Climbing and rope safety is generally associated by the public with sport, athletic activity and adventure. With good reason now that sport climbing is included as an Olympic discipline in Tokyo. However, there is lesser public awareness of rope access and working at height, although the sector is equally as important. On 19 and 20 November 2021, Vertical Pro, the trade show for rope access technology will be bringing together companies from the worlds of sport, leisure and working at height to create positive synergy and promote professional exchange. “Together with the German Alpine Association (DAV), their important specialist trade show ‘Halls & Walls’, the International Adventure Park Association (IAPA) and the German Association for Rope Access (FISAT), Vertical Pro will be exhibiting the entire range of products and services for indoor and outdoor climbing and professional rope access and safety systems,” says Klaus Wellmann, CEO Messe Friedrichshafen.
“Industry-born. Sports-driven” this is Skylotec GmbH’s company slogan and according to Florian Wahl, Sales Manager Skylotec Sports, the two sectors go hand in hand. Other “climbing brands”, such as Petzl or Edelrid might primarily be perceived as outdoor companies, although professional rope access and safety systems for working at height forms an important part of their core identity. Climbing is enjoying increased awareness as a trend sports thanks to its inclusion in the Olympics. However, to call Skylotec, Petzl or Edelrid climbing companies does not do them justice. Climbing and mountaineering is often just one part of their business.
“Currently, we generate around 50% of sales with Sport and 50% with our Professional division, says Christoph Driever, Country Manager Petzl Germany. He explains further: “We have a strategic focus on products that make working at height easer, safer and more ergonomic for professional rope access technicians.” In addition, his expectations for the new trade show are just as clear: “We expect stronger growth in coming years in the segments addressed by Vertical Pro.”
At Skylotec, the split is less even. No wonder though, given the firm’s history. The company first launched Skylotec Sport in 2008. “Both sectors complement each other, but here in the Sports division, we’re naturally more ‘modest’ in size than the industry division,” says Florian Wahl.
Daniel Gebel, Head of Innovation at Edelrid in Isny, describes the combination of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) from the industrial working at height sector and safety systems from the sport climbing sector as what make Vertical Pro particularly interesting. Despite the fact that the Allgau-based company generates some 60 per cent of its sales through sport climbing. “Never before has there been such an opportunity for exchanging ideas and information between these two disciplines that are closely connected and yet completely separate. We hope that this exchange will enable use to advance technical developments at all levels,” explains Daniel Gebel as he underlines just how important he sees such a coming together: “In the medium term, Vertical Pro has the potential to become the most important international event for everyone working at height. We see Vertical Pro as a platform to get informed about all the latest developments in all areas.”
All participants are hoping that Vertical Pro be able to take place live, in full technicolor glory: “It will be possible to see and handle products, and hold discussions, face-to-face. The social aspect with talks and discussions that often take place in the evenings will be an important part of such a platform.”