How Fit Rock Arena began setting up rock-climbing walls in Chennai homes during the pandemic
For those who have spent the lockdown figuratively climbing the walls, there is now a fun alternative: installing a pre-built rock-climbing wall at home.
A month ago, Shyam Sundar Manoharan, founder of Chennai-based Fit Rock Arena, an indoor climbing gym, was approached by a long-time client. “Since there are still many restrictions and safety precautions due to the pandemic, he wanted to know if we could build a private wall for him at home,” says Manoharan.
Manoharan has built large-scale walls for outdoor events in the past — pre-Covid, their 35-feet high rock-climbing wall in Pallikaranai used to be popular with mountaineering and fitness experts. During the pandemic, he has been creating much smaller custom-built pieces, mapped with an advanced route. One of them now graces an 8×4 foot wall in a Velachery home. “We use specific types of waterproof and natural fibre composite or plywood, and no structural alterations are necessary to the building,” he clarifies, adding that the routes are not static, and can be changed (by professionals) if the person wants some variety or is looking to increase their skill level. They can also be re-installed at different locations.
A young climber with his birthday gift: a rock-climbing wall by Fit Rock Arena
Prices vary depending on size and complexity of route. They start at ₹35,000 (all inclusive) for an 8×4 foot wall, which can support one person and a maximum of 120 kilograms at a time.
With kids being kept out of common play areas, parents saw this as a safer alternative to keep their children active and engaged. One of the walls has been designed as a birthday present for a 10-year-old, and another for a toddler (and his rock-climbing mother). Each wall comes with an eight-week basic online training programme at no additional cost. Further classes can be arranged with the team for a fee.
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