When the rain washed away Sunday’s original plan, we decided to head to The Depot Manchester which had just opened the day before. Naturally it was busy, but there was plenty to climb and it didn’t feel overly crowded, because this climbing centre is absolutely huge.
There are just so many, I don’t even know where to start! Every angle and type of wall you could wish for seems to be under this one (massive) roof. Built by Walltopia which is represented by Beacon Manufacturing here in the UK, (and also linked to Beacon Climbing Centre, North Wales) they are very impressive structures. They look clean and modern with the chosen colour scheme, and the problems were very inviting due to the spacing and layout. The climbing walls wrap around the perimeter of the gym, plus there are a variety of different sized/shaped blocs dotted along the middle of each side, but I think one of the most impressive features is the boulder which you see as you walk in.
The usual colour V grade circuits made it easy to pick out what we wanted on the wall. The current problems are set by The Depot’s team Tom Newman and Roberto Stallioni, plus notable professional climbers Ian Vickers, Dave Barrans and Dave Sutty. Overall the problems felt nice to climb and most importantly fun! My only comment would be that the grade brackets seem to overlap quite a bit from V3-V5, so if you prefer to know more specifically what grade you are climbing this could be a small niggle. What I really enjoyed was getting to try various holds I had previously never experienced. Going from gym to gym you get to know what certain holds are like, because you’ve held them in a different colour at another gym the previous week. However, the holds used in The Depot were new territory for me, I saw a lot of CORE holds on the walls as well as some really interesting features.
Going down the day after it opened I was nervous it was going to be a little claustrophobic and too busy to actually get on the wall, however despite it being full of climbers it didn’t feel crowded, and it was easy to find something to play on. The atmosphere felt nice and relaxed but still professional, and the team behind the till were very friendly and welcoming.
Insane Beastmaker board, circuit walls, campus rungs, hang boards, whatever training you’re doing, you can most definitely do it here, there are even auto belays! Parking was easy enough, with it being on an industrial park there’s always a little pocket for your car. Hot drinks and snacks were available with a spacey sitting area which looks out to the wall. Lockers and cubby holes were plentiful, plus changing rooms too. I noticed a smaller area towards the back of the centre with a corner wall, perfect for little climbers if it was a family day out.
Overall it’s obvious no expense has been spared, and I think it speaks volumes that I’m heading back on Sunday again with a group of climbing friends. Going forward I will most likely make the effort to visit The Depot monthly due to the distance from home, but I can tell it will be worth it!
I can’t wait to see what the future holds, this climbing centre has definitely set the standards for any future gyms, and as a result it will surely be the home of some very strong climbers.
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