Beginner building a climbing wall


Original Post
Benjamin Bleasdale · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Feb 2017 · Points: 0

It has been ten years since I've been climbing. I'd like to get back into it. Wall will be mostly for exercise. We have a large garage and I'd like to build a climbing wall in it. Construction should be easy, as House framing is my job. I have some advice on what holds to buy, most of the wall will be inclined. I have no ideas about which brand or type. What're the best anchors for a top rope, and if there's a device so I can belay myself without spending the 2k on an auto belay.
Thanks

Wall design

Jim Titt · · Germany · Joined Nov 2009 · Points: 0

Just mats/old matresses on the floor unless your garage is gigantic.

Benjamin Bleasdale · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Feb 2017 · Points: 0

At the peak I'll be 16 ft off the ground and don't feel like taking a fall. Mats or not. I'll feel much more secure with a rope and harness especially since I plan on goin higher so the knowledge would be helpful

Bryce Adamson · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Apr 2015 · Points: 38

Based on your drawing, installing a toprope sounds like a bad idea. Have you considered how far you'll swing out from the wall if you fall? What will you hit if you fall from the lower half and are dragged/stumble across the ground? You could install anchors running up the height of the wall for directionals, but you'll have to think about how you will re-clip them on your way down (I'm assuming you aren't going to lead it). Plus, consider that if you are relying on a rope to climb a small home wall, the benefits for exercise are much diminished. If 16' is too far to fall, you would probably get a lot more out of building a smaller wall and do laps, traverses, etc. for distance.

John Barritt · · OKC · Joined Oct 2016 · Points: 888

BITD Duane built a garage gym that went up all four walls and under the rafters. It was 16' to the top of the overhangs. He went to every upholstery shop and carpet store in town. Scavenged carpet pad and old cushions, shredded it into smaller pieces and piled it in the floor about 2' deep like a ball pit. Worked like a charm. JB

Benjamin Bleasdale · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Feb 2017 · Points: 0

Since you're determined to not answer those questions, could you at least reccomend some good holds for a steep wall?

will ar · · San Antonio, TX · Joined Jan 2010 · Points: 215

My garage ceiling is 12' high and the wall is 36' wide with varying angles (wraps around 3 walls of my garage). I've got more than enough height and terrain to train for longer routes. I would agree with what others are saying about skipping the ropes and make it a little shorter if necessary. Unless you have 50' tall walls and always have partners available to belay you ropes are not going to add much value to your training or even climbing for fun.

When you climbed 10 years ago how much experience did you have on indoor walls? Have you climbed much in general or on indoor walls recently? I've seen a lot of people who were relative beginners put a lot of time and materials into a home wall and the end result didn't have much utility. Your initial sketch strikes me as potentially falling into this category.

There are also many other forums on here discussing home wall design with some really great info.

will ar · · San Antonio, TX · Joined Jan 2010 · Points: 215
Benjamin Bleasdale wrote:Since you're determined to not answer those questions,
If you're referring to the top rope anchor/belay system no one is answering because there isn't a good option and your wall is too short to make roped climbing practical.

Benjamin Bleasdale wrote: could you at least reccomend some good holds for a steep wall?
Atomik would be my recommended brand as they are probably the best value. They may not have as many interesting or unique shapes, but they are still good quality and you can buy a lot of them (your initial concern with a good sized home wall is going to be having enough holds to get a decent density). Start by looking in the jugs section. Read the descriptions-there will usually be some comment about what type of terrain a hold is ideal for.
scott fuzz · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Feb 2014 · Points: 0

hey benj, check out- facebook.com/groups/homecli...
lotsa stuff on there-

DrRockso · · Red River Gorge, KY · Joined Sep 2013 · Points: 181

My recommendation would be a 30 degree overhanging wall. If you haven't climbed in 10 years you aren't going to want to go much steeper, and you can add what are called volumes later on to increase and vary the angle. If you think of most outdoor climbing, it is primarily flat, a bunch of angle changes is more novelty than useful when it comes to ease of setting good routes. With a 12 foot wall this will put you 10.4 feet off the wall plus a 1 foot kickboard= 11.4 feet. If you're 6 feet tall this puts you max 5.4 feet from the ground, less after you add padding.

example of a home wall
This will make it easy to stack 3 sheets of 4x8 plywood to get a 12 foot wall.

DrRockso · · Red River Gorge, KY · Joined Sep 2013 · Points: 181

I would highly recommend sticking with a bouldering wall at first, you could easily spend over a grand on holds alone on the wall dimensions in my previous picture. If you choose to add a top rope later on it wouldn't be hard, given your background. I'm assuming you have higher than 16' ceiling, it really wouldn't be worth it to put a top rope for anything less than 20 feet. To avoid taking huge swings you will need to build in anchors and quickdraws to keep the rope clipped into, simply buying some climbing hangers and attaching them with a bolt into one of your t-nuts would likely be fine for your purposes, just remember this method isn't strong enough to attach your top rope anchor to or to lead climb on those bolts. As for belaying yourself, there are plenty of methods, I'm not going to spend paragraphs here explaining the process but you can google the techniques if you decide to go that route. It is really a more advanced technique and you should start with an actual belayer.

a top rope wall

Muscrat · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Oct 2011 · Points: 3,040

Is there a budget consideration?
For walls, holds, and mats?
Makes a difference in what you can do. A self belay system really does not come into play, as has been sort of pointed out, if your wall is 16 feet, the farthest from a 1 foot thick pad your feet will be is ~9'. Not a bad fall, if you pay attention to the seams.
Holds are all over the place, cost, style, texture, etc. How many square feet are you planning?
Also, do not scrimp on T-nuts per sheet. I have around 700 Square feet of wall. When i started i put in ~80 t-nuts per sheet. I now, when i change a wall out (and you will!) i put in ~200 t-nuts per sheet.
Do you have a rock drill? I am slowly filling my walls with real rock, which i collect at the crags, drill and set.
Research will save you time and money. Keep looking. Go to a few rock gyms, touch holds.
Climb on

Nathan Self · · Louisiana · Joined Mar 2012 · Points: 20

https://www.mountainproject.com/v/recommended-holds-for-home-wall/111431260

Benjamin Bleasdale · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Feb 2017 · Points: 0

The forum wouldn't let me post for a few days because I'm new. The garage is actually a barn. At one point there may be a hundred goats, or hay, or a trailer, so a bouldering flooring would get damaged or ruined. I also have very weak ankles, so a 9' drop would be likely very bad. I will be installing a top rope, as it will give me a feeling of security, seriously what will be hurt by having one up there. Maybe later I'll just switch to bouldering. I do have 36' wide to play with, but now will experiment with 8' wide and we'll go from there. Found an atomic 100 pc steep set I'm gonna get.6

Ben Kirby · · Davisburg, MI · Joined May 2014 · Points: 10

Moonboard w/holds, just my .02 but seems like money well spent. Then when you get stuck in routine setting style, you can benefit from lots of other folks variations.

I built a bouldering cave in my basement. The best advice I got was to stay away from right angle arêtes where two different angled sections of wall join. Lots of good hold manufacturers out there, but Buuda holds has a lot of bang for the buck. Keep an eye out for their black Friday sale.

Woody

Ben Kirby · · Davisburg, MI · Joined May 2014 · Points: 10

Just a thought about a belay system, maybe there would be a way to use a fixed line with a rope soloing device like a petal microscender.

will ar · · San Antonio, TX · Joined Jan 2010 · Points: 215
Benjamin Bleasdale wrote:At one point there may be a hundred goats, or hay, or a trailer, so a bouldering flooring would get damaged or ruined.
Cheap alternative to bouldering pads?

Benjamin Bleasdale wrote:seriously what will be hurt by having one up there. Maybe later I'll just switch to bouldering.


Time and money. I think once you take a fall anywhere except right next to the anchors and swing out into something you'll figure it out. I don't get really excited about bouldering, but for a home wall I think it's the most convenient option for many reasons.

Benjamin Bleasdale wrote:I do have 36' wide to play with, but now will experiment with 8' wide and we'll go from there.
You should be able to build an awesome wall with that amount of space! My 2 cents on wall angle-instead of building a span of wall that changes angles as you get higher, build multiple sections with the same angle from top to bottom. For example, you could have an 8-12' wide section of vertical for warming up, then another 8-12' wide section of 10-20 deg terrain and finally a 30-45 deg section. I think that will give you a lot more variety in your terrain and allow you to set more consistent problems. If you can only build one initially maybe start with 10-20 degrees.

Benjamin Bleasdale wrote:Found an atomic 100 pc steep set I'm gonna get.6
Starting to think you're trolling here. Especially if you're just going to start with an 8' wide section I'd buy one set for now and see how you like the holds. You might want a different set for the less steep sections or want some more variety. Google the Rock and Ice How to Build a Home Climbing Wall article-it has some good recommendations on how many holds/sq ft you should start out with and what ratios of different types of holds.
Benjamin Bleasdale · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Feb 2017 · Points: 0

No trolling. Genuinely interested. I meant get 1 hundred pack. Is that enough for an 8x16/24' wall

Chris C. · · Seattle, WA · Joined Mar 2016 · Points: 81

If you have 30' of width, you should consider making your wall geared towards traversing rather than going up. Going up is sexier, but a lot of competitive indoor climbers consider traversing to be a very effective training method. I also find that traversing tends to be a little more similar to outdoor terrain than just going up in the gym. With 30' and a bit of height, you can make a lot of traversal routes that you can run laps on.

Regarding the top rope, I wouldn't want to fall 16' either. I also wouldn't want to spend the time belaying a 16' wall.

Muscrat · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Oct 2011 · Points: 3,040
Benjamin Bleasdale wrote:No trolling. Genuinely interested. I meant get 1 hundred pack. Is that enough for an 8x16/24' wall
Go here Look at pictures. My walls have ~ 60 holds per 4x8 panel.
Benjamin Bleasdale · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Feb 2017 · Points: 0

Thanks for the advice everyone. For now I guess I'll just go up two sheets . I'll build it first, then make the decision on the rope. But for now I got some good ideas and good design ideas.... time to get building

Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

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