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Welcome to the ICP blog. With some of our team having been involved with the climbing industry for over 20 years, we have a lot to share so buckle up and let’s get to it!

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What Goes Into the Design of a Climbing Gym?

Climbing wall design meeting

Building a climbing gym might seem like a fairly straightforward, albeit huge, job. But until you get into the process yourself, it’s hard to know exactly what goes into the design of a climbing gym. There are so many different things to think about, so we wanted to break a few of these down for you to make it clearer. As always, let us know in the comments below if you have any questions or tips!

Preference

The first thing to decide during this process is what your preference is – what you are looking for in your climbing gym? Do you want to have bouldering only? Roped climbing only? A combination of both? And it’s not just the walls to think about either. Do you want to have a yoga space? A weights section? A coffee machine? A fully-fledged bar? Okay, we might be getting a bit ahead of ourselves there, but the fact is there are a lot of options out there – so you need to nail down what your preference for your climbing gym is and how your customers will interact with each other.

Target Market

The next thing to consider is who is your target market? Kids, beginner climbers, intermediate climbers? Or are you wanting to draw in all three? Kids often enjoy bright, easy, fun climbs. Adventure walls (themed wall panels) are definitely an option to attract more of a younger crowd. However, your intermediate climbers won’t always want to wait for a child to finish a climb before they’re able to hop on the wall. How are you going to space out your climbs for climbers of different levels?

Capacity

Number three on the list is capacity. How many people are you aiming to get through the door each week? Have a think about your absolute minimum number, as well as your ideal number. This could affect and also be affected by the size of your venue. It may seem pretty obvious, but your capacity will fluctuate depending on a number of factors including how much wall space you have available, the day, the time, the season, holidays, and much more. Focus on the magic number you need to make things work - not on other climbing centres. As you can tell there’s a lot that goes into a climbing gym, and they are probably running things very differently to you.

Wall placement

You have a big, beautiful space ready for some walls – so let’s fill it up right? Not so fast. Wall placement alone has its own set of considerations you must take into account. Have a think about a few of these:

  • How big does your safety or flooring area need to be?
  • Where are your climbers going to sit and chat?
  • How do you want traffic to flow/people to walk around?
  • Is there natural light or air flow we can capitalise on?
  • What about storage? Where are you going to keep your holds and equipment out of sight? 

3D model

Once you’ve locked down a lot of the finer details, a 3D model of your walls will be created. This can be useful to see how the whole project will come together and what changes need to be made before moving onto the production stage. A 3D model will show you your wall placement, paint colours and design, as well as flooring and the building itself. This is where all those decisions come to life and we get the first view of your stunning bespoke venue.

 

These are just a few of the many, many things that go into the design of a climbing gym. While there is a lot to think about, considering all the details will help you to have a clear idea of what your venue will be.

We've had a few requests for certain topics so far, but if there's anything you'd like to hear about, let us know below!

 

Climbing wall design 3D model