Call for indoor rock climbing

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Dunedin would “benefit enormously” from an indoor rock climbing facility, a Dunedin rock climber says.

New Zealand Alpine Club Otago branch chairman Jaz Morris said that while there was an indoor bouldering facility – Room 14 Bouldering – and some schools that had climbing walls, Dunedin lacked a full-scale indoor climbing that was open to the public.

“As much as Room 14 is excellent [for bouldering] and Dunedin has excellent outdoor climbing opportunities, we are a bit left behind by the other centres.”

There were heaps of people interested in outdoor rock climbing, which suggested there would be plenty of demand for indoor climbing, he said.

Due to the weather and shorter daylight hours, people do not climb as much in winter.

The club had recently obtained the holds from the climbing wall at World Fitness Centre and would be happy to discuss how they could be put to good use, he said.

“The Dunedin rock climbing scene would benefit enormously from any expansion at all, in particular a full-sized climbing gym.”

Andy Cunningham, who developed plans for an indoor climbing facility at Moana Pool in 2012, said there was definitely enough demand for another indoor wall but there needed to be a group of dedicated people behind it.

“The problem with a climbing wall is that it’s quite hard to make a lot of money out of.

“You have a big capital spend up front because they’re incredibly expensive to construct and then you’ve got to get lots of people into the building in order to make it pay its way.”

Mr Cunningham said the proposed facility did not go ahead in 2012 because the Dunedin City Council (DCC) was in too much debt, but was told it could be readdressed in a few years.

“One of the problems we have is that climbers are rich in passion and short on cash.”

While Mr Cunningham had moved on to other projects and no longer climbs, he would happily pass on any information to anyone who wanted to work on it again.

A DCC spokeswoman said the council was open to considering new recreational proposals, such as climbing walls.

“We suggest the proposal is put forward for consideration as part of the upcoming Long Term Plan.”