Today I’ve visited the B.Bloc Urban Climbing Gym in Gangnam with a new friend from California.
One of the reasons why I came here was Chon Jongwon – currently the 3rd best rock climber on IFSC ranking. I’ve read recently that he was supposed to be the owner or at least part owner of this gym. I wanted to check this facility out, and maybe, I could see him climbing live again. Last year, I watched the Adidas cup live in Stuttgart and was really amazed by his climbing skill. He won the 2nd place there. And other reasons were, of course, to check out new boulder challenges or styles and meet new people.
How to find it?
The first challange of all is to find the right way and entrance to B.Bloc. If you use Naver Map App, unfortunately Naver doesn’t know B.Bloc. You’d need to enter “Bibeulleok” as search term in the app to find the way there.
The closes subway station I’ve found is Hak-dong, from where you need to walk for about 10 min. Just take the exit #10, then go straight until you reach the huge Segwan-Junction. At best, you may cross the street here to the same side of B.Bloc before turning left. Then just follow the main road until you see a noticeable glass-red-metal entrance on the right side. There you’ll find the door to enter the basement, where B.Bloc is located.
How is the facility?
After passing the main door, you’ll find the reception on the right side. Behind of it, there’s a small glass cabinet containing all medals and awards that Chon Jongwon has won so far. Really impressive!
Further on the left is a coffee corner with one of his painted portrait. Unfortunately he was not there today…
It seems that this boulder gym is not as large as The Climb Hongdae and it has no window. Like in other public locations in Korea, your street shoes must stay outside of the main area. Here they provide you here slippers to use inside.
After walking through the boulder hall, you’ll reach the locker rooms with showers. They even have clean towels for visitors, which I’ve never seen elsewhere. The WCs are outside of this gym, however quickly accessible.
The small area between the two locker rooms is used for training. Finger training board, chin up, yoga mats, etc. are available.
We were in the gym in the afternoon and could see only few climbers on the wall. So that we could try out every route we’d like to.
How are the challenges?
Even when the grips were good, it was not easy for me to climb here. To find the right route is a little bit tricky: one route is defined by the color of grips, tape and label on the tape. Some routes even go into each other, some could you the same grips, etc. That makes it even more difficult to see, which grips you’re allowed to use, which not. Furthermore, many routes seem to be built for Chon Jongwon, who is 176cm tall and strong, but not for a 160cm girl like me. I had to make a lot of dynamic moves, even jump, to be able to solve some pink problems (V2-3). And I really hate to do dynamic moves…
Maybe this is the place I should visit more often to can get use to those?
Please visit B.Bloc’s Homepage for more updates (unfortunately only in Korean). Here is some information about the difficulty level and entrance fee.