Walltopia, a world leader in the climbing and adventure & leisure industries, is the company behind some of the world’s largest climbing gyms, a sport that has been growing in popularity over the past few years and has even made its Olympic debut.
While the company has been focused on developing and improving its products with technological advancements, in order to offer the largest range of climbing wall surfaces to its customers, it has also become involved in some truly record-breaking projects.
Over the past 23 years, while working to deliver complete solutions, from design to assembly, flooring, safety equipment, holds and volumes, maintenance, and inspection, these projects have become bigger, more challenging and more innovative.
Creating higher and bigger walls
As a preferred partner of the best and biggest private operators of climbing gyms around the world, Walltopia meets all needs and requirements of customers in the USA, Canada, Australia, Austria, Germany, France, Italy, Scandinavia, Spain, Switzerland, UK, and more.
Walltopia has designed and built the highest, and the biggest walls, as well as the second biggest and the third biggest walls in most regions.
For example, Kletterzentrum Innsbruck – the biggest climbing gym in the world to be designed and built in one push at this size. It has 6,377 sq. m (68,641 sq. ft) plywood panels and was the result of about 8 months of collaboration between Reinhold Sherer, Austria’s national team coach and gym manager, and the Walltopia architect.
The Walltopia team also discussed the design with professional athletes, like Killian Fischuber and Jacob Schubert, to create walls that correspond to the expectations for a training facility and competition arena.
It took around 6 months to assemble more than 112 tons of steel structure and plywood panels at a height of up to 17 m (55 ft). Now, the venue is being used for training for national climbing teams from across the globe, and it has also hosted many European and world championships.
“I must acknowledge that the collaboration with Walltopia was very successful. It is remarkable how professionally they finished the job of such a huge scale making it what it is today,” says Scherer.
The biggest climbing gym in the USA
Pacific Pipe climbing gym in Oakland, CA is the biggest climbing gym in the USA, with a 4,274 sq. m (46,000 sq. ft) climbing surface.
Construction started before the pandemic but due to COVID-19, installation expanded into 2020. The building itself used to be a pipe factory, and Touchstone Climbing opted to keep its vintage industrial interior. Along with the modern design of the walls and bright colours, this turned the gym into a stylish clash of cultures that offers both an outstanding climbing experience and a memorable style.
There is 1,207 sq. m (13,000 sq. ft) of bouldering terrain and 3,066 sq.m (33,000 sq. ft) rope walls, featuring lead walls with a height of 17 m / 55 ft.
Record-breaking gyms in Europe
The biggest climbing gym in Switzerland is Griffig in Uster, with a climbing surface of 4,160 sq. m (44,777 sq. ft). As well as the standard indoor climbing sectors for top rope and lead climbing and bouldering, it is also home to a facade climbing wall for outdoor climbing in good weather.
It first opened in 2014 and later two additional extensions to the climbing area were added to reach the record-breaking surface area, the last panel of which was placed by Walltopia in 2016.
Walltopia also worked on the biggest climbing gym in Spain, which is Sharma Climbing Madrid, the second climbing gym owned by professional climber Chris Sharma. After the success of his Barcelona location, Sharma chose to work with Walltopia for a second time, creating a climbing surface of 3,500 sq. m (37,673 sq. ft).
“It’s been an amazing experience for me working with Walltopia. Ivaylo Penchev, the owner, is a really passionate guy and such a visionary, for it’s an honour to work with somebody like him. Together we’re working to revolutionize this industry. A lot of exciting things are happening right now and it’s a pleasure to be a part of that,” says Sharma.
Another notable project for Walltopia is Climb Up Porte d’Italie in Paris, which is the biggest climbing gym in France with a 1,950 sq. m (20,990 sq. ft) climbing surface. This is owned by former world climbing champion Francois Petit and is one of the 25 gyms he owns in the country. For the last 8 of them, since 2015, Petit has chosen to work with Walltopia.
“I think Walltopia is the best company that produces climbing walls in the world,” says Petit. “Your work is very professional and you always manage to keep the deadlines.”
Finally, the company also worked on the biggest climbing gym in Italy, Rock Spot in Milan (pictured, top), which has a climbing surface of 2,946 sq. m (31,710 sq. ft).
Earlier this month, Walltopia announced the launch of two new online tools, which will improve the process of creating concepts for active entertainment attractions.