Building Walls

Alpkit doesn’t have an official hall of fame, but if it did this guy would be literally hanging off its most overhanging walls.

Dan Bradley has never been short on ambition or enthusiasm. He has proven himself in athletic performance through climbing; a natural talent. He is also an accomplished coach, and has been directly influential in nurturing the talents of young Nottingham-based climbers to national and international competition success, as well as having worked at one of the UK’s premier mountain instruction centres.

Dan lives for the moment, but he is not one to shy away from a long term challenge. There are many climbers whose dream it is to have their own wall; for some this is a fingerboard above the door, an 8 x 4 panel in the basement or a converted garage. Very few go all the way and build a World Cup standard climbing facility! But then Dan has always done things on his terms and we are immensely proud to be able to support his latest venture: The Climbing Unit.

Just off the Pentagon roundabout in Derby, The Climbing Unit is an ambitious new climbing centre which will provide training and competition facilities for our current and future champions. With over 1100 square metres of climbing, including bouldering and roped climbing, the centre will inspire future generations of climbers and provide world class facilities for all abilities. The centre piece of the development is the Alpkit Competition Wall: it's design is based upon the latest World Cup specifications; a purpose built structure for hosting National climbing competitions and providing competitors with World Cup training facilities.

But the centre will not only cater for the elite climber; it will offer facilities for people new to the sport with a full programme for children, beginners and improvers led by qualified and experienced instructors. There are 250 square metres of roped climbing facilities with vertical, slab and overhanging walls all aimed at giving climbers the confidence they need to develop the skills for climbing and mountaineering outdoors.

It has been incredibly exciting to see this project grow. When we started there were a few people who made a difference to us and Dan was one of those who never let us down. Some may see it as the wall that Dan built but he will be the first to tell you otherwise. Now Dan has his own team to thank; people who, just like Dan, have been prepared to sacrifice their time and energy for something or someone they believe in. Sure it's a commercial thing, it's ridiculous to think otherwise, but the people who are going to give this venue a vibe are the ones who pour their heart and soul in to the task.

By Kenny Stocker