Reputedly the largest indoor climbing gym in Asia, Camp5 recently opened its door to climbing buffs. LEONG SIOK HUI checked out its state-of-the-art climbing walls.
IF you’re on the Damansara-Puchong Highway and passing 1 Utama Shopping Centre in Bandar Utama, look up to the top floor of thebuilding’s new wing. You’ll see the awesome spectacle of an imposing rock face through the floor-to-ceiling glass walls and tiny human “spiders” clinging to the walls.
Yes, after two years of planning, designing and sheer hard work, the Camp5 team presents, at last, their “work of art” – the largest indoor climbing gym in Asia.
This state-of-the-art facility, covering 1,350 sq m in floor area, sits on the fifth floor of the shopping centre in a 24m high glass structure with a 270° sweeping view of the highway, Taman Tun Dr Ismail and the Kiara hills. The gym is equipped with a climbing pro shop, café, showers and lockers.
The main attraction – the climbing walls – boast a climbing surface of more than 2,200 sq m with 250-plus climbing routes and more than 200 boulder routes. On a busy day, the gym can accommodate up to 300-plus climbers.
Split by a mezzanine level, the gym basically has six wall “sectors”. The 12m high by 10m wide Auto Wall has mostly top-roped routes of varying grades for beginners as well as advanced climbers. The wall also offers “auto belay,” a mechanical device that substitutes the role of the belayer – whose job it is to tighten the rope and secure the climber if he or she falls. So if you don’t have a climbing buddy, you can still climb.
One of the most impressive walls is the Trad Wall, a “trad” climbing wall with solid surface conditions for the placement of natural protection like cams, slings or chocks (no bolts allowed). Trad climbing is considered the purest form of climbing. And then there is The Cave, a boulder cave with 300 sq m of climbing surface that will keep the boulder freaks grinning from ear to ear.
But the most exciting and striking feature of the gym is the Moab’s Arch (still under construction). The freestanding structure is 22m high (equivalent to a six-storey house), 40m wide, and caters to everyone from the absolute novice to the professional. The Arch’s special features include an 11m overhang, chimneys and 800 sq m of climbing surface.
With its team of internationally-qualified instructors and trained supervisors, Camp5 will hold climbing clinics for kids, basic courses for adults and kids, and workshops where climbers can tap the experience of the world’s top climbing athletes. Camp5’s pro shop offers specialist climbing gear and apparel from leading manufacturers like Black Diamond, Rock Empire, Petzl, Montrail, Five Ten and Prana.
This is one “fitness” gym with an edge.
Visual aesthetics aside, Camp5’s walls just beckon you to touch them and clamber up on all fours. But in Malaysia, people tend to associate climbing with the word “extreme.”
“The majority of climbers, over 98%, see climbing as a safe, leisure activity. Perhaps only 3% really take it to the extreme, like the free soloists who climb without the protection of a rope,” said Jeremy Peet, Camp5’s operations director.
“Basically, a climbing gym takes climbing to your doorstep. It puts you in an outdoor environment indoor space, and gives you the mental and physical challenge.”
And no, you don’t have to be fit before you can climb.
“It’s just the opposite. You become fit from climbing,” chipped in Camp5’s managing director Patrick Andrey. “We try to tell people, ‘Look, forget about being fit first. Everybody, from the young, old to families, can just learn to have fun and enjoy what they are doing’.”
“Anyway, the secret to being fit is just to enjoy being active and that’s 90% of the motivation taken care of,” summed up Peet.
So, what are you waiting for? W
Camp5 EZ501, 5th Floor 1 Utama Shopping Centre Bandar Utama, Kuala Lumpur
A single entry pass costs RM22/16 (students). Kids under six are admitted free.
Shoes, harness, chalk bag and belay set are available for rent.
If you’re clueless about climbing and want to have a taste of it, join the “Try Climbing” class, a one-hour course priced at RM45 (gear and entry included).
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