2nd World Indoor Climbing Summit of Walltopia


The moment Free Solo won the Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature, climbing underground days were recognizably gone. The Oscar was the ultimate acknowledgement that, after years of significant growth, climbing is no longer a niche sport but a global trend.

Not everyone saw this coming, especially at such a pace. There were a few visionaries, though, who predicted that evolution and worked hard towards it. You will be able to hear many of them speak at the second edition of the World Indoor Climbing Summit (WICS).

WICS stands out from other events in the climbing industry because it gathers a unique international set of climbing industry experts, under one roof. A carefully selected agenda built around the business of running a climbing gym — and the do’s and don’ts of turning it into a profitable venture, from the perspective of various markets — make the event a valuable experience for any climbing gym operator. Most importantly, it unites the pioneers of the industry on a global scale — people who have witnessed and experienced the growth of climbing from the first row and have played a big role in it.

“It was interesting to hear the different ways the US market diversifies from Europe and Australia and some other places. And I thought that was unique perspective that I haven’t had before. […] The format of having roundtables on stage was really valuable. Having all these gym operators from around the world in one place and having that kind of discussions was really interesting.” Jeffery Bowling, Marketing, IT and Business Development Manager at Touchstone Climbing

The event’s preferred format of panel discussion is an engaging one that provokes conversation and gathers different points of view. A few of the topics will include:

• First steps to opening a new gym, including finding financing: what it takes to get approved for a loan, lease or a real estate fund; how each works and what experiences people have already had with them.
• Gym location and building hunt.
• Facility specifics to serve the unique demographics of your target groups.
• Technical details and specs when planning a climbing gym.
• Route setting and flooring.

Discussions will be open — attendees are encouraged to participate. You will find the conference schedule on the WICS website.

The WICS will also host an exhibition area where manufacturers and suppliers from the industry can showcase their latest products, and meet potential clients and partners.

The first edition of WICS united over 300 industry leaders from 38 countries. Dana Schenhoffer from Headrush, one of the exhibitors, shares:

“There are some really quality people here. So what I mean by that is there has been kind of a filter applied and there are gym owners and builders and operators and not so much the people that don’t make decisions, so it’s the higher level clientele”

Watch a recap from last year’s event.

WICS will again be hosted by Walltopia in Sofia, Bulgaria; June 19th – 21st 2019.

You can see the full program and secure your place at the early bird rate with the promo code CBJEARLYBIRD at the event website.

“As a professional climber for over 25 years and also a climbing gym owner I am just happy to be here and network with other gym owners and see some of the latest technologies and yeah…it’s a great opportunity to kind of network and see old friends. […] After being here I would recommend other friends in the industry to come here. I think anyone who wants to open a climbing gym would benefit a lot from being here.” Chris Sharma, Professional climber and Gym Owner

This story was paid for and produced by the sponsor and does not necessarily represent the views of the Climbing Business Journal editorial team.
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Walltopia has designed, engineered, manufactured and installed more than 1800 projects in over 75 countries on 6 continents. With +20 years of experience in manufacturing climbing structures and a team of +600 professionals, Walltopia can take care of any gym project needs, from gym design to assembly, flooring solutions (Climbmat), holds and volumes (Holdtopia), maintenance and inspection. Walltopia is also the organizer of the World Indoor Climbing Summit (WICS), an event started in 2018 that focuses on the business side of the indoor climbing industry. Seeing a need for a more globally oriented industry gathering, and as a global supplier which communicates with industry leaders worldwide, Walltopia decided to bring the world of climbing into one place, inviting C-level executives from the industry to Sofia, Bulgaria. WICS hosts a conference program featuring topics on the business of indoor climbing that are valuable to gym owners and other industry leaders.