Last week I spoke with Hang’s founder and managing director, Jon Partridge, to find out a bit more about his new wall. I was keen to hear about what they are doing differently and how things have been going since their opening in October 2021.
Hang. is situated only a stones throw away from the “Blenheim Center” which you may know from the huge Asda Hounslow Superstore situated there. Hang, however is premium bouldering wall delivering the very highest quality. “The “Waitrose local” of Bouldering gyms”.
Hang has been built on the ground floor of a brand new thermally efficient building. With huge windows there is loads and loads of natural light. The team’s aim was to bring bouldering to a prominent High Street retail location that has great transport connections.
One of the key objectives of the company is to bring climbing to new people. Locating the wall in the Heart of the Hounslow High street is part of this. Community is everything for the team. Hang. is a fun and friendly place and they want their customers to really feel part of a community, with regular socials and events.
The walls were crafted and installed by “Climbing Wall Collective“. A beautiful varnished ply affair with modern lines and all the angles.
The Core matting was delivered in two artic loads one week apart. The council were digging up the road at the time which meant that parking for artic lorries was severely limited. The offload was tough however all the Hang team turned up to get the matting inside in double quick time. A special mention to Omar and Tom who went the extra mile travelling down on the over night train fresh from filming at the Ice Factor in the Highlands.
One of Jon’s key appointments was Jake Mason as head route setter. The quality of route setting had to be top draw it was super important for Jon to get Jake locked in, early on in the project.
“We know how important both the quality and frequency of route setting are. We have a passionate in-house team and recruit the best independent setters in the industry”.Jon Partridge
“We aim to provide comfy, interesting, pleasing on the eye, stylistically diverse climbs with cool holds for every difficulty”.Jake Mason
Hang don’t do grades. Grading is incredibly subjective and there is huge inconsistency between climbing walls. Hang didn’t want any of the negatives that come along with the numbers and letters of traditional grading systems. So they have their created their own system with the emphasis on fun!
“As usual, you will find two tags at the bottom of a climb showing where your hands should start, but, just like a cheeky Nandos, you need to choose a spice level you’re comfortable with and enjoy”.
“The more chillis on the tag the spicier it is. So if you like it hot, go for our infernos but, if you prefer something cooler stick to our lemon + herb”.Hang.
The colour of holds used on a problem don’t give any indication of difficulty. This gives the routes setters a freedom to create what ever they can imagine with any of the holds. This is a really nice way to do things as at some point all the customers will get to use all of the holds.
Above reception you can find “The Lounge”. This is a dedicated Work space area at an elevated level and has privacy, comfort and great views across the centre. Available to all Hang customers at no extra cost it is a dynamic, flexible space for innovative businesses, freelancers, students or climbers.
I’m always impressed by climbers who take on the challenge to start up a climbing wall and even more so to embark on this adventure during the last 18 months. With the wall in it’s infancy, having been open for 78 days and counting, I was keen to ask Jon about his experience.
“Starting any business is difficult and starting Hang has been all consuming. Setting up a climbing wall is often a dream of many. It’s been a challenging process and it has been lot of hard graft and negotiation. It’s required a diverse skill set.”Jon Partridge
I was curious to find out how Bouldering Bobat became involved with the Hang project. Jon explained that at the first round of funding he was keen to bring people into the business who could add value beyond a straightforward investment. Bouldering Bobat is the biggest youtube channel of it’s type with a staggering 182k subscribers. Running a Youtube channel is very much a full time job, however Omar and Tom have also committed to both work part time in the wall. There are so many positive synergies and the two businesses are now forever linked. Hang is a great place to film content and a perfect venue to host Bobat events.
Hang’s unique blend of quality and fun in an urban setting can’t fail to inspire new people into climbing. Hang. is a brilliant venue and I’m looking forward to getting back down there soon.