What does the future of climbing look like?
For anyone that doesn’t know, I have been training the Australian Youth team in Munich for the past week. Whilst I was there, I had the pleasure of visiting a number of climbing gyms. Whilst I was there, I saw the future…… It looks like European bouldering gyms. Walltopia, Boulderwelt, Stuntwerk. Climbing expresses itself as part art form, part 3D puzzle. Climbing through volumes becomes more a question of body position and co-ordination than just brute strength.
Run and jumps are a major
player in the new wave of climbing, where you are required to
co-ordinate multiple movements in a single moment..
This new wave of indoor climbing style seems to have evolved from the IFSC world cup competitions, where competitors are so strong that if a hold has any edge on it, most of them can crank out a 1 arm chin up, so setters had to be a bit more inventive to split the crowd.
On my trip to Europe with the Australian Youth team, I managed to visit one gym in Munich called Boulderwelt Ost (East Boulderwelt). The facility was spectacular, with 2 world cup style walls, with world cup style boulder problems. Add to this the most impressive collection of climbing holds you have ever seen and you are beginning to get the idea…
These kind of super gyms have not really made an appearance in Australia yet. At least not of this size, with this kind of hold selection. But what is more important is the style of setting. These co-ordinated moves, thoughtful sequences and tension exploding compressions, just don’t get set. 9 degrees has apparently made quite the impact, as well as Northside boulders, but for years this has just not happened.
And we need it!
Our world cup climbers need it. I mean, we all know how to get strong. There is enough info on the web that we can all train like Sean McColl or Jan Hojer, but what we are missing is the art of the movement, and for this, we need the setters and the holds….. More and more competitors are faced with giant fibreglass masses, without a crimp in sight, and to scale this type of problem, you need to execute each move perfectly…..
I have so much inspiration and so many ideas for when I return…. the next time you venture into the gym, you just might see giant fibre glass bubbles, without a crimp in sight……