The Star, a UK-based news service is reporting that The Edge Climbing Centre in Sheffield, England is closing. First opened in 1994, The Edge was one of four climbing gyms in or near the city of Sheffield which is considered the epicenter of rock climbing in the UK.
Business owner Phil Robins told The Star that he is closing the gym eight months after Awesome Walls built a new facility in town in September. Robins also told The Star that the premises, which are owned by Go Outdoors, were impossible to expand in order to compete with other facilities.
The Star reports:
“I’m sad – I’d been running the place for 20 years. A lot of people were sad, staff loved it and we had a lot of loyal customers. Things went downhill after Awesome Walls opened and there was an oversupply of climbing walls,” said Robins.
“There are some people owed money but it’s not like a manufacturing business going down with hundreds of thousands of pounds of debt.”
The Edge had 150 routes and featured a wall which could be set to overhang by 45 degrees. The bouldering wall was completely rebuilt in 1998 to double its size. Its boom years were 2000 to 2005, Robins added.
“It was very popular for those into roped climbing. But things move on, people get married or move away or stop climbing for whatever reason. When I’ve been round other walls in Sheffield in the evening they didn’t have more people in them. There were enough people doing it when there were three centres. Now, I think trade is split and there is one bouldering centre which is doing a very good job. It’s trendy, it’s got a good scene and competitions. It ticks a lot of boxes.”
When the Climbing Works bouldering gym opened in 2006, it too took a toll on the number of boulderers that frequented The Edge. After 2006 it was a slow decline for the gym and for Robins. “I hadn’t paid myself a wage for four years,” Robins told The Star.