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General Climbing Discussion

VIC climbing/bouldering competitions

9:44:17 PM
I really enjoy competing in climbing comps and there aren't any booked in VIC on the SCA website and its now april with nothing to do!!!

What can we as frustrated competitive climbers do to help generate a comp in melbourne!

Now I am all for traditional outdoor climbing and dont want a debate on why we should be all climbing outdoor cause its pure and yadda yadda yadda........just want some good ideas to rev up the Vic indoor scene!


11:45:28 PM
On 4/04/2008 hardware wrote:
>What can we as frustrated competitive climbers do to help generate a comp
>in melbourne!
Build a new gym that actually bothers to hold competitions (not talking bouldering here).
Seems every hardrock and cliffhanger are less inclined to volunteer, and yes i realise its a pain in the ass to organise, with a loss of business etc etc etc. BUT what happened to all the positive vibes and promotion and everything that can come from a comp? Surely in the long run there would be a positive result for the host gym. SCA should get out the whip and start cracking, although i suspect they've been cracking for a long time with no result.
Look at the effort thats gone to in NSW and Queensland and then look here; Vic gyms are lazy on this front and i for one have pretty much given up hope.

Edit: to answer your question instead of ranting; I don't know what can be done. SCA is the only body that could have any influence, short of joining and doing it yourself, i dunno. The single biggest problem is no gyms are volunteering, solve that problem and the rest will happen.
I suppose one could try convincing Sue to organise something..... HA!
2:15:55 AM
Yes its true victorians are a lazy bunch. But really the SCA doesn't have any power over the climbing gyms, Its the owners themselves that are to lazy to organise mats and volunteers.In sydney we have two main setters that take care of setting most the climbs ( finals and the harder stuff 50pts and up.) The rest is done by gym staff (In there own time ins ome cases.) as they are more than happy to have people trying working and getting their problems.



I DID (And now the summit holds at least to comps a year.)

9:49:41 AM
Valid points there, SCA need to work with the gyms available to organize comps. Im sure the comps organizers could get volunteers if they asked.

Just been on Lactic website and Christian has launched a social boulder comp running over 20 weeks. All details are here

10:59:56 AM
James and Christian both have said things which are true. SCA has tried and tried cracking the whip
many times. And what Christian said - please don't blame SCA!

SCA hasn't forgotten about VIC, and are in the process of securing a new, motivated person to help
co-ordinate and negotiate with the gyms.

Hardrock and Cliffhanger aren't so excited about running comps, but they've had some time off now
and hopefully some new fresh ground can be gained to see VIC like it has been in the past, on equal
par with NSW.

Christian at Lactic does a great job with his series so make sure you get along to that. IT would be
nice to have a difficulty comp or two though! Want to extend your walls Christian??! ;)
big arms
3:25:00 PM
Trying to organise comps. in Vic is not an easy task. I should know, I WAS the sca rep for this state last year. Victorian climbers are a fractured group. This is not an entirely bad thing, as many great things get done away from the plastic. However I feel that the climbers who attend Gyms in Vic treat it as a training tool. Its a way to get strong and train hard for those difficult redpoints/onsights. To the greater majority, it's not climbing. There is no victory or sense of achievement. There has never been camp fire banter about the " Really hard red route on the AME wall".
For every one person who is interested in a comp, there is at least 20 who are not. And out of those who are interested, at least 50% of those grumble at the cost of the SCA fees. Yes it's costly, and yes it is necessary. I have been on the comp scene for many years. Not for me, but for my daughter Maddy. We have been all over Australia on a regular basis, New Zealand, and even Indonesia. It hurts financially but these are the things I do to support a sport Maddy was keen on. Unfortunately Maddy is no longer on the scene. No need for details.
Membership numbers attract sponsorship, and in turn provides the finance to pay the institutions that allow us to use their facilities as competition venues.
Comps cost. And not just money. Time is the major up hill battle no matter how much you plan in advance.
However, it is very rewarding if you have the inclination to deal with rejections from the corporate world, NO gym support ( Roped Climbing Comps ), and no support from anyone willing to volunteer because 1) It's on the weekend and they want to go climbing 2) They are changing the water in their fish tanks on that day 3) There is a rally defending the parental rights of gay whales. Mmmmm............
I think that anyone who has the time, the drive, and motivation to bring the groups together, go for it. It would be very rewarding in many ways.
Not trying to put a negative spin on the facts, but it's a real shame about what has happened in the past. Unfortunately not even the significant amount of water that has flowed under those bridges will wash away those memories. those guy's know who they are and what I mean.

So Jev, are you keen to be the man.....go on, I know you want to.

Rich Melder

Rat Man
7:16:04 PM
So, to give a gym owners view on this..
Comps are hard work and no-one will deny this. The logistics can be quite massive for even a small social comp and much worse if you want it to be some form of sanctioned comp. But the real killer is the cost of the comp.

We have to run the gyms as a business, for sure there are plenty of people that say "I'll help you do ......." but volunteers are a very finite resource. I've only ever found a couple of people prepared to ever come back for a second day of hold cleaning, usually have to trick someone new everytime. So you pay the helpers in free visits which doesn't cost up front and is a good rate per hour but it's lost revenue down the road.
Logistics assistants, Route Stripping, Hold Washing, Route Setters, Route Testers, Judges, Gofers. They all need some form of remuneration to ever see them again. (again, lost revenue down the road). This cost can be offset by comp fees certainly but even my social comps ran at a loss and they were very well attended (a big thanks to all that came) and all the prizes donated (a big thanks to all the sponsors).

This brings me onto another point - Prizes, Outdoor Agencies and a couple of other companies have been extremely generous with providing prizes for our comps over the last two years. - but where's the return for them? what's their motivation to give away thousands of dollars worth of kit. Only very few people will end up with something and in some cases the individuals recieving prizes were sposored by a competing brand and couldn't use the prize anyway. It really is just a sign of goodwill on their behalf, certainly a questionable marketing move. And this is illustrated by the ENORMOUS effort that Rich Melder put in trying to get a corporate sponsor for the Vic Bouldering Titles held at The Lactic Factory last year. He did a massive mailout and followup to over 50 companies to try and get any form of support and the response?...... Nothing, not a cent from anyone, to the point that it looked like the comp wasn't going to happen until individuals in climbing community came through with support from their personal businesses.

Until climbing is more mainstream in the greater (non-climbing) community there won't be any money (more newbies would encourage gear sponsorship, larger audience will encourage non climbing sponsorship). This is where the SCA comes in, and Rich brought this up at the Lactic comps (Please correct me if I'm wrong here Rich). Climbing needs to be seen as a big sport to be recognised by the government (and AIS) as an official sport, if this happens then there is financial support to hold regional, state and national events.
Put your hand up to be counted -This can be done by joining the SCA and once there are enough members we'll get the support. Or do you like pretending that climbing is an alternative/extreme sport.

-Warning - Personal opinion disclaimer and not neccesarily the view of The Lactic Factory which is a facilities member of the SCA-

At present I understand why people don't join the SCA - what do you get for your $40?? permission to compete in National events and voting rights in an association that has bugger all clout? - wooo hooo!
Get the clout, then charge fees.
Make the membership $5 per year, sign everyone up at every gym and have a voice that is backed up by the masses.

Um - did I go off topic?

Back to comps,
They're not a financially rewarding business move and are only maybe justifyable as a marketing move.
It may be different in Sydney. I don't know why they have such a good scene, but I was participating in the comp scene in Vic 10-12 years ago and Hardrock and Cliffhanger both put a massive effort to get a regular series going and it was just a miserable attendance. Only the Mill monthly social boulder comp had a regular crowd worth running a comp for.

Enough ranting, time to go home - Tim or Sue do you have anything to add?

3:14:53 PM
I wouldn't put it down to Lazy gym owners, maybe tired gym owners!!

The problem with running professional competitions that have prizes (and I mean useful prizes, including cash at an OPEN level event), that run on time, that satisfy both WorkSafe and PLI insurance guidelines and that go off without a hitch with a split field of competitors, is COST.

Not only does a gym loose it's trade for up to a week (between route stripping, re-setting and then keeping the routes closed or covered until the event), they also have the cost of officials (marshals, judges, scorers, belayers, etc) any SCA fees, and of course the route setting costs - which are way above a normal months route setting budget for most gyms. Entrance fees do not re-coup much of that cost.

In essence, to run a State Titles, the climbing gym is usually out of pocket around $5000, and to host a nationals upwards of $10,000. This is a real figure including all associated costs and losses.

I don't think I'm speaking out of turn (for HardRock) when I say that from 1994 (when Cliffhanger hosted the first Nationals in Australia) until the early 2000's, Sue (at HardRock) and I funded Sport Climbing in Australia (via the ASCF) to the tune of over $100,000 to simply host competitions and keep competitions alive in Australia, particularly National level events in Melbourne. Unfortunately there comes a time where you just can't keep funding something for the sake of it. Unfortunately the people that go to climbing comps (the recipients of the "marketing effort" or "advertising" benefit you refer to) actually already go to the climbing gyms, so in fact there is no advertising benefit to a gym by hosting a competition.

There are also some differences between NSW and Victoria, including OH&S Regulations, the use of Volunteers, Staff Wages (which are substantially higher in Victoria for climbing instructors) and depending on who underwrites your Public Liability Insurance. For instance, our PLI underwriter will not permit the use of Volunteers for a lead climbing event. There are also a lot more 'competitive climbers' in NSW than Victoria, so comp attendance levels are always lower in VIC than NSW. We are not a member of SCA, but they may be able to verify how many NSW members there are to VIC members.

Unfortunately from Cliffhanger's perspective, we've spent our advertising budget on competitions, in advance several times over, and we simply cannot justify the expense or inconvenience to our regular patrons any more. The best we can offer is our InterSchool Comp in June.

Anyway, we're not lazy!


4:41:08 PM
Perhaps it would be worth moving to Sydney where there's a bigger comp scene? I can't see competition climbing taking off in Victoria any time soon at all as per Christian and Tims previous posts.

It's not the gym owners that don't want a bar of it, it is the Victorian Climbers!!! What would the point be of holding a climbing competition for 5 people, not much of a comp? The demand is not justifiable.


Rat Man
6:20:17 PM
On 15/04/2008 kezza wrote:

>It's not the gym owners that don't want a bar of it, it is the Victorian
>Climbers!!! What would the point be of holding a climbing competition for
>5 people, not much of a comp? The demand is not justifiable.

A good example of this is in the State titles that we ran last year, quite a number of the categories had only 2 competitors (Youth B boys, Youth D boys,Junior Women, Open B Girls).
Which is hard when you're required to run the separate categories- in a time consuming way.


There are 10 messages in this topic.


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