Aerial challenges of award-winning climbing centre


eica_2122_mrEICA’s management team was quick to acquire the 30m working height tracked chassis platform following a demonstration at the arena by Ranger Equipment, Teupen’s exclusive distributor in the UK and Ireland. “It offered big advantages in speed, manoeuvrability and reliability over other platforms we had previously used,” said EICA’s Climbing Arena Manager, Nic Crawshaw. “And it has really increased the efficiency of route-setting on the climbing walls, our core business.”

Located in the Ratho hills, west of Edinburgh, the award-winning arena is constructed against a sheer quarry rock face. At 65m by 55m in area, and almost 30m tall in places, the climbing hall was designed to accommodate international competitions and is the biggest covered climbing arena in the world. The natural cliff, together with artificial sculpted climbing facades and ledges, create difficult overhangs, nooks and crannies to challenge the climber.

It all adds up to a dynamic climbing space which poses other aerial challenges when it comes to maintenance, cleaning and activity management. With 30m working height, and a 15.7m maximum outreach – usable at full platform capacity of 200kg – the Leo30T has taken the facilities management team to new levels of efficiency. Personnel use every bit of the platform’s generous working envelope to navigate the centre’s complex ‘airspace’ to carry out a variety of tasks. These include setting and replacing climbing holds, hoovering rock dust from the man-made climbing surfaces, maintaining and reconfiguring aerial assault course equipment, as well as accessing light rigs and other roof level services.

“We have a substantial venue to look after with numerous, difficult high spaces to access for routine maintenance, inside and out,” said Mr Crawshaw. “The Leo allows us to access all of it quickly and effectively.”

Teupen engineering is well known for the user-friendly convenience of its fully featured, added value specification. The load-dispersing tracks, low surface loads, simple, intuitive controls, in-built systems for failsafe operation, narrow travel width, among others, all enhance the versatility of the Leo30T in tackling tasks around the Centre. But, given the particular nature of work involved in the climbing hall, the Leo’s versatility in the air alone has justified the investment.

Mr Crawshaw said: “The climbs on the walls are our core product, so we invest a lot of time in route-setting. A route-setter who is experienced using the Leo can probably triple the productivity of someone working on ropes. Compared to other platforms, the Leo is noticeably quicker due to its fast set-up time as well as speed of movement.”The generous reach of the machine, at almost 16m, is especially useful, allowing more to be achieved from one position.

The famed reliability of Teupen engineering ensures that planned work goes ahead without frustrating interruptions and downtime that can have a serious impact on getting climbs ready for the paying public. The Leo’s class-leading platform capacity is also a real productivity booster.

“We have to replace 15,000 holds every 4 months. It’s a bit like painting the Forth Bridge,” explains Mr Crawshaw. “We can achieve so much more with the Leo because it is reliable, quick, easy to use and robust. The two hundred kilo platform limit also gives us a lot of scope. We can have two people on the platform as well as a box of holds, a big advantage over working off ropes and carrying holds in bags.”

eica_2145_mrThe climbing hall floor is partly laid with a 70mm thick rubber matting, with natural stone pavers completing the floor scheme. The Leo’s cushioned, load-dispersing tracks and low surface loads relieve the impact of taking a 4.2 tonnes machine, although comparatively light, onto these precious substrates.”We can track the Leo over the mat without any worries about damage. We then lift four squares up to set the stabilisers, and are ready to work,” comments Mr Crawshaw.

EICA relies even more on the Leo’s efficiency and reliability when it comes to competitions. The Centre hosts several key national and international events in the global rock-climbing calendar, drafting in extra Leos to help with preparations. “It takes up to a week to prepare for a big competition,” comments Mr Crawshaw. “We have to preset and then store away the holds for each of the competition routes so that they are ready when route changes are needed mid-programme. Everything has to be really well planned and slick, and the Leo plays a critical part.”

EICA has just staged the World Youth Climbing Championships (WYCC), the world’s foremost competition for youths and juniors. More than 450 competitors, aged between 13 and 19 from all 75 member countries of the International Federation of Climbing took part. With the BBC televising the two-day competition for The Adventure Show (BBC2) and live webcasting, the pressure is always on for everything to run smoothly. “We have just two hours to reset the routes between the semi-final and final on the last day. The Leo’s manoeuvrability, speed and reliability really come into their own for this,” said Mr Crawshaw.

As well as loving their Leo, EICA personnel have been just as impressed with Ranger Equipment’s service and technical support. “Right from our initial enquiry, we have found Ranger very accommodating, knowledgeable and extremely professional. Steve Hadfield and his team have been really flexible and responsive in working around our needs, from arranging a machine demonstration at the centre to negotiating a finance and support package that suits us.” As part of its on-going service commitment to EICA, Ranger will source additional Leos to help with preparations for big events.

Ranger’s focus on training has been another plus. Mr Crawshaw said: “We were given a very thorough induction on the platform when it was delivered, and plenty of time to ask questions and get confident using it. Ranger’s on-going support has also been very good. We always get a quick response when we ring with a query or for information.”

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Tel: 0870 225 5554

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