Open again Climbing forest at Hardtbergbad in Bonn offers many new features

Bonn · The climbing forest at Hardtbergbad has reopened. The new operators have remodelled the courses to make them family-friendly. The offer will also remain open during the outdoor pool renovation.

From tree to tree on a sledge: Janne has fun in the climbing forest. Photo: Stefan Knopp

From tree to tree on a sledge: Janne has fun in the climbing forest. Photo: Stefan Knopp

Foto: Stefan Knopp

Course three in the climbing forest on the Hardtbergbad grounds is not without its challenges, says Max. The eleven-year-old signed up with his family for the opening of the action park on Wednesday and thinks the forest is cool. "It's a bit challenging, but you can manage it." His sister Hanna is already 13 and a little more experienced. "It's actually easy for me," she says.

The climbing forest is finally open again, and there's a lot going on on the very first day. "I didn't expect the day to be fully booked," says Sascha Podeiko, Managing Director of Boulders Habitat together with Christoph Klein. The climbing hall operators have taken over the forest from the previous provider Bronx Rock and have remodelled a few things. The most important change: the courses are now more family-friendly and almost everything can be completed by children from the age of six accompanied by their parents.

"We have defused two key points," says Klein. One of them was the long ropeway across an outdoor pool meadow, where climbers used to get stuck. Either because they didn't have enough momentum or because they failed to land on the target platform. Then they either had to struggle to get to their destination themselves and arrive there exhausted, or they had to be pulled there with a telescopic pole. Either way, it was a frustrating experience, which the bathers down on the lawn watched with amusement. The other section was the spiral-shaped "DNA ropes" that you had to pass through, a difficult thing for many.

The most important innovation is the modern safety system

Other things have also been adapted. All age groups can now hold on to the retaining ropes, which used to hang too high for some children. According to Klein, many of the wire ropes have also been replaced. They are now easier to move. From the organisers' point of view, however, the most important innovation is the modern safety system.

The climbing forest was set up 13 years ago. "It was a relative novelty back then," says Klein. "A lot has happened technically since then." The safety harnesses are downright high-tech: "It's a communicating safety system." The climbers carry two interconnected carabiners, which can only be opened and closed alternately and only on red and black magnets: this ensures that one is always attached to a wire rope.

As before, there is assistance with putting on the harness and a briefing on the equipment before the start. Then you first have to complete a practice course, which only involves the use of carabiners and pulleys. Only then can you really get into the trees. There are four routes to choose from and, according to Klein, a fifth is in preparation. The highest point so far is at a height of twelve metres.

Various challenges on the course

"I think it's good that the elements are so varied," says Max. There are folded beer tent tables, crates of drinks, you have to walk through a series of rope loops, shimmy along vertical boards with kicking and gripping aids, on the easiest course there is a bobby car ride over a wobbly bridge and on the second a toboggan ride between two trees awaits the daredevils. "The coolest thing for me was the zigzag bridge," says Max. You walk on pieces of wood arranged in a criss-cross pattern, and the bridge also leans slightly to one side. Hanna thought the following zip wire was the best.

"I think it's a lot of fun," says Janne (10). She found the part with the sledge, which slides on two wire ropes, difficult. It's not so easy to sit on it, although you can hook the runners in at one point. "And it hangs a bit at the end." The family has already been through several climbing centres, in the Vulkaneifel and in Bad Honnef, for example, and thinks the offer in Duisdorf is good. Especially because in the outdoor pool season you can use your admission ticket to go swimming straight after climbing. The toddler river course is already in operation.

Lots of visitors on opening day

Some parents feel that there is room for improvement on the instruction course: it gets congested when a large group goes there after putting on their harnesses. Things that are still being worked on, says Podeiko: they have only just started. The two had a slightly increased pulse rate on Monday due to the defusing of the aerial bomb on the outdoor pool site. This was found during exploratory work for the planned renovation, for which the Hardtbergbad will be closed for a planned two seasons from autumn. However, the climbing forest will remain open the whole time, only details still need to be clarified, such as the question of where the entrance will be. Another new feature is the climbing forest's own catering service, which will remain open at least until the pool reopens.

In the meantime, it was so full on the opening day that spontaneous visits were no longer possible. The operators published a notice on the homepage.

(Original text: Stefan Knopp; Translation: Mareike Graepel)

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