Biggest indoor climbing centre of its kind in the world is opening soon
- Credit: BAREFOOT&GILLES
Clip’n Climb has 215 centres around the world, from Brazil to Oman - and it’s about to open its biggest one ever in Ipswich.
The mammoth 13,500 sq ft climbing venue will also be the first of its 53 centres in the UK that Clip’n Climb has ever build from scratch.
“The new Ipswich Clip’n Climb will be the biggest one in the world - it will boast 42 challenges,” explained the centre’s director, Mark Patterson. “It will also be the highest Clip’n Climb in Europe, and have the highest wall and dropslide in Europe.
“As well as climbing equipment, there will be a virtual reality room and a big cafeteria. We are really excited about it, and can’t wait to open.”
The Clip’n Climb company started in New Zealand in 1995 and has really taken off in the last two to three years, as the sport of climbing gains momentum.
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“Indoor climbing has become really popular in the UK because of the spotlight on healthy living and the move away from screentime activities for kids,” explained Mr Patterson.
Climbing is one of four new sports to make its Olympic debut at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, which Mr Patterson believes will help to raise its profile even further.
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The company is currently embarking on a massive expansion programme, with plans to open 1,000 facilities worldwide by the end of 2022.
When it is opened, visitors to the Ipswich Clip’n Climb will be able to catch hold of a trapeze with the Leap of Faith attraction, while there will be a range of climbing walls for thrill-seekers of all ages.
In the coming months, the Ipswich centre will introduce new features including a new cutting-edge software application and scoring system, which will allow people across the world to compete with other Clip ‘n Climb climbers – no matter what their location is.
The Clip’n Climb is being built on a former field at The Havens, Ransomes Europark, and internal work began on the structure in September. “Building it from the ground upwards made the project much more costly,” Mr Patterson admitted. “The car parks should be finished by next Friday. By March 29, we’ll be busy with the finishing touches on cafe and dining areas - We want it to be great when we open to the public,” Mr Patterson said. “We are now on schedule for a May opening.”
The new centre in Ipswich won’t be Clip’n Climb’s first in the region, as it also runs a much smaller climbing facility in Cambridge and one in Chelmsford.
It also won’t be Ipswich’s only indoor climbing centre, as just down the road at Ransomes Europark, on Bermuda Road, Avid Indoor Climbing opened a 7,000sq ft facility in October that features 500 metres of walls that reach 4.5 metres in height, and 250 different bouldering routes.
But Mr Patterson claims that his Clip’n Climb will be a different sort of offering.
“Avid is a bouldering centre with more non-rope climbing so it is for proper climbers - our walls are ten metres high, but with auto belay technology to lower you down from the top of the wall, it can be easily used by anybody.”