I wouldn’t have predicted that climbing would become so popular, or become an Olympic sport. Our Liverpool site was the seventh bouldering facility in the UK, now there are 90 and four within a one hour radius Ged Macdomhnaill • The Climbing Hangar: founder What’s your background? I launched an event catering business when
Why did you choose Liverpool for the first site?
I was 21, but after three hard years in the
Glasgow would have been my first choice,
kitchen the appeal waned. It was about
as I lived there, but another large climbing
this time that my best friend introduced
centre had just opened there, so I looked
me to climbing in Dorset. Despite being
for the next big city without a climbing
scared of heights and initially nervous,
wall, where I would be prepared to live, and
I absolutely loved it – sleeping in a cave
that was Liverpool.
above a cliff, watching the sunrise and cooking on a stove. I decided to fold my
How has the company developed?
business and learn how to teach climbing,
Our second site, in Parsons Green, was an
which eventually led me to launching The
acquisition of a failing facility in 2015. Only
Climbing Hangar in 2010.
40-50 people a day were visiting, despite it being next to a tube station. We reinspired
What is The Climbing Hangar concept?
the staff and created more of a climbing
It’s a bouldering facility, which means less
culture. Within 18 months we’d doubled the
height than traditional climbing and no
Ged MacDomhnaill launched The
ropes. It is supported by high quality food
Climbing Hangar in 2010
and beverage and event spaces. We run a
turnover and now we’ve more than tripled it. We launched Plymouth in March 2018, taking a punt on the location. I had lived in
pay-as-you-go and a membership model and we give people the opportunity to progress their climbing through coaching and other exercise classes, including circuits and yoga. It was designed and built by Crispin Waddy, who became my business partner and major shareholder. I put together the rest of the offering, drawing on my experience as a teacher to create the courses and my background in catering for the food and beverage element. I persuaded Britain’s number one competition climber, Shauna Coxsey, to come and work for us. Since then she has podiumed at the World Cup twice, been awarded an MBE and secured sponsorship from Red Bull and Adidas, which has been good for our profile when seeking private equity.
Issue 2 2019
Plymouth was launched in 2018 and is now The Climbing Hangar’s flagship site