Sunday, September 16

Project: Climbing Wall

I used to rock climb but never got really super into it. Even now I think it's more of necessary mountaineering skill than an objective in and of itself. However I thought a climbing gym/cave at home would be a great winter alternative and another way to lure friends to join in the fun. I've been scouting craigslist for a couple months waiting for a deal and this week I found it. Picked up a huge lot of mostly new holds for $120 including bolts and a crapload of t-nuts. This should be enough to get me started.
Now do I put the climbing wall up here when the shell leaves shortly? It's very long since a full car fits in it with 6-8 feet more behind it. It's a little taller than the shed if you factor in that your head could go above the rafters even if holds aren't taller than the rafters. However it is a bigger space to heat in the winter and serious overhangs will take up extra space that I'm not sure I want to give up.
Or do I build a full on cave in here?
Lots of room and no restrictions (all that stuff is being sold)...
Anyone out there have an opinion? I'm leaning towards the shed since it's quite large (15ft+ by 11.5ft+ inside) and has reasonably high ceilings. Overhangs or ceiling holds would be no problem. Smaller space to warm up and pad the floor too. Can't wait to finish up a design and buy some wood!


Mike said...

I'd build it wherever you have the greatest vertical height, that's the biggest limiter. You can always build features like a cave, and eave or sections of inverted pitch, but as you know it's very difficult to add height.

As for heat, you can get an Indoor propane Mr. Heater for about $130.

Sweet find on the holds! Hopefully by the time you're done I'll be fully recovered :) Judging by the car that's sitting in your garage though I don't expect to be climbing until the decade plays out.

Chris said...

The biggest height is the garage by a little. Of course if I go above the rafters then you have to try not to fall on them :o

The car is leaving very shortly too the big scrap metal yard in the sky. I've got about 3-4 things left on my list to pull off of it and it's going bye bye.

Either way I've got the drywall to finish it already and hope to get that done in late October after the 24 Hours of Moab. Then I'll put the climbing wall up.

Dave said...

20 degrees overhanging is IMO the most useful angle. Adding a vertical "kicker" panel about 12-18" high at the bottom is useful.

I've built a couple climbing walls, and thick plywood is better. Definitely no less than 3/4".

Chris said...


Considering I have essentially a LOT of space, what kind of areas would you build? I assume not just all a 20 deg overhang so it didn't get repetitive? I'd have to measure but I'm sure it's over 20 feet on the side wall alone or the shed is almost 60 feet of walls using all 4 sides.

Dave said...

If you want to get tricky, and as an engineer I imagine you would, I'd follow these general rules:

-between vertical and 30 degrees overhung

-all transition angles should be obtuse

-make all distinct areas (zones at a certain angle) at least 8' wide

The exception to this can be transitions from opposing walls, ie parrallel walls in a room. A steep wall leading to a roof leading to a less steep wall can create lots of options for longer circuits.

Though the steeper the wall means you need larger holds, which as a rule are substantially more expensive.

I've also found texturizing the plywood to be a waste, it just causes more skin loss.

Cellarrat said...

I'll have to get you some holds for you for an early xmas peasant!