Wooden Woes

There is nothing quite as sweet as a training session on a good board. Dropping your chalkbag in your usual spot, firing up your best tunes, running through your usual warm ups that felt like projects three months ago. Nothing quite as good as pulling through moves and your feet staying on, the tension running through you. Nothing quite as inspiring as working your way through the book of problems, ticking the test pieces - seeing your name next to those who have gone before. 

I miss that feeling a lot. 

The problem in NYC is there is no real hardcore training venue. The walls are designed around people using them for fitness, not for those who spend every waking hour thinking about their projects on rock. The city has a great collection of hardcore climbers, scattered across walls who barely cater for their needs. Its here that I think many of the gyms are missing a trick, sure getting numbers through the door should be a top priority and helping them see quick progress through the initial grades key to them continuing, but what then? Building your climbing gym business around the masses and neglecting the higher end misses the point of why many people climb - to do the impossible, to try and eventually do something they thought they never could. 

To be inspired. 

I remember when I first started climbing at the gym in Nottingham, I saw the strong guys climbing in the woodie room and it drove me to be strong enough to climb in there, forced me to progress. I worked my way through the test pieces and I'm sure some other kid saw us down there and was inspired to follow suit. There is a huge opportunity for a gym in NYC to take the same route and become the elite venue for the cities strong climbers - it would ultimately only help their business. I've reached out to my local venue to see if they can re-use some of the space for a better set up and build a Moon Board and a woodie. 

I think the first two comments on this video of Alex Megos at the legendary school room say it all - 'I watch this at least once a day' and just simply 'motivation'

I can only hope we can get some of that here soon.



Neal Mann

New York City