Friends and Allies Climbing Gym: A Bigger and Better Climbing Space

FA Expansion

Friends and Allies Climbing Gym is expanding

Friends and Allies has been the hottest climbing gym in Johannesburg for the last two years.

We have been enjoying and fostering our warm, growing climbing community in a relatively small space that we think adds to the connections created within. However, the time has come to change things up a bit.

In some exciting news Friends and Allies Climbing Gym is officially announcing the plans to expand our home. After knocking down two walls and a window we will be building a free-standing moonboard, new bar top and a fully fitted gymnasium.

For a long time we’ve managed to utilise the well designed, but very small training corner to attain our gains. With this expansion we hope to provide the facilities to train a far more diverse group of muscles and movements.

The new bar will release the bottle neck created by frothy climbers sharing a drink after training and our stand alone moonboard frees up the spray to allow for a better spread of holds on the 40 degree section.

Building the new Friends and Allies Climbing Gym

The FA Climbing Gym Background

Our home, Friends and Allies, opened its doors on the Feb 1st 2021 after a frensied burst of creative effort by our community.

FA was conceived, born and raised by climbers and we hope to instill that spirit in everything we continue to do. From the beginning we have tried to cater to our community by providing the essentials to foster the growth of our climbers’ journey. For example, our little gear shop, where you can find almost all you need to get yourself on the rock and into missions.

The ‘comp’ wall where we provide regularly set boulders by a diverse team of setters, provides our customers with new movements as well as a space for our setters to hone their skills in the art of setting.

We host a massive spray wall that remains unchanged for an entire year, this is important as it provides a space to project boulders, simulate cruxes, train different energy systems and play games with your fellow climbers.

Last year, we opened the Omsight studio where tri-weekly yoga classes are hosted and members have the space to play freely and comfortably. If you look carefully, you will find a box of toys and training apparatus that can be used for strength training and rehabilitation, as well as a one-of-a-kind transparent campus board.

Along with all of these facilities our climbers can find locally brewed beer to enjoy on our sunset balcony. We believe the care and passion that has been put into everything under our roof is what makes FA such a gem and continues to hold the spirit of climbing captivated and bubbling out of our doors.

Breaking into the new gym space

Why the need for expansion?

As we know, getting any proper conditioning done during a busy night of climbing can be challenging due to the space limitations. By creating a larger area for specific conditioning and training, we hope to alleviate these problems. 

The balcony can also become a hotspot and it is often hard to move through the many conversations and dodge the hands flying about during beta discussions at the doorway.

The new bar counter should spread the clusters and free up the walkways. This is going to become the prime spot, so get it while it’s open!

As we move our dear moonboard into its own spot, we say goodbye to its presence on the spray. Which is actually a great thing because it will relieve all that precious climbing surface for a wider variety of holds that would otherwise be gnarly moonboard grips.

FA Climbing Gym Expansion

The new space broken down

Our new facilities upgrade will play host to an array of new gym equipment, it’s very own moonboard and plenty of space to warm up and stretch. As far as gym equipment goes, we’ve got:

2x Benches with 1.5m Olympic bars and 450kg’s of plates. Full set of Dumbells from 2.5kg up to 25kg. 2 full sets of KettleBells as well as cables you can pull from above and below. 

We believe that by providing the right tools our climbers will be able to develop the strength and skills they need to grow and sustain healthy bodies. With the right knowledge anyone can use the new equipment. Whether you’re looking to make godly gainz or just gently work those weak positions to prevent injury, we’ve got everything you need.

Our new moonboard will be adjustable, allowing you to choose between the official 25 degree or 40 degree angles. It will also be set up with all the holds for the 2016 Moonboard layout.

Working on the Project of FA's expansion

The FA Expansion Timeline

To build something new, one often has to break something else down. The flow of our expansion will go something like this: Design, break, clean, build and finish!

The demolition phase of our upgrades took roughly two full days, where removing the rubble was most of the work. Luckily we find ourselves above the makerspace known as Made In Workshop, where machines and tools are plentiful. So when it comes to building something new we’re in the perfect spot.

Refitting the windows and making the new bar counter took two days while remaining open. There was a considerable hustle to get these things done in time for our two year birthday party, in which we succeeded. 

With regards to the construction of the moonboard, most of it shall be pre-fabricated in the workshop down stairs so that installation doesn’t take more than one or two days.

We are hoping to be finished with all aspects of the expansion by the first week of March. 

Expansion Cleanup

Taking it all together

So to recap, we’ve just added more room for beers. More space and equipment to get swole or remain strong and injury free and an adjustable moonboard to put yourself up against the entire world of board benchmarks.
We feel like this is the least we can do for our amazing community of climbers who support us by repping our gear, sessioning our blocs and most of all making friends by being the most welcoming, warm group of crushers in Joburg.

FA Expansion

Some answers to the FAQ's

  • What led to the need for expansion?
    • After putting out a poll to our community, the most highly received wishes were more space as well as better training facilities. Both of which we’ve just klapped! 
  • When will the new space be available?
    • We hope to be polishing the shiny new upgrades in the first week of March.
  • How will the expansion benefit the climbing community?
    • Our climbers will now be able to train every single muscle group effectively in the new gymnasium. The built-to-spec moonboard will be adjustable, allowing our climbers to try over 30 000 boulder problems at different angles.
  • How will the construction process be managed?
    • Construction will take place during our ‘quiet’ hours and most of the building shall be completed in the workshop downstairs. This will mean we remain open during the entire process and installation time shall be minimal.
  • What is the next step for Friends and Allies Climbing Gym?
    • After an upgrade this large, the only thing left is to polish our existing facilities and wait until we can blow into the rest of the factory space next door! … or maybe find a completely new spot to build a beautiful sibling facility.
Tim Slab

Tim Slab

The Mad Genius behind the technical details of FA & Scallywags Climbing

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