You’ve started planning your climbing gym, you’ve researched your fitout, now it’s time to take a breather and think about the equipment you’ll have in your gym. There are a number of different things you need to consider when stocking your gym. We’ve had a chat to Rob Saunders (who works with Climbing Anchors and Scarpa Australia) and have gathered some more information about the key points you need to know about equipment for your climbing gym.
So when (and where) do you start?
So when is the right time to start speaking with your equipment supplier? “It may seem early, but once your gym location has been finalised and your wall building contract is signed, it’s the right time to consult your supplier on what equipment you need,” Rob explains. Did you know that a lot of the equipment needed to set up your gym comes from Europe? This means you could run into unexpected lead times for the amount of gear you need to get started. Rental shoes and ropes can take the longest to arrive at your doorstep, sometimes taking as long as 4-5 months.
Keep your equipment needs in mind during your wall design
However, the process for organising the equipment you need can be fairly straightforward, as long as you have a knowledgable supplier on speed dial! A good equipment supplier will identify your needs and will help pick out the best equipment for your gym. As Rob tells us, “another thing to keep in mind is that top rope and lead climbing gyms tend to have a lot more equipment considerations during the build process than a bouldering gym. For example, the positioning of anchors, belay stations, and perma-draws on the wall can be tailored to suit your needs – but you should make sure you discuss this with both your wall and equipment suppliers.” You will also need to think about rental equipment for customers. Even something as simple as the bell curve in your rental shoes can make a difference to your customers’ experience.
Your staff will have a lot to learn
As well as inductions for new climbers and general supervision, your staff will need to learn to observe and inspect your equipment. You will need to make sure you have processes in place for the review and inspection of your equipment to maintain it and replace it when required. “Keeping your staff up-to-date with the rules and guidelines you need to comply with – especially when it comes to equipment – is crucial to the smooth operation of your gym,” Rob says.
Hopefully this has given you some guidance on where to start with equipment for your gym, the impact your equipment can have on your design, and the importance of keeping your staff informed. We’ll have some more information coming soon on setting up a retail store in your climbing gym, so keep an eye out for that post too!