Opened a year ago, Bolder Ventures is the latest addition to Klang Valley's array of indoor climbing gyms. It's tucked away deep in the industrial area of USJ1 in Subang Jaya, surrounded by shoplots and some small apartment buildings. The area is mostly deserted and on the day I visited, there were only two of us climbing in the gym. We weren't even sure if it was open when we got there, but the spinning of a ceiling fan inside proved that it wasn't empty. Kind of dodgy, was my first impression of the surroundings.
We were greeted by a guy from behind the counter, who unlocked the entrance for us. Entry for adults is RM15, while students pay RM10. It's pretty cheap, especially compared to Camp 5, which is really expensive. We were surprised that we didn't have to register our names or sign anything before we started climbing.
The gym has a bouldering area as well as walls for top-roping; just a small climbing gym with the basics. There's no lead-climbing here, as the walls are only two-storeys high. The routes in the bouldering section were tough, and the holds are rough with that 'new' feeling.
After warming up on the bouldering routes, we turned to the top-roping walls and got into our harnesses. Harness and climbing shoe rental here is RM5 each, while belay devices can be rented at RM3. The routes were very challenging, and I only remember one colour route that I would call easy. The gym's also very dark even in broad daylight as the entrance is the only source of natural light. It can also get very warm.
Bolder Venture is definitely for more expert climbers, and it's a good place to get some training done. However, beginners will struggle here - I wouldn't bring a newbie here to introduce them to climbing. Actual climbing aside, they also sell equipment such as harnesses, shoes, that kind of thing. According to their Facebook page, they also have the occasional movie night with snacks and the like.
One thing I was disappointed with was how they didn't have any soap in the toilets, so I couldn't wash the chalk off my hands after a few hours of sweaty climbing. The ladies' toilet downstairs was out of order, so I had to go upstairs, which was a sort of messy storage area. The gym is also very dusty and I found a cobweb at the top of one of the top-roping routes when I reached the ceiling. Not very well-maintained at all.
I don't know if I'll come here again, but it's definitely convenient for those who live in Subang Jaya after the indoor gym at The Summit shut down years back.
While your article was built on certain solid points regarding the outlook of the gym, I feel that it fails to mention the following:
1. Although I am of the opinion that the gym is geared slightly more towards serious climbers, rather than recreational, to say that the gym is catered for "expert" climbers could be misleading. I see no reason why "keen" newbies would not be able to pick up climbing at this gym.
2. I believe the gym is, to a certain degree, a simulation of real-life outdoor climbing, in all its un-air-conditioned and holds-as-rough-as-rocks glory.
3. The third and perhaps most important point is that the entry fee to the gym is bundled with advice and guidance from a highly qualified trainer, with bags-full of experience. For newbies, the guidance on proper technique and exercises for self-improvement would be invaluable towards their development as a climber.
That being said, I agree on most points you had raised which could be improved upon. However, I am certain that the owner is listening intently and will no doubt continually improve the gym.