Having visited Adelaide's Bouldering Club in Thebarton, it was only a matter of time before I headed out for Vertical Reality, an indoor climbing gym located North-East of the city. Unlike Adelaide's Bouldering Club, Vertical Reality offers the opportunity to do some top-roping and lead-climbing, along with bouldering. Both top-roping and lead-climbing require the use of a harness and rope, though the gym only allows lead-climbing to experienced climbers only. Top-roping on the other hand is fun for everybody, regardless of climbing ability.
I've been here twice already, and as I prefer top-roping much more to bouldering, it's become my favourite place to climb here in Adelaide. For first-timers, it's a must that you call in and book for a one-time safety induction, where the instructors will show you the ropes (literally). You'll learn how to wear a harness, tie knots and belay a climbing partner while picking up on the safety procedures in the gym.
Even if you're an experienced climber, the safety induction is compulsory - it's always good to review the basics, and the belaying system here is different from the one I was introduced to when I started climbing seven years ago.
The gym is located in Holden Hill near Gilles Plains. If you're going by public transport, the best way is with bus 271 from the city to Stop 30. Once there, just cross the road; the gym is behind the row of shop lots facing the main road. The building is a bit unremarkable looking, and I'll admit that my first time there, I wasn't sure if I had the right place.
Once inside, it's a completely different environment. The gym is separated into two sections, one for top-roping and the other for bouldering and lead-climbing. The picture above is of one side of their top-roping walls. There are a variety of walls available, from simple straightforward routes to balancing walls, chimney routes and overhangs. There's a little something for all levels of climbers on all these walls.
The difficulty ranking of each route is listed at the foot of each wall in chalk. The colours of the routes correspond with the chalk colour used, and the easiest level in the gym that I noticed was a 5, while the most difficult was 26. The average ranking number was probably around 10 - 15, which is a reasonable difficulty level if you're just starting out.
Climbing is suitable for all ages, with even little kids taking to the wall in special full-body harnesses. As long as you're able to climb up a ladder, you should be able to climb up a wall! Vertical Reality also allows large groups to come in for club outings, corporate functions or birthday parties. On the day I visited, there were two different parties, one ending just as I arrived and another starting an hour before I left. There's not a lot of seating space though, so keep that in mind. However, there are a few tables around in both the top-roping and bouldering areas. If you're interested in having a party at the gym, you should give them a call to see what discounts are available.
The bouldering area, which also doubles as a lead-climbing wall.
Even with the large crowd on the Saturday that I visited, there was enough climbing space for everybody, though you might have to wait a bit to get onto a wall if somebody else is already using it. This is a great place to go in a group, so you can take turns to belay one another. Kids in particular will probably enjoy this immensely, and it's a great way to have fun while getting some exercise into it as well.