A new bouldering centre is in the works for Ballarat, giving the region's rock climbing community an indoor venue to train.
A planning permit application has been submitted to council and is currently out for advertisement for a rock climbing centre at 7 Laidlaw Drive, Delacombe.
The site is currently occupied by a signwriting business but will soon be vacated to make way for Friction Bouldering.
Friction Bouldering hopes to install about 250 square metres of bouldering wall over Christmas before a planned opening in early 2022.
The walls would be between 4.5 and 4.8 metres tall and wrap around the back of the warehouse building.
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The business is proposed to operate seven days a week from 4pm to 9.30pm on weekdays and 10am to 5pm on weekends with a maximum capacity of 30 patrons at any one time.
The centre would have nine on-site car parks, including one disabled space, with the remaining parking to be on-street spaces to be used outside of businesses hours and not impact on neighbouring businesses.
Friction Bouldering co-owner Jason Elshaug has been rock climbing for 15 years and used to drive to Melbourne with his brother to go bouldering indoors and said he wanted to bring a centre to Ballarat after the last one was forced to close.
"There's been the Olympics this year and the popularity has gone a bit more crazy and the opportunity finally arose for us to be able to do it here," he said.
"It's about time that Ballarat had a local place for everyone to go. The Western Victorian Climbing Club used to have a place in Barkly Street at the secondary school, but it got shut down a few years ago when they sold the school, so no one's had a spot locally to do it indoors for a little while.
"There's lots of local climbers that don't have anywhere to go. A lot of people have got home setups that are pretty basic and then with all the closures that have been going on in the Grampians in the last couple of years, people have been screaming out for somewhere to go and train and get outdoors."
While some rock climbing walls might be more than 10 metres tall, bouldering walls are shorter but are more difficult to navigate and climbers do not use ropes, instead landing on large crash mats at the base of the walls.
Mr Elshaug said bouldering was to rock climbing what sprinting was to running.
"It's the shorter, harder, condensed version of rock climbing. Generally, it's only half a dozen moves long and is usually really hard," he said.
"It's a lot more social than rock climbing, there's a lot more talking because with rock climbing, there's one person right up on the wall and one person belaying and it's a bit more separated so bouldering is a lot more social. You can go and hang out with your friends and work on your projects together."
While the centre will start with 250 square metres of bouldering wall, Mr Elshaug said there were plans to increase that by another 100 square metres down the track and also introduce a taller rock climbing wall to expand their market.
"It's bouldering only at the moment and then we've got plans to extend the shed at the back and put a rock climbing section in a bit later on. That's the big tall one, so we'll go for 10 to 12 metres tall at the back with a lot of ropes and then hopefully start targeting some school groups and events and birthday parties and stuff like that," he said.
"A lot of people know rock climbing, but bouldering is a little bit more niche, it's a bit of a smaller market so you sort of have to know about rock climbing first but it's a great sport to get into.
"Bouldering is just hard for the little kids because the walls are so tall and it's really hard for anyone under a certain height to be able to climb safely to that height and land without ropes."
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