While the fields of mountaineering and trekking have been large in Nepal for decades, gym-trained rock climbing as a sport is relatively new. Those more intense mountain sports take years of training, time, and money to even begin, but rock climbing is different. Anyone, of any athletic background or level of skill, can walk into a gym, rent a day pass and some shoes, and get on the wall.
Rock climbing, both indoors and outdoors, varies depending on the country. Each new place I travel to carries its own style and flare in the routes they set up, the layout of their walls, and the general environment of their gyms. Nepal’s rock climbing community is on a roll and getting more popular by the day, it seems.
The realm of professional and recreational rock climbing in Nepal is flourishing with the introduction of new gyms and increasing opportunities for climbers of all levels. Kathmandu Sport Climbing Center (KSCC) has just opened its doors in Thamel and has shown a vision to better the sport nationwide, though it is by no means alone. Astrek Climbing Wall, a popular rock gym also located in Thamel that has Nepal’s highest artificial climbing wall, has been a favorite among those in the know for some time already.
The founders of KSCC (Pranil Man Shrestha, Rusha Pradhan, Sujit Kandel, and Madhu Shrestha) have worked hard to open a space that provides new options for the climbers of Nepal. New-age crash pads have been included to ensure the safety of climbers jumping down from the bouldering wall. An extensive lead climbing was constructed for more advanced climbers, as well as the first speed climbing wall in the country.
A main focus of KSCC is to further the training of Nepali climbers in all disciplines, so that the country can advance in the Olympics and other global competitions. By including the training in the different events, the gym is taking steps toward building the country’s reputation on an international level. Additionally, the company is taking steps to empower female climbers and increase the number of women competing internationally. They truly are aiming to increase the sport as a whole, for any and everyone who is interested.
While other gyms can have a distinctly, and sometimes exclusively, advanced feeling, KSCC has something for everyone. The professional walls are set next to those for beginners and a mini wall for children. Bringing people in at a young age is another way to increase the prevalence of the sport in future generations.
KSCC has already been a huge success, with eager climbers arriving even before the gym’s opening to track the status of the wall. Each day new customers arrive to check out the fresh facility. The future of rock climbing in Nepal is looking up, and hopefully more gyms will soon join the quest to further the country in the global field of the sport.