Norwich’s first dedicated climbing centre opens its doors
Climbers were able to scale heights in the flatness of Norfolk on Saturday, as Norwich's first dedicated climbing centre opened its doors.
Set up by two neighbours following a chat over Christmas drinks in 2010, the Highball Climbing Centre welcomed around 100 visitors this weekend.
Climber Mike Surtees, of Marlborough Road, Norwich, and his former neighbour, osteopath Phil Mortimer, who now lives in Stalham, converted the warehouse into the city's first dedicated indoor climbing centre.
The formerly derelict unit in Twickenham Road, off Fifers Lane, is now home to nearly 500 square metres of bouldering walls and a seven-and-a-half metre climbing tower.
Some 2,000 multi-coloured holds have been attached to the walls, while there is also a caf�, shop, osteopathy clinic and yoga room.
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The University of East Anglia's Sportspark has a climbing wall, but Mr Surtees said climbers would have to travel two hours to London to find anything similar to the Highball Climbing Centre.
The 34-year-old said: 'The feedback was really good from the climbers. There was a good buzz about the place – exactly what we wanted.
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'There was a great mix of age ranges. It was a really nice atmosphere.'
Climbers are hoping their sport will be included in the Olympics in 2020, and Mr Surtees, whose dad helped develop Norwich's former YMCA climbing wall, said youngsters getting involved now could potentially push for an Olympic place, eight years down the line.
He said: 'I think the time is right for climbing in Norwich. Climbers are frustrated at having to travel.'
There are around 100 bouldering circuits and 16 routes on the roped climbing walls at the centre.
The centre also has an induction wall for beginners and a 15m by 4.5m competition wall with plans for running competitions in the future.
Visit www.highballnorwich.co.uk for more information.
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