TCA Glasgow vs GCC – UNDO Features

The Climbing Academy Glasgow (TCAG) has announced that it’s opening in September 2011, this dedicated bouldering arena is situated a short walk away from the Glasgow Climbing Centre (GCC).

So what does this mean of the GCC, having had nearly zero competition for many years. Will we see a change in attitude towards members, or even a price war? Let’s face it yearly membership is pretty expensive for most climbing centres far more than some gyms. Having checked you the prices offered at The Bristol TCA and GCC, entry for one sits at £7.50 for the GCC and £8 for TCA. You’re spending the best part of £10 just to get in, the price increases as you hire equipment and
obviously both centres offer concessional and child discounts. These prices are ok for occasional users but when you start going once, twice a week the cost spirals. In answer to this the GCC and TCA offer yearly and monthly passes. The monthly pass for both costs around £50 with the GCC offering a yearly pass at £310 and TCA at a pricey £415. At around the price of a month’s rent, the year pass is still worth it if you intend to climb 2-3 or more per week. Again this doesn’t include hire
of equipment.

So what are you paying for?

Well the GCC offers a considerable amount of facilities crammed into a pretty small space. In recent months the GCC have invested considerably in upkeep for the centre and have been developing the facilities further. This could be in response to TCAGs imminent arrival but the place was in need a of a revamp. The GCC offer an extensive selection of routes on various lead and top roped walls. These routes range from easy peasy stuff, right through to hard overhang routes. The main hall is split into a 2 lead walls one textured panels the other an overhung synthetic rock surface, this later wall is great for getting a taste of what outdoor climbing would be like and has enough routes to challenge all. The top rope wall consists of flat surfaces at various angles, including an overhang. Throughout this wall occasional lead routes can be found. A small room can be found at the back of the centre where walls for beginners and those with a need to use pocket and ledges can be found. Tucked away in a corner, there is also a textured chimney and 2 textured cracks the height of the wall to practice the dark arts of jamming and wedgeing.

For the boulderer in you 2 synthetic rock walls are located at each side of the entrance. One wall has a over hand with regularly changed routes and the other promotes free climbing and a feel for the real stuff. Down stairs is the main bouldering area offering a good range of routes and obsticales typical for bouldering. This area has been remodelled in order to produce a larger and more technical bouldering area, you can see the plans and progress by following this link. The GCC
also offer a training area with campus, finger boards and inclined routes.

Cafe and shop facilities are also available here, lockers and a changing/shower facilities. Outside the GCC have provided a bicycle area at the request of it members, you can lock your bike up on the GCC ground behind a fence for peace of mind. However, parking is limited to what is available in the street. This would not be a big deal if it wasn’t so near the Ibrox football stadium.

It’s hard to compare the Glasgow Climbing Centre to The Climbing Academy, due to the TCA not being open as of yet. Following the TCAG blog which is littered with pictures of the build and comparing this to The Climbing Academy Bristol facilities, we can get a good idea of what will be on

The Climbing Academy Glasgow will be primarily a bouldering facility, it offers a cafe, shop, lockers and shower/changing facility and may also provide a treatment room similar to Bristol. Here you can receive various therapies from massage to physio.

The bouldering at TCAG will be extensive compared to the GCC facilities. The promise of prow, arret and 3D bouldering whets the appetite, to top it all off there will be a lot of hi-ball routes available. TCAG is massive having previously been a warehouse. This gives them far more freedom to make long expanding routes and particularly spacious training area. The training are will offer 45 degree and 15 degree walls, campus and finger boards and no doubt some slopers.

The Climbing Academy Glasgow doesn’t appear to offer much in the way of walls for those interested in rope work.

On the whole I think this may be a good thing for regulars and members at the Glasgow Climbing Centre if not for the centre itself. Those more interested in bouldering will quickly move to the TCA for the diverse bouldering specific, this is good news for GCC members. The GCC offers training, parties, tuition, bouldering, climbing and even a yoga night, this is all good but many a night has been wasted due to the place being jam packed. This makes for a good community spirit, especially between the bouldering fraternities, but often people are left cueing for routes or wasting much needed training time cooling down between walls.

The GCC and TCA both need to carefully consider what they offer and the prices they charge, particularly with recession looming and student fees taking a massive hike. TCA are massively over priced and the GCC may not repeat the previous year’s discounts due to this new competition. Requests on the GCC facebook for the same discounts this year have been met with a lot of ambiguity, this may compromise customer loyalty and may even put people off rejoining, this would definitely leave an opening for TCA to provide limited time discounts therefore sweeping up a health amount of jilted customers.

The next few months are going to be interesting and will definitely be good news for local climbers.

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