and focused than Harrogate.

There is a room with a wooden Beastmaker stlye board and some campus boards if you need that sort of thing but to be honest its not somewhere I spend much time. They have a good well stocked shop and sometimes their sales are pretty good.

On a Friday night if you go down you get free pizza to over-replace some of the calories you are burning off which is a nice touch. They have a bouldering league running over the winter which is more of a turn up on a Friday night style event than Harrogate's which runs over a month. What they do host is The Battle of Britain which is an open bouldering comp where you get to chance your arm against some of the country's finest. You can then watch them fight to the bouldering death after the qualifiers have eliminated you.

If I didn't have Harrogate just down the road from my house I would go to The Depot way more than I do. Its a quality destination and you won't see many places like it elsewhere. In fact if you are in the area and the heaven's have opened and you're looking for an indoor alternative to real rock The Depot is well worth a look.

Contact info/prices


Address

173 Richardshaw Lane
 Pudsey
 Leeds
Tel: 0113 3459295

Map

The Climbing Barn



Now I haven't been to the Climbing Barn as it is a relatively new kid on the block. I keep promising to go next time I get rained off Shipley Glen which happened loads last year, but this years the Gods have been kind and I have got away with it. Time Ticks blogger Bryn has been though. Here is what he had to say about it or read his full post here.
I was intrigued when I heard climbing wall manufacturer Hang Fast were setting up their own centre- The Climbing Barn- as to what they would come up with.
My suspicion that it would stand as a showpiece to their talents seem to be well founded. Arriving through the winding lanes of Crossflats, it certainly looks different to most climbing walls, utilising a traditional stone barn rather than a post industrial structure. As such, I was concerned as to how much climbing it would have on offer. However, the space has been well used, and the rustic feel carried on by leaving exposed beams. Indeed, it has that lovely feeling of a restored cottage with it's mix of new and old features. Being brand new does lead to a certain sterility in atmosphere, but I reckon that will fade over time and it's really nice to climb somewhere clean and freshly painted (climbing centres do seem to run out of steam when it gets to the top of the walls).
So what of the climbing? Well, the first thing to note is that it is a bouldering centre with some routes added on- my experience so far has normally been that it's the other way round. We didn't get round to trying the routes- top ropes on some lovely textured walls that Hang Fast manufacture- but wouldn't have had the energy after working some of the low grade circuits. There was certainly plenty to keep us busy, and the setting nicely graded to keep you on your toes. They also seemed to have put a lot of time and thought into a proper kid's circuit, which went up to v5!
The Barn obviously has a bit of way to go until it is being fully utilised, but its a damn fine start and shows lots of promise. I just hope it gets the punters in suitable numbers. I'll certainly be planning another trip, and imagine it'll be an ideal spot if we ever get rained off Earl Crag or Shipley Glen.

Contact info/Prices 


Address

Ryshworth Works
Keighley Road
Crossflatts
BD16 2ER

Tel: 01274 512990

Map

Leeds Wall



Time was the Leeds wall was your only Climbing wall choice round these parts so you went and you were very happy it existed at all. These days its still a big player and if you live in the city you will definately be going. There is a big leading and top roping area which seems pretty tall compared to the competition. For boulderers there is one side split up into bays with bouldering problems on it. In the middle there is an easy angle slabby, bridge feature if your just learning the ropes. For me Leeds Wall's strength is leading and top roping, there is a big range of routes and a good choice of styles with a really good main leading wall with some big roofs on it. The bouldering doesn't seem to be of such high quality and last time I went the holds were really shiny and looked like they needed changing round.

As its been there a fair few years everthing enevitably gets a bit dirty through the passage of lots of pairs of feet and you notice this when you compare it to the other centres which are all much newer. Upstairs is a well stocked in-house shop and a cafe which does some basic food but nothing too special. It can get pretty busy on an evening as it serving a whole major city and I have queued for routes before now. Having said that there are lots of routes so you can usually get on something even when it is pretty busy. They also  have a dry tooling tower so if your  preferences stretch to the dark arts of winter climbing you can go and scratch your ice tools in the summertime.

Sad to say it doesn't have the friendly feel of some of the other centres, you definately feel like a customer, but I guess that is the big city vibe coming to the fore. They are also really keen on checking your belaying which can get a bit intrusive. All in all don't expect to feel too welcome.

If I lived in Leeds I would be going a lot and whilst its annual fee is higher than many if you used it once a week though the winter it would be good value for money.They also do a boulder only option at around a fiver which is a nice option if that is all you want to do. One to use if you are in the area definately but I probably wouldn't make a special trip.

Contact info/prices

Admission Prices
Opening times




Address

The Leeds Wall
100a Gelderd Road
Leeds
LS12 6BY

Tel: 0113 2341554 or 0113 2442314


Map

Brick image The Art Guy
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