The world’s first climbing wall built from coat hooks
Glasgow Climbing Centre and Spectrum Plastics have built the first ever indoor climbing wall made from coat
hooks. The Toughook plastic coat hooks were provided by Spectrum Plastics and the indoor route built by
the team from Glasgow Climbing Centre. The climbers spent the morning climbing the wall to test the
strength and resilience of the hooks.
Tony Hopkinson, the managing director of Spectrum Plastics designed the Toughook from his injection
moulding factory in Poulton-le-Fylde. The Toughook was designed as a safer alternative to metal hooks
typically found in changing rooms, schools and nurseries. The plastic material and clever design mean that
the hook is not only far safer at eye-level but is virtually unbreakable, something Tony was keen to put to the
“When I designed the Toughook I knew the design was strong. I tested the hook in my factory and couldn’t
break it no matter what I tried. After holding on to the hooks and hanging off them myself, I thought they
would be strong enough to build a climbing wall from.”
When the manager of Glasgow Climbing Centre, Rob Watts, got in touch
with Tony about purchasing some Toughooks for his changing rooms, Tony
had a bright idea. He asked Rob if he would be interested in a challenge.
“Tony asked me if we thought we’d be able to make a climbing route out of
Toughooks. I was quite skeptical that a coat hook could be used for
climbing. It’s not just about being strong. A climbing hold has to take the
entire weight of the person climbing sometimes, they need to be not just
strong, but secure and sturdy.”
After receiving their box of Toughooks, the route-setting team at Glasgow
Climbing Centre got to work constructing the coat hook climbing wall. Choosing a section of their bouldering
room, they placed Toughooks not only in a vertical rise, but along tricky overhead section.
The climbers made the first steps onto the make-shift climbing wall and nerves were high. Tony had always claimed his hooks were strong enough to climb up, but this was the real test. The team quickly realised that the hooks were more than strong enough to hold their weight and were soon
attempting more and more complicated moves.
“We thought the hooks would be strong, but we weren’t prepared for quite
how much we could throw at them. I was able to climb the entire route and
perform some pretty advanced moves, and not a single Toughook broke. I
think it proves they are more than strong enough for our changing rooms.”
After congratulating everybody on a job well done, Rob and his team got to work removing the Toughooks
and putting the regular holds back on the wall. The Toughooks are now back where they belong, in the
changing room, where they should remain for years to come doing the far less strenuous job of holding coats