The EICA (Edinburgh International Climbing Arena) is the biggest covered climbing arena in the world and the management team has acquired a Leo30T 30 m working height Teupen spider from Ranger Equipment, Teupen's exclusive distributor in the UK and Ireland. EICA's climbing arena manager, Nic Crawshaw, said, "It offered big advantages in speed, manoeuvrability and reliability over other platforms we had previously used and it has really increased the efficiency of route-setting on the climbing walls, our core business."
The arena is constructed against a sheer quarry rock face, the floor area is 65m by 55m in area, and the wall almost 30m tall in places. It was designed to accommodate international competitions and is covered with a 60m by 100m glazed roof, supported on eight triangular lattice trusses some 70m long.
The dynamic climbing space poses other aerial challenges when it comes to maintenance, cleaning and activity management. The Leo30T's 30 m working height and 15.7 m maximum outreach, which is usable at full platform capacity of 200kg, allows staff to navigate the centre's complex 'airspace' to carry out a variety of tasks. These include setting and replacing climbing holds, vacuuming rock dust from the man-made climbing surfaces, maintaining and reconfiguring aerial assault course equipment, as well as accessing light rigs and other roof level services.
"We have a substantial venue to look after with numerous, difficult high spaces to access for routine maintenance, inside and out," said Mr Crawshaw. "The Leo allows us to access all of it quickly and effectively.
"The climbs on the walls are our core product, so we invest a lot of time in route-setting. A route-setter who is experienced using the Leo can probably triple the productivity of someone working on ropes. Compared to other platforms, the Leo is noticeably quicker due to its fast set-up time as well as speed of movement."
The reach of the machine allows more to be achieved from one position.
"We don't really need to do any repositioning with the Leo, "said Mr Crawshaw. "Each route is colour coded, with 50 or 60 holds to be bolted on in sequence to create a level of difficulty. The platform allows personnel to concentrate on the process of route setting, without having to shift the chassis and interrupt the flow of work."
The climbing hall floor is partly laid with a 70mm thick rubber matting, with natural stone pavers completing the floor scheme. The Leo's cushioned, load-dispersing tracks and low surface loads relieve the impact of taking a 4.2 t machine, although comparatively light, onto the easily damaged substrates.
"We can track the Leo over the mat without any worries about damage. We then lift four squares up to set the stabilisers, and are ready to work," comments Mr Crawshaw.
The Leo30T exerts a surface load of less than 2.0 kN/m2 is below the modern floor design limit of 5.0kN/m2.
During the key national and international events held at the EICA the arena hires in additional Leos to help with preparations.
"It takes up to a week to prepare for a big competition," says Mr Crawshaw. "We have to preset and then store away the holds for each of the competition routes so that they are ready when route changes are needed mid-programme. Everything has to be really well planned and slick, and the Leo plays a critical part."
The EICA personnel have also been impressed with Ranger Equipment's service and technical support.