Climbers scale new heights

Edinburgh Leisure | Thursday 25th November 2021 3:26pm

Climbers scale new heights

A new climbing slab wall, suitable for novices and intermediate climbers has been unveiled at Europe’s largest indoor climbing wall, the Edinburgh International Climbing Arena at Ratho.

Fifteen new lines, suitable for novices and intermediate climbers, will increase the offering to these groups by 50%. These new lines will allow up to 45 more colour coded, graded climbs to be set within the arena. A third of the lines, five in total, have the addition of auto-belays, meaning a climber doesn’t require a partner to ‘belay’.

Nic Crawshaw, Climbing Operations Manager at EICA: Ratho explained: “Designed as a venue for national and international competitions and as a national centre for climbing, our fantastic facility at the EICA: Ratho caters particularly well for advanced and elite climbers. 

“The installation of these new lines will enhance and make the climbing experience more accessible for new and the less experienced climber, and especially children and young people, disability climbing groups, and people involved in our Active Communities programme. 

“With increased wall space suitable for these groups, we hope that it’ll increase the number of people getting involved in climbing for the first time. However, given the design of the new wall, it will also provide a few technical challenges for the more advanced climber too. It’s all about bringing climbing to more people.”

The project was funded by Edinburgh Leisure, who manage the facility at EICA: Ratho, and match funded by sportscotland, with an endorsement from Mountaineering Scotland. King Kong Climbing Walls from Cumbria built the walls after being successful in a tendering process.

Stewart Harris, Chief Executive of sportscotland, said: “We work closely with partners across the country including Edinburgh Leisure to create the right facilities that will provide more opportunities for people to get active in their local communities.

“So, it’s great to see this new climbing wall at the Edinburgh International Climbing Arena, which will further enhance the already fantastic facilities that are available at Ratho and specifically create opportunities to help less experienced climbers develop their skills.

“Our investment in facilities such as this is made possible thanks to the National Lottery players who raise £30million each week for good causes. Without that level of support, developing community facilities like the new climbing wall would not be possible.”

 Stuart Younie, CEO, Mountaineering Scotland said: “Following the debut of climbing in the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games, Ratho provides a unique and important facility for the sport both at a national and international level.  

“It provides both a gateway for new participants and also an important training venue for those who are working towards competing at the highest levels in the sport. The new slab wall will open opportunities for more people to enjoy the benefits of participating in climbing as part of a clear participation pathway giving them the opportunity to progress and develop their skills.

“By supporting this project Mountaineering Scotland and the ClimbScotland programme also hope it will underpin further investment and support for the development of climbing at all levels to ensure the EICA: Ratho is a truly world-class facility.”

Edinburgh Leisure is a charity on a mission to help keep people active and well always. They run over 50 sport, leisure and school venues and are committed to creating opportunities for everyone to get active and stay active.

Their Active Communities Programme harnesses the power of physical activity and sport to tackle inequalities and combat the effects of inactivity. Each year they support around 10,000 people affected by health conditions, disabilities, inequalities, and poverty to get active – empowering them to improve and protect their health, wellbeing, and quality of life.

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