Mini Mighty - 5 years in
In Dec 2014, I starred in this video that explained the idea behind what I saw then as a DIY-ready, easy to install climbing wall for kids. Little did I know that 5 years later, this would be my go-to design for our standard climbing wall offering in all our playgrounds.
When I first went to my trusted fabrication team with a design for this wall in Nov 2014, it was literally on a folded sheet of paper - I had cut 2 square pieces of paper and folded one to look like to bottom shape of a climbing wall and the other to fit on top of it. My fabricators did a great job with the prototype.
We had our first client for this wall, but I had no idea what to call it. After a few conversations with good friends, I had narrowed down the name to "Mini Mighty".
The purple and the yellow walls used to demonstrate the Mini Mighty in the video were exported to Dubai. These were both plywood walls. The first Aluminium Mini Mighty was a stand alone wall we installed at PLaY junior, Bangalore.
I decided to put the Mini Mighty on a crowd funding platform in Jan 2015. On Jan 14th 2015 while Tommy Caldwell and Kevin Jorgeson claimed the first free ascent of the big face of the Dawn Wall on El Capitan in Yosemite, California after spending 19 days on the vertical 3000 feet wall, I was counting the few initial dollars that was contributed towards our crowd funding campaign. No history was made on this campaign, unlike the free ascent of the Dawn Wall. It was very naive on my part to think that this campaign was going to make us enough to start a production line for the Mini Mighty. We didn't make much to even cover the cost of putting up the campaign, but what I learned from this experience was how to run a crowd funding campaign.
All through 2015, 2016 and 2017 hardly anyone in India knew of climbing as a sport and not too many people had considered getting their kids to climb, except some brave parents and educators who were open to the idea.
Today, 5 years after our first Mini Mighty, it is a part of almost every playground I design. The acceptance for climbing as a sport and a tool for motor skill development has let us propose and install more than 150 Mini Mightys till date in preschools and homes for kids to enjoy.
The Mini Mighty is many things: a stand alone play element in a playground, a wall mounted climbing wall, part of other play equipment, access to a loft in one case; we have put tires on it instead of holds; it has been installed 6 ft tall, 8 ft tall, 10 ft tall and 12 ft tall; two or more have been mounted parallel to each other to make larger climbing walls; they have been painted in many different colours. The youngest climber to use a Mini Mighty was 18 months old when she first tried it in 2016. I have also designed two variants of the Mini Mighty that I call Type 2 and Type 3, though they are not as popular as the very first design.
I am glad for the success of the Mini Mighty and it has come a long way since its early days, though nothing much has changed in terms of the design. Below are some of pictures of our Mini Mighty installations from Dec 2019 to Feb 2020.
With climbing becoming a part of the 2020 Olympics, I have hope that more parents will be interested in getting their kids to climb and the Mini Mighty will be there to make that happen.