Below you will find information on what has changed to keep everyone as safe as possible. Most of this can be found on our social media but here you can find pretty much everything as it stands now, so you know what to expect when you come back for a climb with us again.
Getting Ready / When Will We Open?
At the time of writing we do not know the exact date we will be allowed to reopen. However we are doing a lot to prepare the centre physically (social distance markers, etc) and changing our processes to help keep everyone safe but also make sure you can have a great session.
All memberships will revert to normal on 27th July. If you have maintained your membership at a lower (or higher!) rate while we’ve been closed, this will return to your standard membership dues from 1st August.
If you would like to do something different with your membership, you can request this online. Please put your request in as soon as possible, so we have time to process this before the 1st August.
A big issue with the old way of doing things was that we never had any idea how many people would come on any given day. This was not really an issue in the past as we rarely got to a stage where we hit our absolute capacity. But now each centre will have a max capacity much lower than what it used to be (we will start with around 80 people and see how it goes from there).
It would be very annoying to turn up to the wall only to find that we are full and you have to wait outside in the rain for someone else to leave.
So we have set up an online slot booking system. That way you can find the space that works for you. Turn up at that time and you will know that you have 2hrs to climb. Most slots will be for 2.5hrs but will include arrival, checking in, your session and leaving.
Members (monthly subscription or pre-paid) will be able to book a week in advance.
All other payment methods (PAYG, Punch Card, MoveGB) will be able to book 48hrs in advance.
The cafes will be open and we are looking at ways we accommodate our members in the cafe outside of the climbing slot.
In Redpoint a few of the lead routes share the same lower off. Or the lines are pinched closer together at the top than the bottom. So we will be stripping a couple of these lines to make sure you don’t start up a line socially distanced but then suddenly find someone lowering down on top of you. We’ll also strip some of the corner lines so that there is plenty of space for belaying.
We are also going to do a little transformation of the Taunton Leisure Boulder (the one next to the cave). We will be turning this into a circuit board, rather than straight up boulders, and we will be stripping the slab to give more standing around space. This is an experiment really, something we have been toying with for a while so now seems like a good time to try it out.
Other than that it will be business as usual with regular setting from our incredible setting team. Chomping at the bit to create some masterpieces after 3 months climbing around their kitchens.
Liquid Chalk & Hand Sanitiser
We have been working closely with @massifclimbing to create a liquid chalk / hand sanitiser solution.
On a busy day in winter you will have seen that the chalk in the air can get a bit out of hand. We have been looking for a solution and already had plans to provide liquid chalk dispensers around the centres. We hope this will help and this will be free or we would accept a donation.
During lockdown we’ve been talking a lot with Tad from Massif about the possibility of liquid chalk acting as a hand sanitiser. Unfortunately the short answer is that liquid chalk is not recognised as a hand sanitiser. The WHO has very specific requirements and ingredients for hand sanitiser. The alcohol content alone does not make it work. It may well do the job but it also may well not.
Most hand sanitisers have a lot of “gel” in them to make your hands feel moisturised after using them. Not exactly what you want before you climb. So Massif have created us a customised hand sanitiser with the minimum gel allowable, we will have this for use next to the liquid chalk stations. So you sanitise your hands, then use the Liquid Chalk, then crush. The result is actually really impressive. It’s the best liquid chalk we’ve ever used!
You will be allowed to use loose chalk as well, if you feel you need to, but we will be encouraging you to use as little as possible to help us keep the place clean and the air quality high.
Opening Times & Staff Bubbles
A big risk to the business going forward is the “track and trace” system. Although we are super happy for the system to be in place as soon as possible it means we have to be careful about staff getting too close to each other for long periods of time. So we are putting receptionists into “bubbles” that work together. That way if one has to isolate we don’t have to isolate the whole team and shut.
What that means is we would like just one team to work for the whole day. But we used to be open from early to late every day. Which is a bit much to ask the team to be in for such a long shift. So we are looking initially to reduce our opening hours. This will be confirmed closer to opening but we will open around mid-day and close around 9.30pm on weekdays. We should be open normal…ish hours on weekends.
We are sorry to make this change for weekdays and as soon as we can we’ll go back to normal opening hours.
Before opening back up we are doing a big spring clean. It’s such a great opportunity to do it when no-one is around, and it’ll be nice for the place to feel fresh. Hoovering under the boulder matting carpets is top of the agenda to help with the air quality along with a general wipe down of ALL the surfaces.
During the day we will be actively cleaning more than we used to in certain areas like the changing rooms and lockers.
The gym will be open but we will encourage you to sanitise your hands before you go in. And there will be some cleaning equipment in there (spray, etc) so you can clean the mats or bars if you wish. The fingerboards we’d rather you did not spray but we definitely want you to sanitise your fingers before using them.
We cannot guarantee that everything you touch in the centre will be perfectly clean. We cannot clean the holds between every use for example, so can’t keep the centre to the standard of a hospital or a clinical setting. But we can give you the best opportunity to keep your hands clean, by providing hand sanitiser and soap, and ensure the capacity is low enough that you can keep some distance from your friends and fellow climbers.
One Way Systems
As you will probably know you are going to have to book a slot to come climbing. It’s a real shame, it was such a joy to just fly over to the wall on a whim and hang around for the whole evening. It’ll come back but for now this is the world we live in.
In order for us to manage the groups we will be operating a one-way system through the centres. This is mainly so that when the last group are leaving and the next group are arriving they do not have to barge past each other. We are setting up some of our fire doors as the new exits to help with this.
There will be signs around the centre, and staff will guide you but please be aware and help us to keep this system working.
The One Way System will change / stop after the last customers have arrived. When there is no more queue we will allow those that have already climbed to come back through reception and go to the cafe / bar if they wish. There will be limited capacity in line with government guidelines but won’t it be great to have a post climb pint again!
When we first open we want as calm an environment as possible. While many of you may be used to bringing your children to the wall, and your kids understand the climbing wall environment and social distancing, we do find that children disproportionately take up Duty Managers time when they are not supervised to the high standard we require.
So to relieve the pressure on the team for the first week or two we will only be open to adult unsupervised climbers. The team are having to learn a whole new way of working and we want to make sure we nail it. Under 18s that are signed off to climb unsupervised are exempt from this rule.
We will open back up to supervised children as soon as we are comfortable that the system we have is bedded in. You will be able to book this via the new booking system. Initially there will only be a couple of slots per day that we will allow children in (first sessions of the day) so make sure you book it up as soon as you can.
We will also immediately start to work out how much instruction we can do and how to do it safely. Redpoint’s Crazy Climb is being fitted with a self clipping system and we hope to provide 1:1 (or single household) sessions very soon.
Face Masks / Coverings
So you don’t have to wear one, but we would encourage you to do so while you’re wandering around the centre (not so much when you’re climbing). Our staff will wear them at different times, like if they are in face to face communication with a customer or other staff, or if they are cleaning.
In some walls in Europe everyone must wear a mask unless they are actively climbing. And we may change the rules depending on government advice, guidance or regulations. But we will all have to remember that just wearing a mask does not protect us. Keeping your distance and good hygiene are the best methods to keep you and everyone else safe.