The only indoor climbing wall in the Top of the South is closing for good next week.
Vertical Limits on Vanguard St has been a Nelson icon since 2001, but next Saturday will mark its final day before the building is demolished to make way for a new retail development.
Manager James Scoltock, who took over the business in 2016, says they will be going out with a bang with a free climbing session and get-together.
Gibbons Holdings purchased the site last year and James was given one year’s notice to find a new home.
But, after looking at “hundreds” of possibilities, he came to a dead end.
“It’s been impossible. We needed something with height. There are just no suitable buildings in Nelson and building a new facility is just not feasible right now. It will happen, it’s just time.”
James says he also sought help from Nelson City Council, with no success.
“I’ve tried hard to keep it alive for everyone, but I’ve had to let it go.”
The building will be demolished to make way for a new Briscoes and Rebel Sport complex, Briscoe Group managing director Rod Duke told Nelson Weekly.
“That is our plan.”
James says they will be taking out and selling whatever equipment they can, the rest will be demolished.
Vertical Limits currently has 400 regular climbers with at least 250 school children using the facility each week.
James says they are currently the “busiest they have ever been” and the closure will be a huge loss to all users.
“We have three-year-olds to 80-year-olds and people who have never climbed to competitors at world champs.
“One kid even rang up the local radio station asking them to ‘save the wall’. It’s just a shame. The closest indoor climbing wall now is in Christchurch.”
James says when he took over the facility, the number one goal was to create a place where people felt welcome.
“And that’s what it’s become – it’s like a massive big family. Heaps of people have put in so much effort to help out.”
Vertical Limits’ last day will be 22 December, from 12-6pm. Past and present members are invited to come along, bring a plate and have a final climb.