Set Up a Climbing Wall

Set Up a Climbing Wall
Building your own rock climbing wall can be a simple weekend affair or an involved carpentry project depending on the resources you have available and the structures that already exist in your home. The main parts of a climbing wall are the wall itself, the holds and the floor. A large part of the fun you'll have climbing depends on the arrangement of the holds as you build the wall.


Difficulty: Easy

Step 1
Determine what your wall surface will be. Building a rock wall is easiest if you have an existing wall to use, either indoors or outdoors. You may also build onto an existing treehouse or other structure by adding a sheet of plywood.
Step 2
Construct a surface out of wood if you don't already have one. If you're constructing a freestanding surface it needs to have multiple sides to be structurally sound, and be sunk and rooted to the ground.
Step 3
Select a variety of holds. You should plan to have about one hold per square foot, though they don't have to be precisely spaced in this way.
Step 4
Select mostly medium-sized holds of all shapes and types, and a small proportion of footholds.
Step 5
Orient the holds so that there are mostly footholds at the bottom of the wall.
Step 6
Rotate some of the holds so that you have a variety of grip methods to choose from. You'll want some to be oriented sideways, others upside down and others right-side up.
Step 7
Place larger holds on the steeper areas of your wall if it has any angled areas. If the wall is flat, place the larger holds about three quarters of the way up the wall, where you may be getting fatigued but are not finished climbing yet.
Step 8
Follow the instructions for each hold carefully when selecting a bolt. Different holds require different types of bolts.
Step 9
Use a T-handle hex wrench when tightening bolts. A T-handle is easier to turn and makes it easier to access the bolt head inside the hold.
Step 10
Mark out climbing routes with colored electrical tape after you are finished. Good routes restrict the total number of holds you use, the number of footholds you use or any other factor.

Tips & Warnings

When you're bolting the holds, don't bolt them too tightly or you may damage the hold. You do need to make sure that the unthreaded portion of the bolt does not extend past the hold, however, because that will keep you from tightening the hold enough. Pad your floor surface so that you don't hurt yourself with a minor fall. Woodchips are good for an outdoors wall, and a mattress, floor pillows or other mats are all good choices indoors.

Article Written By Lesley Graybeal

Lesley Graybeal is a life-long nature and travel lover who spends her free time hiking and climbing in the Appalachians and the Rockies, and has also enjoyed mountain hikes in New Zealand, Ireland, Switzerland, South Korea, and Tibet.

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