Coronavirus has changed the way we think about climbing and climbing facilities. Nowadays, meeting a new climbing partner, or even coordinating with an existing one, is more difficult than ever. Often a climber’s only option is to come in during a slow time or climb by themselves. Take @carolinetiedye, for example:
Gym staff look at equipment, route setting and climbing lanes differently too. It’s no longer just about what’s the latest and greatest, but what can be cleaned easily and efficiently. Instead of cramming routes on routes and reserving certain areas or equipment for easier climbs, we’ve been challenged to rethink norms.
While these changes may not last forever, the climbing industry, much like the rest of the world, won’t be the same again. Thankfully, auto belays can help climbing gyms adapt to shifts in climber expectations, facility operations and revenue flow. Below are three stories of how TRUBLUE Auto Belays have helped climbing gyms around the world survive during these unprecedented times.
A SPEEDIER RE-OPENING FOR RISE FITNESS AND ADVENTURE
"In a typical climbing environment hands are all over the ropes as you're belaying someone. That's not the case with the auto belays."
Rise Fitness and Adventure is an auto belay, bouldering and fitness gym in Delaware. Unlike a traditional climbing gym, they only have TRUBLUE Auto Belays and no ropes. While owner Ryan Peters originally made the call to be an auto belay focused facility as a way to increase the accessibility of climbing for his members, auto belays were central to their re-opening discussions with the state. He argued that auto belays not only allow people to climb by themselves and therefore enable social distancing, but that they are easier to clean than normal top rope set ups because not more than the first few feet of webbing are ever touched. Had this argument not been successful (and thankfully it was), Ryan believes the state would have significantly delayed the re-opening of the gym.
SHARMA CLIMBING BCN USES AUTO BELAYS FOR DISTANCING
"Another thing that’s really helped are the inclusion of auto belays at our gym. I had no idea that TRUBLUEs would be a tool for distancing in our gym. With the unique circumstances we’re in, we’ve been able to use TRUBLUEs to do just that."
When most of us think about the early days of the pandemic, we remember Spain being hit particularly hard. Located in Barcelona, a city on the coast of northeastern Spain, Sharma Climbing BCN was no stranger to shutdowns. After having to close their doors for several months, when the climbing gym finally reopened they took a lot of the standard precautions: signage, handwashing and reservations. In addition to this, they use TRUBLUEs as a tool for social distancing and to ensure more people can climb when their partner is unable to get a reservation. As shutdowns continue to loom over us, Sharma Climbing BCN is thankful to have auto belays on hand and ready to help people keep climbing.
NEW PERSPECTIVES AT VERTICAL VENTURES
"It's been really cool because it's prompted a lot of our boulderers and those who don't have partners to start climbing taller walls."
When COVID restrictions hit Vertical Ventures, a climbing gym in St. Petersburg, Florida, they decided to replace all their top ropes and lead climbs with TRUBLUE Auto Belays. This had more than a few unexpected positive consequences. Beginner climbers and boulderers could explore new terrain, while experienced climbers could lap harder routes on taller, more featured walls. The reaction was overwhelmingly positive, and now the gym has a new outlook on auto belays. Plus, the additional auto belays meant Vertical Ventures could accommodate more solo climbers during non-peak hours, thereby increasing their opportunities to generate revenue and ultimately to stay open.
While everyone is hoping for a return to normal soon, no one knows exactly when this new normal will arrive, or what exactly it will look like. As we all try and navigate these turbulent times, one thing will remain constant: TRUBLUE Auto Belays can benefit your climbing facility — they can help keep your climbing gym open; they can help your climbers socially distance; they can help reduce your cleaning; they can help your members climb without a partner; they can help you book more reservations during non-peak hours.
When you’re ready, we’re here to help.
Options for Getting Auto Belays on Your Walls
With options to rent-to-own or enroll in our standard monthly rental program for as little as $99.95/month, you'll enjoy the lowest upfront costs in the industry for getting auto belays on your climbing wall. Explore rentals.
New to auto belays and want to take them for a test drive before buying? Connect with a member of our team to see if the demo program is a good fit for your facility.