This giant climbing centre was constructed this year in accordance with the very latest standards, enabling large-scale events to be hostet right from the outset. In fact, the next big international event will be the climbing World Championships in 2018 and besides this, the centre is also the Austrian climbing association's national performance centre. But that doesn't mean only members of Austria's national teams are welcome: on a climbing area of approx. 6,000 m², hobby climbers can also improve their fitness and technique, try out the new climbing and bouldering possibillities and enjoy a good physical work out.
Attaining the heights - in safety
Besides the usual measures for securing climbers, such as assistance from the partner on the ground or by means of the four Toppas (automatic safety and descending devices), the operators also brought in a floor with fall protection properties. "As a modern climbing hall aspiring to provide new standards and high quality, we felt we had to set new standards in safety, too", emphasises Rheinhold Scherer, the manager at the Innsbruck Climbing Centre. Should a fall occur despite all the safety precautions, the elastic regugym climb 45/30 safety flooring in stone grey from the sports flooring manufacturers Berleburger Schaumstoffwerk GmbH (BSW) provides that additional safety factor. In the indoor climbing area, a total of 990 m² of this elastic sports flooring ensures that the seriousness of any injuries resulting from falls during hobby climbing or Speed and Lead competitions can be minimised.
"Concrete or asphalt floors are now completely inconceivable"
The climbing hall floor contributes to securing climbers in a number of ways: the two elastic layers, made up of two composite foams of different densities, serve to break the fall.
The first layer has the task of absorbing the impact of the fall and increasing the distribution of horizontal forces, whereas the second layer provides impact reduction throughout the entire floor structure. As a result, the severity of the consequences suffered by climbers falling from critical heights of up to approx. 5 metres is considerably reduced. "The floor has already proved its worth and prevented more serious injuries. For us, at least, the very idea of standing, let alone falling, on a hard, concrete or a asphalt floor is no longer conceivable," says Reinhold Scherer. "Though a great deal more work has to go into maintenance, organising events and route construction, because then the floor has to be covered with thick carpet tiles, it's well worth the effort for every case of paralysis that's prevented."
On the other hand, the floor's non-slipping surface in combination with very minimal deformation depression offers excellent stability for the person on the ground to ensure the climber can be reliably secured. However, the floor's elasticity doesn't only provide an optimal stance. Scherer is full of praise for BSW's safety surface: "Our visitors just love it and this soft floor generates a wonderful cosy feeling of well-being both inside and out."
Safety first for outdoor climbing
The climbing centre operators, the Alpenverein Kletterzentrum Innsbruck GmbH (Innsbruck Climbing Centre Alpine Association) have also come up with a few ideas for outdoor climbers. Three towers have been erected in the outdoor area in such a way that enabled 3,000 spectators to enjoy the action when competitions are held. Route climbers can demonstrate their skills against a breathtaking backdrop in an area of 1500 m², while another 175 m² is dedicated to those with a passion for bouldering. In this outdoor area, climbing enthusiasts are protected by the seamless BSW synthetic flooring, playfix. Originally developed for impact absorption on playgrounds, this flooring has also proved itself in a range of different sports activities, in which the risk of injury from falling needs to be minimised.
Just like regugym climb in climbing hall interiors, playfix also consists of two layers of bonded elastic material and has an even surface with uniform impact absorbing characteristics. The lower layer provides the required fall protection, while the upper, highly resilient wear layer gives the floor its attractive appearance. A total of 915 ² of playfix safety flooring in the light grey was laid in front of the outside towers at the Innsbruck Climbing Centre. The floor's overall thickness of 10 cm covers the maximum fall height a safety floor is can cover at all - even according to the currently calid EN 1177 standard. Additional points in the floor's favour include the fact that it is easy to clean and is highly slip and weather resistant. This clearly shows that the highest standards of safety have been applied at the centre, both inside and out. Only recently, the Innsbruck Climbing Centre was awarded the AAP - The American Architecture Prize™ - in the category "Other Architecture".
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