I was verry exited! The much awaited City Summit climbing gym has finally opened two weeks ago and I was going to check it out. Not only it is the fourth near-CBD gym in Perth now, it is also the fourth gym within 7km of my front door. I have now been to ...let's see....The Overhang, Get Vertical, Pascal's, Escalade, Showgrounds (containers), Rockface, The Hangout and Urban Ascent and this one...thats all the gyms Perths has ever had, nine of them....except for the one in Joondalup. Who needs real crags, eh?
The Click-Up, by Climbing Technology. Yes, I have never heard of them either. Being old, crusty, and set in my ways, as soon as I spotted the shiny new thing I took an instant dislike to it. It resembles nothing else you have ever seen, but functionally it is a hybrid between the Gri-gri and the (multitude of) belay tubes. Paying out rope is a cinch, but getting the thing to release from its locked-up position is f***-me tricky....it took both me and Liz three lowerings to begin getting it right. The internerd seems to think it is a good thing though, e.g. here and I think it would be harder to drop someone with this than with either the tube or the Gri-gri. So five stars for safety, two for frustration and learning curve.
Released from basic training, Liz, Pete and I have set onto the new plywood acreage like a pack of horny football players onto a drugged teenage beauty. Route after route went. OK that's enough of that......
The City Summit gym is amazingly varied, in fact it is like several gyms rolled into one. This is the result of several design features: the gym is divided into three separate bays which are almost completely separate from each other. Each bay has a different decor and feel to it, and a huge variety of routes: flat faces, flat overhangs, overhanging aretes, exploded starburst things, built-in cracks. It will take me many visits to explore them all.
We then decided to do some leads, generally exploring routes in the 18-20 range, but there are some up to 30. For this we needed to do a lead induction...admirably the staff member did not faint when I tied on with a bowline (with a stopper knot) and did not tell me where to place my hands while handling the rope.
In some of these routes I found runouts, generally at the top, where I found myself doing dodgy balancy moves with the last draw below my feet. Sometimes there was a bolt hanger in the middle of the runout but no draw in it. WTF? Upon querying this practice I received two answers from a jovial staff member: (1) We make it run out, like a real crag, eh and (2) you are meant to bring your own draw for the last bolt. I am still smarting from both of them. Lets just say that I will be bringing my own draws now.
City Summit has many groovy innovations: little beanbags scattered about the floor which are nice to sit on, rubber sprung floor (like on outdoor playgrounds), decent music system with groovy chillout music to all the bays, open side garage door which lets in the cool evening air.
There are some peculiarities: whoever stocked the pro-shop seems fond of the colour orange and underdog brands, the staff have no view at all of the gym from the front counter (or across the gym), there were no visible tables or chairs to put packs on or have pizza, there are no slo-go pulleys (probably not necessary), harnesses are not allowed to be worn while bouldering (this is to do with loops getting caught on holds rather than fashion police) and the bouldering mushroom is an ankle-snapping 6m high.
I love it. All of it. With all its features, nice new grippy (non-greasy!) holds, all the weird pictures and the way-out there features. I have one request - can there please be enough holds around the bottom of the walls to allow for warming up by traversing? Good sized holds, not weeny slopers. There are some gaps now where there is nothing. A weight lifting bench would be useful also....this helps to prevent overuse injuries by getting people to cross-train. Well done, guys!!