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Could bouldering be your next adventure?

When Go Ape adventurers come back to the ground after a day out many wonder, “what can I do next?” Adrenaline still thrumming through their bodies, the treetops and future thrills seem far away from their day-to-day. But it’s so easy to add a little adventure into your life!

Joey Powis, explorer, outdoor enthusiast and co-founder of the new climbing centre, The Font, explains how bouldering is a fun and multi-skilled discipline which can bring the mountains and adventure closer to home.

For context, Joey and Richard Allison (the co-founders) are no strangers to some pretty intense adventures. They got to know each other through tough endurance challenges like Ironman triathlons, 120-mile Kayaks and ultra-marathons before swapping a life in the city for a new adventure start-up.

bouldering gym with customers

Hi Joey, Can you tell us a little bit about The Font?

The Font is made up of 11,000 square foot of world class bouldering as well as functional fitness areas and a brilliant café/bar. Our ethos is Climb, Train & Connect. Bringing together local communities in spaces they can climb on world-class walls, train in a welcoming gym environment, and then connect over coffee, beer and burgers!

Why did you choose a climbing gym as your adventure startup?

Along with the many tough endurance challenges Rich and I have convinced each other to do, we would meet up at our local climbing wall each week as a way to decompress from hectic city jobs. It was a great way to hang out and exercise both our bodies and our mind. So, when we started talking about creating an adventurous start-up, a climbing gym was our first thought.

Now with Climbing being included in the Olympics this year, the whole sport has gained so much more attention and people are becoming more aware of it. We hope that this will only grow and people will put their bouldering skills to the test at The Font!

Man in white hanging on bouldering wall
woman in grey looking up at climbing wall

Who do you need to be to boulder?

To new people, climbing may seem quite intimidating. There’s ropes, loads of gear and a lot of strange language. Bouldering is that much easier. All you need is a pair of climbing shoes and maybe some chalk (all of which can be rented at The Font or brought along).

Pretty much anyone can boulder. Our route setters are experienced (and some are ex-team GB) but they create a real range of bouldering routes suitable for all abilities. At the Font you can start climbing at 4 years old and we have a structured coaching pathway for anyone who wants to progress in the sport. I can assure you there are routes you’ll be able to flash (climbing term for do the first time).

"Bouldering is also great for improving mental health. You’re very much, “in the moment” as you climb, which helps you take a break from daily anxiety and stresses."

What are the benefits of bouldering?

Bouldering is as much cerebral as it is physical. As you develop your strength, flexibility and fitness you are exercising the problem-solving part of your brain. The best climbers take a moment to figure the best way up the wall before touching the holds.

Bouldering is also great for improving mental health. You’re very much, “in the moment” as you climb, which helps you take a break from daily anxiety and stresses.

woman jumping from bouldering wall

Why “The Font”?

The name “The Font”, was inspired by the French town, Fontainebleau, which is famously a bouldering Mecca. When creating “The Font” we tried tried to take inspiration from the sandy colours of Fontainebleau rather than replicating the clinical bright blues and whites of leisure centres.

Sometimes it feels like the sport of climbing has become very distanced from where it began, outside. At The Font we try and bring the feeling of the mountains and the outdoors a bit closer to home.

"When creating The Font we tried to take inspiration from the sandy colours of Fontainebleau rather than replicating the clinical bright blues and whites of leisure centres."

Do you have any advice about to living life more adventurously?

It’s simple, but when you put yourself outside of your comfort zone it really helps you grow as a person. You don’t need to do something everyday, but push yourself to give something new a go and overcome your fears.

Nervous of heights? Just start a couple of metres off the ground in a bouldering gym.

Do you have any adventures on the horizon?

At the moment Rich, myself and the team are very much focusing on making The Font as fun and adventurous as is possible. Within the next few months we’re hoping to introduce Yoga, Pilates and personal training classes to The Font. Perhaps further down the line we’ll take a team trip to Fontainebleau.

That’s the thing about bouldering, once you’re confident on the walls you can start thinking about how to take your skills outside and how to create your next adventure. 

Win a family climbing session at The Font!

To help you and your tribe live life more adventurously we've teamed up with The Font to giveaway a family climbing session.

Lasting a whole hour, the winner and their family will have the opportunity to give this fantastic sport a go under the watchful eye of one of The Font's experienced coaches.

To enter simply click the link below and leave a comment on the competition post to tell us why you want to give bouldering a go with your family.

Giveaway closed, but follow our channels for more awesome competitions.


Giveaway Terms and Conditions

  1. Competition is open from Monday 2nd August - Friday 6th August 2021.
  2. To enter, entrants must comment on the original Facebook post on one of the qualifying Go Ape pages between the competition dates. Qualifying Facebook pages are; Go Ape Alexandra Palace, Go Ape Battersea, Go Ape Black Park, Go Ape Chessington and Go Ape Cockfosters.
  3. One entry per person.
  4. The competition is not open to Go Ape or The Font staff.
  5. One competition winner will be selected at random from entries received on Facebook.
  6. In the event that the winner is not contactable within 48 hours of the competition closing, Go Ape reserves the right to contact another winner.
  7. The winner will be announced on the Facebook competition posts on Monday 9th August 2021.
  8. The prize: A family climbing session at The Font climbing centre.
  9. The prize is not redeemable in cash.
  10. The competition is in no way supported or endorsed by Facebook.

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