—This is an updated post on the basis of a comment received by David Douglas, and includes more info regarding opening times and training facilities —
The new ‘Awesome Walls’ wall in Sheffield opened this weekend. It’s the 5th wall to open in Sheffield and has created some competition for The Foundry and The Edge as the main focus is on top roping and leading. None of us were sure of the extent of bouldering at the Wall, or even if any had been set, but we thought we’d go. Also, we wanted to get a low number at the wall because we’re sad like that. We bumped into Ned Feehally and Shauna Coxsey leaving as we arrived. They said hi, we said hi, and that was about it.
First off, I’d like to say that AWCC Sheffield is still very much a work in progress. They’re busy setting the main wall for the BLCCs (British Leading [and Speed] Climbing Championships) being held there this weekend. However, they have found the time to set one of the bouldering areas and were in the process of setting another.
After registering, we wandered around and my main impression of the place was that it was big, and cold. I think its going to be pretty Baltic in there come winter. One of the staff assured me that they have some pretty awesome heating system which means that it won’t be as bad as it could be. It will also be much more inviting when they have a seating area and couches etc to chill out on. I think part of the feeling of space was because the reception area was still partially finished (it had the basics, but only had trestle tables and chairs for seating), and when it’s finished off, then it will be a bit more inviting. Furthermore, on the weekend, the main wall hadn’t been set yet, and they only had a small filter coffee machine.
One of the staff members commented on my training blog on Sunday, and said that the following will be offered at AWCC:
- A coffee machine. [On Sunday, the staff did tell us that there was one on order, and were really friendly and helpful. They even came to tell us when our coffee was brewed.]
- 3 bouldering walls at AWCC Sheffield. Two of them should be open by this evening (1/10/2013)
- Training facilities including campus board, fingerboard and rings are in the process of being developed.
While the facilities were rather basic on the weekend, there were only 7 people climbing on the wall which meant it was mainly ours to play on. So, we started to climb and my first impressions of the bouldering wall were OUCHIES!! The grip paint is very good, and the holds were very brand new. In fact, I’ve not got much skin left on my tips.
Here’s two photos of one of the bouldering walls:
At times, it felt like we were climbing in a prison:
Grades are set using different colours, pink for easiest (V1-V2) and green for hardest (V7+). I found the Pinks a good warm-up but so painful on the hands! Some of the black problems were a bit reachy and generally straight-forward. The reds (V3-V4) were a mixed bunch. Some of them were really good and had enjoyable moves, but others had very long top moves. Generally, I found the top moves a bit spicy in terms of reach and consistently dropped them. Annoying.
My OH found the top moves a bit more achievable. He didn’t flash the reds, but he did find the tops much easier. Here he is working one of the reds:
Mainly, the setting was fine. It wasn’t particularly inspiring, but it was fine. I’m reserving my final judgement until the wall is completely open and I’ve played on it for a couple of times. However, from my climb on the weekend, I can say that the staff were very friendly and the mats were super comfy to land on.
For further info on AWCC Sheffield go to their website here.
Opening hours early October:
- Monday 30th till Friday 4th 16:00 -22:00
- Saturday 5th and Sunday 6th Closed for BMC British Lead and Speed Climbing Championships
- Monday 6th till Friday 11th 12:00 – 22:00
- Saturday 12th Official opening party 10:00 till 20:00 Party 20:00 onward (details here)
- Sunday 13th 10:00 till 20:00
After BLSCCs, all walls will be reset and fully operational.
Normal opening hours:
- Monday to Friday 10:00 till 22:00
- Saturday and Sunday 10:00 till 20:00
- Bank Holidays 10:00 till 18:00
- Closed Christmas Day, Boxing Day and New Years Day.
- Topped all pinks
- Topped all blacks
- Topped some reds and worked some too
- No pull ups as no finger board
- Some core work