If news that the Southern Hemisphere’s biggest-ever bouldering gym, Nomad, just opened in Annandale doesn’t excite or at least intrigue you, you should probably stop reading now. This is big news for the Sydney indoor rock-climbing scene.
Bouldering, for those not in the climbing know, is the short-wall version – instead of ropes keeping you safe there are thick mats at the base of each climb. Sydney hasn’t had a huge range of bouldering options – just Bloc Climbing in North Parramatta and 9 Degrees in Alexandria. Owner David Jeavons and his team are hoping to revolutionise the market.
Beyond the actual climbing there’s a well-stocked climbing store, a corporate meeting space, a free ping-pong table, a gym, yoga workshops, a free arcade with 74 retro games and a cafe. The latter of which is not a thoughtless tack-on like other sporting arena kiosks. “We have a sushi bar, an espresso bar with our own roasted coffee and tea,” Jeavons says. “We also have a brew bar with a steam punk (an exact filter production gadget).”
In terms of climbing features, there’s the “Earth” (a giant surmountable globe with 360-degree climbs), a long, arched feature and a generally impressive variety of styles and difficulties (they have 11,000 holds in total and one section is changed each week).
Despite the interesting wall and feature designs, the climbs themselves aren’t too different to what Sydney already has. It’s the environment that’s distinct. It feels more professional (almost corporate), it’s incredibly spacious, the walls are clean, the climbs clear, and the music clubby.
In the near future Jeavons is hoping Nomad will be hosting competitions. “We're already in contact with different associations to see how we can work with them.”