How to Build a Kids Rock-Climbing Wall

How to Build a Kids Rock-Climbing Wall
Rock climbing is a great sport to use to build children's strength, balance and stamina. The sport also brings families together, whether outside at the crags or indoors at a climbing wall. Building a small version of a climbing wall allows children to develop needed skills for advanced rock climbing when they get older and bigger. A children's climbing wall is build-able in a garage or basement and may be modified over time as the child learns the moves and grows.


Difficulty: Moderately Challenging

Things You’ll Need:
  • Assortment of climbing hand and foot holds, large and not difficult
  • Climbing wall epoxy
  • Measuring tape
  • Stud finder
  • Marker
  • Power drill
  • Power saw
  • Plywood sheets
  • 2 by 4 timbers, 8 to 10
  • Bolts, nuts and washers
  • Wood screws
  • Polyresin wall chunks
  • Carabiners
  • Pulleys
  • Pitons/bolts
Step 1
Measure the location where you wish to build the wall. Take the height and width of the wall you will use. Use the stud finder to locate the timber frame behind the sheet rock on the wall. Mark the locations of the studs with the marker.
Step 2
Place the plywood sheets against the wall and drill them onto the studs. Once they are drilled in using the screws, add extra retaining strength by drilling holes to place bolts through the plywood into the studs. Mark the ceiling above the studs with a hash mark from the marker, so you know where the ceiling timbers meet with the studs.
Step 3
Place the polyresin climbing wall squares against the plywood. Start at the upper-left-hand corner and drill the polyresin wall pieces onto the plywood. Take advantage of the stud marks to drill the polyresin squares onto the studs as well as the plywood. This is important for the extra retention strength offered by the studs. Continue until the entire plywood wall is covered with the polyresin climbing wall.
Step 4
Assemble your handhold and foothold pieces and determine how you wish to assemble them on the wall. Ideas include going from left to right from easiest holds to hardest or establishing 5.4- and 5.5-rated routes for children. These ratings are based on ease of use and holds. Do not build a children's wall with routes harder than a 5.6 or 5.7. The 5.4 and 5.5 routes are considered easy while the 5.6 and 5.7 routes are considered moderate easy to moderate, according to Climbing Wall Ratings website.
Step 5
Drill the holes for the handholds and footholds into the polyresin wall. Epoxy the bottom of the handholds and footholds and then bolt them onto the drilled positions on the wall. When the children grow and becomes tired of the same routes, unscrew the bolts and use an epoxy dissolver to remove and place the holds in new positions along the wall.
Step 6
Locate the hash marks on the ceiling and measure out 12 inches from the climbing wall. Drill a hole into the ceiling timber frame and attach the anchor for the ropes used on the climbing wall. Use a pulley and locking carabiner attached to a climbing bolt/piton for the anchor off the stud.

Article Written By Eric Cedric

A former Alaskan of 20 years, Eric Cedric now resides in California. He's published in "Outside" and "Backpacker" and has written a book on life in small-town Alaska, "North by Southeast." Cedric was a professional mountain guide and backcountry expedition leader for 18 years. He worked in Russia, Iceland, Greece, Turkey and Belize. Cedric attended Syracuse University and is a private pilot.

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