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New opportunities . . . A group of North Otago climbers celebrate the official opening of a new bouldering room at the Waitaki Community Recreation Centre. PHOTO: SUPPLIED

The Waitaki Community Recreation Centre is scaling new heights.

Last week, a group of about 20 climbers celebrated the official opening of a new bouldering room at the centre. It also features a MoonBoard, one of only two in the South Island.

The bouldering room was built by volunteers from the North Otago section of the New Zealand Alpine Club (NZAC) and a grant from Network Waitaki helped fund the project, NZAC North Otago committee member Nick Shearer said.

Shearer described bouldering as a “form of rock climbing where the participant is not roped up, but places a safety mat underneath them to prevent injury”.

“There is no need for ropes and harnesses; only climbing shoes and a bag of chalk are required.

“The challenge is to climb short but tricky bouldering route, or sequence of moves) using balance, technique, strength and your brain.”

Bouldering was growing in popularity as a sport around the world, and would be one of the three disciplines of climbing making its debut at this year’s Olympic Games in Tokyo, Shearer said.

The bouldering room’s 40-degree MoonBoard has holds equipped with LED lights.

The lights are connected to an app that is loaded with thousands of pre-loaded climbs of varying difficulty.

“You can climb on the same problems as other climbers from around the world, and users can climb, rate and log their ascents,” Shearer said.

The bouldering room is open to the public for casual use, or for those climbing on the adjacent climbing wall at regular weekly sessions.