Sunday, June 15, 2014

Fantasy Gym: Rock Hard

Hello, and welcome to another edition of Fantasy Gyms, the blog segment in which I kill downtime at work messing around with Sketchup present new and exciting ideas for theoretical gyms! Previous fantasy gyms have included The Rock Box and The Starwhal. Check them out if you haven't!

For today's project, I started with building dimensions, creating a 10 x 15 meter building with a maximum roof height of 8 meters. Despite the Fantasy Gyms tag, this gym was designed with realism in mind- this is the sort of thing that one person could reasonably build, in a building of a sort that can be found all over Hokkaido, where I live. One of these days I'll do something really wild.

In addition to keeping things to a reasonable level of feasibility, I tried to focus on a couple of other guidelines in the design:

  • The gym should provide an interesting variety of climbing surfaces and situations, obviously
  • The gym should include space to rest and relax while not climbing
  • The gym should lend itself to local competitions, which is to say that people should comfortably be able to watch the climbers. The two gyms I spend most of my time at are quite different in this regard, something I'll write a future blog post about
  • The gym should contain as many totally sweet posters as possible. I did a pretty good job here but I think there's room for improvement.

Presenting: Rock Hard!

Sited in a completely vacant grassy field (apparently), Rock Hard used to be a, uh, we'll say storehouse for chain-link fence. 

Welcome! Here you see the front desk, made from plywood. Everything is made from plywood, because I love plywood. It's what drew me to climbing in the first place! But you didn't come for the check-in desk, as beautiful as it may be- turn left and you'll see the climbing area!

Enter the climbing area. Let the scent of chalk and sweat embrace you like a warm and very athletic grandmother.

The In n' Out

On the north side of the building we have the first segment of climbing wall, the In n' Out. The In n' Out is based around the Out, a 40-degree overhang with a 45-degree slab top for mantle problems. I'm a big fan of these kinds of mantle areas, and include them in most of my designs. The right side of the Out begins as a much shallower 20 degree overhang before transitioning to the 40 degree. The left side is the In, a cave with a 10-degree back wall that transitions into a 75-degree near-horizontal roof. This section, too, includes a mantle out; the top section is a 20 degree slab, making for a difficult transition from the roof. The left side of the Out, as you can see, pushes into the cave for a steep arete. Topout height of this section is just over 3 meters, and the section is 7 and a half meters long.

Another view of the In n' Out

Moving to the left of the cave area is a short transition section of vertical wall:

This transitional segment consists of three vertical walls of around 1.25 meters in width each. The corners are wide angles- I tried to avoid just having 90-degree transitions between walls, and add more interesting transitions. The corner leads into the back wall, a wide and flat 15-degree overhang. It's 4.5 meters off the ground, which means falling from up here will be exciting.

The back wall meets with this big overhang-thing, which I don't have a clever name for. The Pain Train? The Tickler? The Big Overhang Cave Thing? Your guess is as good as mine. The bottom area is 85 degrees of full-time fun, transitioning into a 45 degree area and finally a vertical finishing area.

I kind of like the name "The Pulverizer"

The side of this feature is slightly more than vertical, transitioning into vertical. Lately I like these sorts of roof-into-flat transition areas; I think they offer a lot of interesting moves. Like the back wall, this thing is over 4 meters tall, which is certainly enough to make me wet myself.

Moving on from the... uh, the big thing... is the last segment of wall. The centerpiece here is a big projecting prow, 30 degrees steepening to 50 degrees and only a meter across at the top. The theme here is arete moves, possibly on two aretes at a time. I'd probably call it Mr. Hugs.

To the left is another 15-degree wall that cuts back into a large crevice before joining the prow. This crevice has an inner angle of less than 90 degrees, and provides a good area for stemming moves and the like. Not strictly necessary, but I liked putting it there better than transitioning straight into the prow. The left side is a flat wall, and probably the best area for beginners. A 15 degree slab finishes out the wall.

On to the non-climbing stuff! Past the slab we see the raised deck, which if you haven't noticed is something I really like putting in. Climbers love hanging out in high places, right?

This area is strictly for Chilling. Chilling is an important and underrated part of a well-balanced climbing schedule. Really garish sofas, too. Of course the deck provides a good vantage for watching competitions and climbing events, too, but the chilling is the main point.

Gosh, these girders are fascinating!

Finishing out a mantle problem on the In n' Out takes one up to the deck, as I think having room to actually top out and walk out is cool. There's a ladder available for those who are too lame to go up this way or who don't want to navigate a boulder problem while holding a six-pack of beer (losers).

Below the deck, of course, is the important stuff. Don't mix up which of these areas is which, please!

And that about covers it! Let me know if you have any feedback- would this be fun to climb on? Boring? Interesting? Unrealistic? I have no idea what I'm doing, obviously, but I like thinking up designs for climbing gyms and you can't stop me.

As a preview of our next stop, I'm going to turn this decommissioned Mr. Donuts-

-into a sweet-ass gym! Maybe! It might still smell like donuts though.

Until next time!

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