Cardiff, Wales, UK - 29th November 2011 - This weekend Boulders indoor climbing centre in Cardiff was lucky enough to have local climbing legend Andy Sharp travel down to celebrate the opening of its' new bouldering cave by cutting the ribbon... with a saw!
Left & centre: Boulders joint founders Ollie Noakes and Rob Lawrence with Andy Sharp.
Right: Climbers getting stuck-in to be the first to try out the cave.
Photos by Andrew Shankie.
It had always been spoken about in hushed tones, but over the past month to smell of burnt wood and Polish expletives, the beast became a reality. The monstrous beast of a flat-roofed cave stretches almost 5m by 5m and is probably one of the best facilities for those wishing to train specifically for horizontal climbing in the UK. The main part of the roof has been designed to be just over adult head height and sits 2m above the mats - perfect for making sure you avoid foot dabs when cutting loose. On the lip of the cave, one side pulls round into a 35 degree overhang and the other side into a flat wall, giving a massive 9m potential straight line route length. The back wall of the cave is split into two further mini caves and a couple of smaller features exist to give the roof character.
Ollie Noakes, joint founder and operations director of Boulders, who oversaw the construction of the cave commented: "For the main part the roof is vast, open, flat plywood, which is great for volume placing opportunities - meaning that what could be a gnarly off-width this month, will become a finger shredding, horizontal splitter crack next month. Those with decent core strength need only apply; otherwise prepare to spend your sessions getting spat off!"
Not only was this weekend a chance to showcase the cave and discover first-hand the length of the routes, it was also a great opportunity to catch up with Andy. Over a coffee, he retold stories of putting up routes of grades that most of us can only dream of. Numerous routes in the 8s dotted around the South West belong to Andy and were put up at a time when anything in the 8s was pretty much the limit of human endeavours in climbing. We did however, manage to bring Andy back into the realms of mortality and got some great beta on Mick's Little Viper (VS) in Trebanog, one of his favourite routes in South Wales:
"One of the best medium graded traditional routes on sandstone, good rock and gear make this a must for those interested in the traditional art! South Wales is synonymous with sheep for some reason and whilst soloing the Viper some years ago, I was quite surprised to see two of them (sheep) jump over the top of the route that were closely followed by a rather large dog. On landing the sheep just got up, had a quick shake and walked away. The dog, however, lay at the bottom for some time before limping off into the nearby estate!"
To find out more about the bouldering at Boulders see http://www.bouldersclimbingcentre.co.uk/home.
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