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Paris World Championship 2016:
The fastest climbing wall assembly

In 2016, a large team of Walltopians was sent to Paris, but not on a romantic vacation. Their mission was to build about 700 square meters (7500 sq ft) of climbing walls in the largest sports arena in the region – Bercy. A facility of this scale usually takes about 25-30 days to build. However, our team had 72 hours to complete this task on time for the World Climbing Championship. Many people, even within the company, were skeptical that this was possible at all.

For the event we had to install 4 walls – a 15 m (50 ft) Lead climbing wall, a 15 m (50 ft) Speed climbing wall, and two Boulder walls – one for the qualifications and one for the finals. All climbing walls were self-standing making the engineering and assembly of the steel structure more complicated compared to when the walls are attached to the existing building structure.

As usual, the installation began with the unloading of the materials, and this is when the first unexpected challenge popped up. Contrary to the expectations, the truck that delivered the 45 tons of steel construction and 700 square meters (7500 sq. ft) of plywood, could not enter the sports arena and all materials had to be unloaded on the street outside and then had to be carried inside piece by piece manually. The unloading itself took practically a full day, which had not been planned for at all.

“The first day was quite frustrating because most of the machinery failed. That’s when I got worried,” shares Alexander Mirchev, project manager.

“My biggest concern was … that the technicians might beat me up. The next one was whether we would be able to meet the deadline,” says Joseph Jebawi, another project manager.

It takes more than 25 days to install such a facility. In order to be able to fit in the short timeline, a large part of our technician teams from all over Europe were summoned to Paris. A regular assembly team consists of 4-5 people. To make the magic happen for the Paris World Championship 24 of the most experienced technicians worked tirelessly for 72 hours. According to Alexander Mirchev, good teamwork was the essential and most important factor that made the impossible assembly happen on time.