Friday, January 13th, 2017 - Posted by Danie
There are changes a foot at Guildford this year starting with conversion of the ‘icebox’ to the ‘ABZone’, not just a name change, AB stands for Auto Belay – with 6 new TruBlue auto belay stations ready to install, the area is destined to become a mecca for endurance training and a new party venue for, well anyone who wants a party!
We will be painting this area to mimic the artists impression below, fitting a new range of volume (shapes) and adding new climbing holds throughout, creating a whole new exciting area of climbing.
For members – you’ll get a new area for endurance training or just the ability to climb on your own on a full range of graded routes. This is in response to our members suggestions highlighting a need for more activities when arriving alone, either when waiting for a climbing partner to arrive or for a complete session and by grouping all the auto belays in there own zone we’re hoping it will become an area where people will hook up with other climbers looking for a belay.
For parties – we will now have a bookable party zone, where people can book the area for upto 12 kids (or adults) without the need for ropes training at the beginning of the session. You’ll be able to just clip on to the auto belay and off you go – which means you’ll get a lot more climbing done in your party.
We are looking to have the ABZone ready for use in the 2nd week of Feb. This means the area will be closed off for the week beginning 30th Jan.
Other developments are in the pipeline too so watch this space!
Monday, September 26th, 2016 - Posted by Danie
Centre Manager Marv and his team of Duty Managers have been working hard to create these beautiful new volumes for us over the past few weeks!
We’re absolutely delighted with them and I’m sure you will be too when you get to climb on them.
We don’t like to waste things here at Craggy and these volumes have been made from some of the old panels that were removed when the centre was re-vamped last Summer. Makes us feel good to have recycled the old walls into lovely new ones again!
They’ll be featured on the new Comp Wall set which is happening this week at Guildford.
Wednesday, July 6th, 2016 - Posted by Danie
We caught up with Gareth so you can find out a bit more about him and what his plans are for the centre:
So Gareth, how does it feel to be the new Centre Manager at Craggy Sutton?
It feels awesome. The past couple of months have been a baptism of fire, getting to know the crew and understanding the centre and the business as a whole. But I can honestly say I am relishing the challenge of this long term project that is Craggy Sutton.
My short term plans are to put things in place to enable us to build the long term vision I have for this centre and Craggy Island as a whole. The team have been decorating, brightening up the centre and making it more inviting for members and visitors – we have new tunes on the sound system and Yorkshire tea in the cafe!
And what about longer-term?
My longer term view is to make Craggy Sutton a hub for the community. The centre can mean so many different things to different people. But the one common thing we all have is our joy and passion for climbing. There has already been a few changes to the centre, I see these changes as laying the foundations for the BIG ideas I have for the centre as a whole. So watch this space!
Before taking on the role as Centre Manager, I was working for Snow and Rock in the Buying and Merchandising team. I have quite a broad experience in my working life, having worked in the retail, public and the private sector. Also, being self-employed in the health and fitness industry.
How did you get in to climbing?
Well, before climbing I was a keen skateboarder and generally into sports. But I had a horrific injury which basically tore my left knee apart. I couldn’t do any sports, so my eldest brother took me climbing. We regularly traveled up to Stanage and also frequented different indoor walls. I took a break from climbing due to work commitments and having a family, but then the climbing bug gripped me again and I’ve not looked back since.
For me, I love the process you go through that enables you to progress through your climbing. From sequencing the movements to teaching yourself different ways to approach and combat the problem you’re faced with. It’s a humbling process, and I can’t think of a better activity to fully immerse yourself into. The social side of climbing is also great, meeting people from all walks of life, brought together by the love of climbing and the outdoors. Climbing is hard, but that’s why I do it and keep coming back for more. I’m an advocate for good technique, I’d rather dial a movement or get the technique right. My goals, the goal is the same in whatever I do, just to get better in all that I
do… and have fun.
Anything else you want to tell us?
Come to Craggy Sutton for a warm welcome a friendly team and top notch bouldering and a mug of the finest Yorkshire Tea!
Wednesday, December 16th, 2015 - Posted by Danie
An outbreak of tufa madness at Craggy Island!
Our route setters are busy creating a host of new adventure climbs ready for the Christmas Holidays and the New Year.
In response to the popularity of the long diagonal climb across the front of the comp wall, Mark and Howard are creating something similar but completely different on the back of the new cave wall.
This climb will ask you to traverse across the entire section of wall between the tufas and will be a mid grade adventure experience and will be open tonight.
Friday, December 4th, 2015 - Posted by Danie
Over the last year Craggy Island have been renewing the Guildford centre, which has now been brought up to date with new lead and top rope walls, 2 new bouldering areas, a new traverse wall and now a training mezzanine featuring a Moon Board.
Actually the process started 2 years ago when we built the stack and the new walls at the back of the centre using EP’s Mozaik wall system. This system designed on computer allows you to realise shapes and structures that would otherwise be extremely difficult to construct. Once designed it is then precisely cut by machines and then can be quickly installed on site like a massive 3d jigsaw. The success of these new walls has been their continuing popularity with our climbers as their near seamless shapes and angles are perfect for route setting and, being flat panels, are very suitable for alteration with the use of volumes and the wide range of climbing holds that are now available.
So successful were the new areas that we had a good look at the rest of the wall and decided that it was time to change other areas too. Starting with the bouldering wall, we found that we could push this back all round and improve the space by approx 15%. Mark Croxall then got involved with the design to the point that he made a 3d model from card and drove it up to the EP offices in Yorkshire. Then, with the engineers at EP, we discussed the idea of adapting Mozaik so that the joins became truly seamless without the bevel edges so useful as crimps and toe holds for all you hardcore climbers out there.
We then redesigned the arch to be a cave on one side and a semi steep wall on the other – effectively doubling the amount of overhanging lead climbing available. Another part of the wall that was missing was a steep slab; the ideal spot for this was opposite the woody and the opportunity to replace the unpopular profile section was irresistible. This opened up the woody corner for redevelopment. We had loads of climbing but could do with some more bouldering especially as the new bouldering wall was mostly steep. The perfect spot for some easier boulders and a mezzanine above would offer a great space for a proper Moon Board and training area.
The build did not go as smoothly as was ideal and the problems we had with the spiral stairs and their installation will go down in Craggy legends! However, all’s well that ends well and now all the planned improvements in the climbing arena are complete and replete with thousands of new holds and hundreds of climbs.
We’d like to thank all our customers for their loyalty and patience during what became a prolonged build period and hope you enjoy these fantastic new walls for many years to come!
One last bit of disruption however will be a temporary reception set up downstairs from 7th – 19th of December while we fit a brand new reception. During this period the Rock On shop will still be operating as normal with access from the stairs on the climbing wall side.
Friday, November 20th, 2015 - Posted by Danie
This does, however, mean that we will be closed at Sutton until 3pm that day.
The centre will be fully open with 25 brand new black and yellow problems for you to get stuck into after 3pm.
Monday, October 19th, 2015 - Posted by Danie
Today, he’s been busily setting lines 60, 61 and 62 with a variety of routes from approximately 4+ to 7a. The routes will be set and tested by about 7pm this evening so head on down to be amongst the first to get on them!
If you’d like to know a bit more about Mark, his setting and how we go about delivering great routes here at Craggy, please read this interview with him here.
Tomorrow and Wednesday we’ll be setting the Boulder Wall and then Thursday and Friday Mark will continue on the roped walls to set lines 52, 53, 54, 55, 56, 57, 58 & 59.
We hope you enjoy all the new routes! :o)
Thursday, October 8th, 2015 - Posted by Danie
We caught up with Craggy Route Setting Manager, Mark Croxall, to find out a bit more about him, his style and what he feels is great about the climbing here at Craggy.
How did you get in to route setting? At the time I started climbing, it was something that everyone had to do at indoor walls as setting for bouldering wasn’t something that was “done”. Holds were put on to the wall and then you created problems with friends that you’d all try to climb. During my time on the GB Bouldering Team I was given the opportunity by Craggy Island to set routes and boulders at Guildford, back in the early days, as a way to earn some extra money to fund my attendance at World Cup competitions. When I stopped competing Internationally in 2011 I was able to make setting my main focus, working at both Craggy Guildford and Craggy Sutton.
What inspires you when setting a route? Trying to re-create the flow that you find on the perfect route or boulder problem outside; when you never have to force a move – one move just leads into the next.
Do you have a favourite angle to set on? From a background mostly in bouldering, I do generally prefer a steeper, more powerful style of climbing. Although, you can’t beat a good balancy slab problem where you find yourself wondering how you’re managing to stay on!
What about hold types? I think most Craggy regulars would spot a clear preference for slopey holds as opposed to crimpy ones. This goes back to enjoying movement where body position and technique make success achievable rather than just pulling really hard!
Do you have a plan when you’re stood at the bottom of the wall about to set a climb? I usually start by adding volumes to the wall to vary the terrain on which to set the climb. The position of the volumes will usually give me the inspiration to set a particular move or sequence of moves through them and then the route can be built around this.
Do you know what the grade will be when you’re setting the route? At Guildford I set 3 to 4 routes per line and try to get an easy, a medium and a hard grade, relatively speaking, on each line. On the Comp Wall this will range from 5c to 8a and on a standard top-rope wall this will range from 4 to 7a with the majority of climbs in the centre being mid 5 to mid 6 in difficulty.
How do you know what grade a route is when you test it? I test all of the routes personally as well as getting a second or third opinion from staff members or customers. The grades are based on my 20+ years experience as a climber and discussions with customers operating closer to that difficulty of route.
Can you ever be 100% certain of the grade? Grading will always be a contentious subject because people are different sizes and have different strengths and weaknesses. People prefer different rock types outside due to their skill set. Likewise, indoor routes vary in style meaning that a climb more suited to you will feel easier than something that you feel uncomfortable on. So, going back to the question, grading is massively subjective but the benefit of having me grade everything means that the grade of every route in the centre will at least be consistent.
Why do the grades at Craggy seem tough compared to other centres? Certain outdoor venues are renowned for tough or soft grades depending on the level of the climbers that developed the crag. My experience of sport grades is largely based on Peak limestone which is short and powerful in nature. My bouldering grades are largely based on Fontainebleau which is also thought of as being hard, especially on the vertical and slabby climbs. As an example; the Craggy Guildford Comp Wall, being 10 metres, will require much harder moves to achieve the same grade as a wall 3 times it’s height. For instance, if we tripled the length of the wall, a 5c would become a 6a+, roughly speaking.
Friday, October 2nd, 2015 - Posted by Danie
This has been to replace some areas that have become worn, due to 10 years of constant climbing activity and to put in new features that we believe will greatly increase the enjoyment for everyone climbing here.
Included in this are a completely new bouldering wall under the cafe mezzanine (same location as currently), designed by Mark Croxall and engineered by EntrePrises. This is a very exciting upgrade to what we had before and is entirely constructed from ply panels with brand new crash matting throughout.
Replacement of the arch – this is constructed from ply panels and offers a new cave-style roof to climb through; all overhanging and all lead climbing which effectively extends the comp wall.
On the back side of the old arch – this has been replaced with a constant angle, slightly overhanging wall. It’s 4 lines wide offering the route setters the chance to vary routes set with the use of volumes – a blank canvas every set.
Replacement of the profile tower (that was the wibbly overhang opposite the woody) – with a steep slab! Ideal for setting technical slabby problems unencumbered by the need to set easier routes on huge jugs on the same lines. This is something we have never had at Craggy and is a great new asset for all you slab enthusiasts!
Still to complete – Training Area – you’ve been asking for it! A new wide campus board, a Moon board, rings and all the other things for “beasting” yourself with. As if Craggy climbers weren’t strong enough!?
And… Last but not least – a brand new bouldering wall where the woody used to be. It’ll be set mostly for new or young boulderers on less steep angles. A place to cut your bouldering teeth away from the crowds on the main boulder wall.
With all this new wall space we have also added a large consignment of new holds and volumes, increasing the lead lines and generally improving the climbing.
Once all that’s completed… We’ll get cracking on refurbs in Reception and the Cafe too – due to start in November!
Tuesday, February 10th, 2015 - Posted by Cliff Hanger
On Saturday 7th Feb 2015 we hosted LUBE here at Craggy 2, the event was a great success and showcase of the bouldering talent in the London Universities. All competition routes were set by Mark Croxall, Simon Chevis and Danie Rushmer and were greatly appreciated by the events organisers and competitors alike. The good news is all the boulder problems set are still up throughout the centre for our members and customers to have a go at.
Here are some photos from the day….