Sheffield’s newest climbing wall sees its first action this weekend - but the public will have to wait a little longer to get to grips with it.
Britain’s best climbers will battle it out on Saturday and Sunday at Awesome Walls, a converted industrial unit in Garter Street, Grimesthorpe, which is the first climbing wall in England and Wales to be designated as a National Performance Centre.
Official opening day for the public is the following weekend, Saturday October 12, from 10am to 8pm, when there will be free sessions for all abilities.
The development will add to Sheffield’s reputation as the climbing capital of England, both for the indoor facilities and the Peak District.
Sheffield Awesome Walls - the fifth in a chain - is described as having the highest and steepest indoor wall in England. The competition area also includes a ‘speed wall’. The British Mountaineering Council describes it as “a tremendous new facility for national competitions and top-end training”.
The junior and vets categories of the British Lead Climbing Championships will be held on Saturday and the seniors on Sunday. The British Speed Climbing Championships will run on Sunday.
Awesome Walls will also offer climbing courses, taster sessions and children’s parties.
Director Dave Douglas said: “To be able to build a climbing centre that addresses the requirements of the BMC’s National Performance Centre was no easy task.” He was told to look at walls in Europe that host contests by the International Federation of Sport Climbing, which were massive and built by local government, unlike the Sheffield venture.
“From the outset there was no guarantee that I would be given the title, but I knew that I had to give it my best shot and create a climbing centre that would not only tick all the boxes but more importantly stand the test of time for all climbers.”