The Climbing Depot at Stanningley

Posted: 5th May 2009 by admin in Climbing, Sport

This weeks article is small diversion from the usual coverage of the outside world, with a review of the newly opened Climbing Depot in Stanningley near Leeds.

The rain gods were cruel to us last week. Setting off from Bradford where it had been dry all day to Almscliffe, it was looking OK, a few light spells of drizzle, but nothing the wind hitting the exposed crag could not dry quickly. This soon changed when I reached Pool, and it came down with vengeance, damn you weather gods!

As I arrived at lay-by for the crag, it was empty! For Almscliffe to have no cars, it must be in bad nick. The rain had definitely written off any outdoor climbing tonight, and the green state of the crag confirmed this. Soon after my climbing partner arrived, and Plan B was hatched (or rather Plan B2). Initially heading to Leeds Wall, we soon changed plans and went to try out the Bouldering centre at the Depot.

For a rainy night it was a pleasant surprise to be able to get a parking space in the car park. First impressions of the centre were good, not being able to see to the back of the climbing area is always a good sign, and staff were friendly, something which continued throughout the night. After registration and an introduction to the facilities it was down to business.

The first thing that strikes you is that there is a lot of bouldering to do here, whatever grade you climb at, and all styles, drum barrel overhangs, roofs, overhangs and flat walls are all in abundance here. When phase 2 is complete, they will have a third more routes than currently. However the routes are not on top of each other, with plenty of space between the adjoining routes. I reckon the current area is about 30m deep by 20m wide, with routes from 4-6m in height.

Routes go up to V9-10, and routes had been put up recently to challenge the highest end boulderer, with the emphasis being focused on the lower and middle bouldering grades however to encourage development of grades which the majority of visitors will be climbing at.

There are also plans for a weights / training area and a shop in the next few months. However the facilities are a lot better than other local facilities as it stands, with a separate children’s climbing area, and a nice chill out area separate from the climbs themselves. I will be taking my daughter there this weekend, so I will be adding some comments about this area then.

The space available means that although there was a good few people in there, you never really had to wait for a route, except if you were trying the Red roof route on the left hand side, which had gained a crowd of 5 or 6 people (including my climbing partner who climbs 2-3 grades above me) all wanting to work the move onto vertical element of the climb, it took about an hour, but it was eventually done, although nobody had the energy after that to finish it.

A great friendly competitive, but chilled atmosphere developed between everybody, which is something you don’t see as much when there is more competition for the space, and can only help the centre develop, as you don’t just climb for climbings sake, but for the enjoyment and being among like minded people.

At the lower grades I climb of V2-V4, there is a lot of variety of types of routes, with some great small hold balances to reachy dyno’s and laybacks, and I must have done 20-30 routes by the end, a lot more than I would normally do. The only thing stopping me carrying on was the total removal of any skin from my fingers from the new(ish) holds. I was left at the end with a couple of projects for next time I go, and thats always a good thing.

It can get warm towards the back of the climbing area, but when the second phase is completed, it will go right to the back doors of the building and allow a better air flow through the whole climbing area.

However its also very good value, with a £6.50 entry fee for members (£3.50 membership), and thats less than its nearest competitor Leeds wall if you want a pure bouldering session, the only local wall cheaper than this is Huddersfield at £5.10 as far as I know.

The only slightly selfish thing that could improve it, would be if it was 20 minutes closer to Bradford where I work, when daily lunchtime training would become practical, but that’s nit picking on my part.