A passionate group of Ballarat climbers are on the hunt for a new premises where they can put down roots and put up ropes.
The Western Victorian Climbing Club (WVCC) took down its three climbing walls on Saturday, which had been housed in a hall of the former Ballarat Secondary College in Barkly Street since the early 2000s.
A new tenant is now moving into the space, following the Ballarat Group Training takeover over of the campus in September last year.
So it’s high time to find a bigger, boulder home.
WVCC committee member Robert Sims said while they were “disappointed” to be leaving the space, which included a bouldering cave, they hoped to find new premises to capitalise on the sport’s growing popularity.
“We need walls at least 6.5 or 7 metres high to install our equipment, and we want to really develop our bouldering area,” he said.
“The climbing scene has changed now, when I started climbing we climbed outdoors and it was called trad climbing … but there’s so many climbing gyms that have opened, lots of bouldering gyms in Melbourne too.”
Sport Climbing is going to be a debut discipline in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, with notable climbing films released in recent months.
Academy Award Best Documentary nominee Free Solo follows renowned climber Alex Honnold as he trains for a ropeless ascent up the 3,000 vertical feet of El Capitan, one of the most popular granite monoliths in Yosemite National Park.
Climbers praise the sport for its dual workout – a wall can challenge both your body and your mind.
Club president Gordon Talbett said like other indoor sports such as soccer or table tennis, “it’s an activity where (people) can meet up with their mates and have a go”.
“There’s a market for this kind of non-committed sport where it’s a social event as well, and you don’t have to turn up every week,” he said.
“My estimate is now that about 80 percent of the people that climb in gyms now never climb outdoors.”
WVCC’s Glenn Nanscawen said they hoped to find for a medium to long term venue, where they could increase the breadth of their climbing community.
“There’s a lot of other things we could be doing, if we had the space. We already have lots of families climbing, but we could do more with young people, and possibly with refugee and immigrant communities.
“Unlike outdoor climbing, with indoor you can just get into it without massive outlay, because all you need are runners and a chalk bag.
“It’s a really friendly, helpful and supportive club.”
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