Try-hard Climber / Semi-retired Gamer / Unseasoned Adventurer / Occasional Video Editor / Serial Internet Lurker
Published February 14th 2018
This is definitely not a music store
Not long ago, my wife and I made a short trip down to Johor Bahru to meet a friend and try out the rock climbing gyms in the area. The indoor climbing gym scene in JB has become very interesting in recent months, with the opening of the 2nd outlets of Rocky Basecamp and Camp5 in Malaysia. The potential market is undoubtedly substantial, with established climbing communities in Johor itself to just across the causeway in neighbouring Singapore.
For our first stop, we decided to visit what is probably one of - if not the oldest indoor climbing gyms in the state. ROCKWORLD is tucked away in Setia Business Park 2 at the northern edge of Johor Bahru. It's about half an hour's drive away from the middle of JB town itself, and you'll have to register yourself at the guardhouse to get into the industrial park. It's a bit of an odd location that was likely driven by cost efficiency, but it's probably a convenient drive for the folks working in JB but living on the outskirts of town.
I didn't manage to take a good shot of the exterior as we came at night, but there was a pretty attention-grabbing climbing wall set up at the front facade of the building itself. I heard it was mostly for display purposes, as being exposed to the elements didn't make it a safe climb.
This was definitely one of the more affordable climbing gyms around - apart from a one-time registration fee of RM1.00, a single entrance fee was RM15.00. Throw in RM10.00 to rent a full set of gear if you don't have your own. Belaying courses and belayers-for-hire are also available. They're open 5pm to 11pm on weekdays and 10am to 11pm on weekends. We were there on a weekday night and it was pretty busy - you'll probably have more luck with a smaller crowd if you come closer to its opening hours.
The central bouldering wall is relatively beginner-friendly and sets the stage for things to come.
Stepping inside, we were immediately struck by the verticality of the place - everything felt pretty smartly laid out to make the most out of the space available. The central bouldering wall sits in the centre of the space facing the counter, flanked by top-roping walls that wrap around the walls behind it. Deeper inside past the counter was another bouldering wall, but this seemed to be an advanced/experimental one with near-horizontal overhangs. There was what looked like a small bar or cafe facing this, but it wasn't open at the time.
Top-roping routes wrap around the walls of one corner of the building.
It's a well-laid out place, with a variety of relaxed to technical and advanced routes available with options for both top-roping and bouldering. It's also home to a pretty closely knit climbing community, but they're pretty welcoming to new faces dropping in from out of town.
Another bouldering wall with a moderate overhang can be found upstairs. There's actually a little tunnel you can climb up behind the wall to get on top where they've mounted a campus board to work on that finger strength.
Further upstairs, you'll find an intermediate bouldering wall with a moderate overhang. Another half a floor up and you'll find some ropes they use for belaying courses.
Unfortunately, we didn't get to spend much time here - but what I saw, I liked. It's definitely one of the most affordable places to climb in the area and offers a nice variety of climbing options for newbies to experienced climbers. I'd like to give this place another go the next time I'm around JB.