Excitement is building here at Rock and Rapid Adventures, because we’re currently in the process of building a brand new bouldering room! Over the past few months, we’ve been working hard on designing and planning a state-of-the-art bouldering gym in North Devon – the biggest of its kind in the area!
We wanted to create an exciting new bouldering venue in Devon that would provide inspiring and challenging routes to experienced climbers, as well as drawing in new people to enjoy this brilliant sport.
As you’ll know, we’ve already got a fantastic indoor climbing wall with several routes and two auto-belays, plus a great little bouldering cave… but we wanted to go bigger and better. And so we did!
Now that we’re thoroughly in the building stages, we thought we would give you all an update on our progress in creating this exciting new bouldering cave based out of our climbing centre in South Molton, North Devon. At the moment, we haven’t set a fixed date for the grand opening of our bouldering room, but the construction is coming along well, and we can’t wait to see how it turns out!
Keep reading to learn about our journey in creating the best new bouldering centre in the South West…
Designing our bouldering room in North Devon
If you’ve been climbing at Rock and Rapid Adventures for a while, or have attended a kids’ birthday party with us, you may remember that we used to have a children’s soft play area in the centre. Well, we have now bid it a fond farewell and are turning this space into our new 40 square metre bouldering cave!
As we are lucky to have a large area ready and waiting to be transformed, the first stage of creating our brand new bouldering area was to design the cave itself. Our director, Keith, had a strong vision of how he wanted the bouldering room to look in order to provide a premium experience to new and long-term climbers alike.
He met with our talented designers to come up with a unique design for our new indoor bouldering room. Keith’s vision encompassed various fun, challenging elements including an arch, slabs, roof sections and a centre island to tie it all together. He also wanted to include a children’s bouldering slab and a traversing wall to ensure that everyone can come along and have a great time learning to boulder in Devon.
As we currently have a very popular training room, with a large 45 degree ‘woodie’ training wall, campus boards and pull-up hoops, we wanted to keep this feature in place for the more serious climbers looking to improve their strength for the wall. However, the remaining space from the soft play area and existing bouldering cave will be undergoing a truly impressive transformation…
So, we did plenty of brainstorming, drawing up and tweaking, until finally we had the perfect bouldering room designed! Below, you can see the mock-up drawings of our new bouldering cave from various angles – and I think you’ll agree that it looks pretty amazing!
Creating the elements of the bouldering cave
With the design of the bouldering room ‘set in stone’, it was time to order the elements of the cave. We sent off our designs to a fabricator who set about putting the different components through a CNC machine. This was a particularly exciting stage, as it was the first time we had seen our vision take physical shape.
From the ply of the wall, to the structural timber, to the steel work that supports it all, there was lots to be made up…
… So you can imagine how thrilled we were when we received the delivery of the wall components on the back of a (very big) lorry! On the morning the wall arrived, it was all hands on deck to carry each piece into the bouldering room and organise the elements ready to be assembled. Some of the pieces were pretty heavy – so it’s lucky that we’re climbers!
Building our bespoke new bouldering room
Next it was time for the biggest task of them all – building the walls themselves! Our aim was to become the highest quality bouldering gym in North Devon, so we had to make sure that the bouldering cave was constructed to the highest of standards. This meant enlisting the skills of local tradespeople, as well as members of staff chipping in for the smaller tasks such as T-nutting the boards where holds would be attached.
Over the past few weeks, we’ve been seeing good, steady progress on the construction of our bouldering room. First, the wood and steel frames went up and were welded securely in place. Next, the builders began fixing in the panels to create the shape of the bouldering walls themselves. Bit by bit, we are beginning to see the bouldering room take shape…
… One especially proud moment was seeing the arch come into its own. Spanning the entire width of the room, with various volumes to add in more technical elements of climbing, this was a complex piece to assemble – but it was definitely worth it. Just look at that beautiful bit of wall!
The next stage is to construct the island that will pull every element of the bouldering gym together nicely around one central focal point. We can’t wait to see this in place, because then we’ll really be able to see what the bouldering room will look like when it’s complete!
Every day, we’ve been checking in on the progress – and we’ve had plenty of our regular climbers asking to see photos and updates, too. It’s been such a brilliant journey seeing the bouldering centre take form so far, but it’s not over yet!
The next phase
So what will remain to be done once the structure is all put up? Well, we’ll need to order in some specialised matting for bouldering gyms. This makes it safe for climbers to jump or fall off the wall without hurting themselves, cushioning their impact on the ground. Then, we will need to paint the wall with specialist paint to provide friction for climbing shoes.
Finally is what many of us here at Rock and Rapid are most looking forward to, and that’s route setting! We are currently in the process of ordering lots of brand new, top-of-the-range climbing holds, and when they arrive we will be able to begin creating interesting, stimulating and challenging routes throughout the bouldering cave for climbers of all grades.
Building up to the big reveal
So, when will the bouldering room be ready for you to enjoy? Well, as I mentioned earlier, we don’t a fixed date as of yet – but it’s coming soon! We’ll be hosting a very special opening weekend full of fun and activities when the time does come, so make sure to keep up to date with our blog to find out when it will be.
But more on that later! For now, check in soon for more information on how our bouldering cave will work and what professional features it will include. Until then, keep your eyes peeled on our Facebook, Instagram and Twitter for the latest progress updates and photos of our fantastic bouldering cave in North Devon as it comes to life!
Of course, for those of you who are really keen to know about everything as it happens, you can always pop in for a climb and a chat any time between 10am and 10pm on weekdays, and 10pm to 6pm on weekends – or give us a call on 01769 309 002.