What are the Best Tips for Building a Rock Climbing Wall?

Dan Cavallari
Dan Cavallari
Man with hands on his hips
Man with hands on his hips

Building a rock climbing wall in the home or in a large space for commercial use does not have to be difficult, but several important considerations need to be taken into account before construction of the wall begins. The most important considerations are space and cost, as both will have an immediate effect on how, where, and when the wall is built. Consider, too, who will be using the wall and for what purposes; and finally, consider building codes and safety, before, during, and after building a rock climbing wall. Every climbing wall should be equipped with the proper safety equipment, and such equipment should be considered part of the initial cost of building a rock climbing wall.

Many climbing enthusiasts take on the task of building a rock climbing wall in the home, which immediately places space constraints on the project. A larger home may have the space for a full size climbing wall either inside the home or outside of it, but most homes don't have such space. A good alternative to a full-sized wall is the bouldering cave, which is essentially a miniature rock climbing wall that can be built into a small room. The bouldering cave usually has four walls as well as climbing holds on the ceiling so the climber can climb horizontally, and crash pads or mattresses are placed on the floor should the climber fall. If space is limited, a bouldering cave is a smart alternative to building a rock climbing wall at full scale.

The builder's budget will also play a big role in dictating the size and shape of the wall. While the wood, t-nuts, and holds are the major expenses of the project, the builder should also consider other items necessary for good construction, such as textured paint, safety equipment — such as ropes, harnesses, crash pads, and so on — tool purchase or rental, and miscellaneous nuts and bolts.

Once the wall has been built, the builder now needs to plan out the climbing routes on the wall. This can be a time-consuming but fun project, and it requires a fair amount of forethought to do effectively. A smart climber will try to plan general routes before building a rock climbing wall so he or she can figure out where permanent fixtures, such as outcroppings and angles, might need to be placed. Once the builder has a general idea of where routes will go, the wall can be built, and more specific routes can be planned on the wall.

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Discussion Comments


How I would love to make one of the rooms in my apartment a bouldering cave! I have to admit, I don't boulder at the gym because I don't like people watching me while I attempt, but if it were in the comfort of my own home...I'd be a pro.

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