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Visit Explore the Floors for a map and pictures of our different bouldering areas.
Right across from Reception, The Pen has a bit of everything. A small roof, 30 degree overhanging wall and some vertical climbing too. Little known fact: The Pen is short for Ray’s Play Pen named after former bouldering manager Ray Eckermann.
The original Wave was built in 1995 and was one of the first bouldering walls in The Castle. In 2001 it moved to its current position (in The Cave) and in 2011 it was completely refurbished and expanded. The Wave is the only bouldering area that is set woody-style- ie not frequently reset and without marked problems. Sitting around with their shirts off staring at The Wave, cave dwellers may look a bit intimidating, but are usually harmless. The Cave also has a 10 degree overhanging crimp wall and 8 fingerboards.
The Panels has a nice mix of gentle overhangs, slabs and vertical climbing.
Who said that slab climbing is easy? The Castle slab does have some easy problems, but is best known for its fiendishly tricky mantleshelves, rockovers and delicate smearing. This area also features a top out boulder so that you can practice pressing it out! The slab was built in 2005 by LivingStone and refurbished in 2010.
The Mezz is the Castle’s showstopper. Built in 2005 the Mezz’s centrepiece is the 45 degree prow overhang which is flanked by steep walls on either side. It’s not all steep though, our setters enjoy using the flat walls to set delicate, technical problems ranging from super-easy to super-hard. The Mezz has undergone many refurbishments in its short life as we keep refining it. Some of our shorter lived ideas included: a featured top out boulder with a tough top out (they’ll love it, it’s like climbing in Font…not) and an articulated wall that could be moved downward (it’s going to be amazing for training…not). Well, at least we learn and try to keep improving! I’m just glad that we didn’t invest too much time and effort into the adjustable crack idea (it’ll be amazing – people can practice their jamming all the time!) Turns out it’s much better to achieve all this with volumes!
The Catacomb started life downstairs where The Quarry now is. It was a traversing room with a roof. We called it Catacomb (singular) because it was just one room. Then, when we built the mezzanine floor in 2005, The Catacomb was cut into three pieces, moved upstairs and rebuilt with two boulders holding it up. These were removed a few years later to help create the more open cave that we now know and love.
Ah, our two traverse boulders. These are free standing and can be moved to other locations, but have stayed where they are for a few years now. This area is very popular early evening as everyone warms up. If you want to have a good training session try 30 minutes non-stop on Envy. The first twenty minutes aren’t too bad, but the last five will have you in tears.
Our traverse walls are a great place to just warm up or spend your whole session. Problems will go from VB to V4/5. We change directions with each set so that you don’t overdevelop one direction!
Opened March 2013, the Comp Wall is the newest bouldering area in the centre. Located next to the Cafe, the Comp Wall combines some serious angles with generous viewing space. But it's not all serious- the left side of the Comp Wall is great for kids and novices to climb on. We've also built in a fun tunnel system into the Comp Wall for our youngest climbers to explore!
Open since July 2013, the Outdoor Boulders are a unique climbing experience. Trackside, Battleship and The Featured Boulder are accessed via the Garden. The boulders were built by Living Stone climbing walls. The biggest challenge was the transformation of our much-loved Featured Wall (formerly near the Cafe) into the fantastic Featured Boulder.
Trackside and Battleship have six colour-coded circuits ranging from VB/V0 to V5+. There is generally a breeze blowing along this side of the building making for good conditions even at the height of summer, especially on the East faces of the Featured Boulder and Battleship which are always in the shade. The West side of Battleship also has a world record dyno wall where we run our annual Dyno Comp at the Garden Party. The Boulders open at normal centre opening times and close 15 minutes before closing time or dusk (whichever is earlier).
Opened in 2013, the area above the Café floor has been developed from an empty space used for Irata training and storage into a light and airy 400m2 bouldering floor. Up there the sunlight streams in making it a sunny place to climb, much like being in a converted loft, hence the name. The Loft’s main bouldering wall is a combination of corners and varying angles, split down the middle by a huge overhanging fin. The Loft Boulder stands alone and offers (amongst others) some technical arête problems.
The Loft is a great place to spend a few hours working through the graded circuits from one end to another, and back again.