The first thing to think about if you enjoy climbing is how to build an outdoor rock climbing wall.
As a result, you’ll understand why rock climbing is one of the most popular sports.When you practise, you can achieve incredible highs in addition to getting adrenaline.
If you have children, climbing the wall is a great way for them to get some exercise. In this article, we’ll show you how to build your own backyard rock climbing wall.
How To Build An Outdoor Rock Climbing Wall? (In 10 Step)
For a wall that measures 8 feet by 8 feet
8 ft. long 2′′x 4′′ lumber
2 sheets of 34″ external plywood, 4 feet by 8 feet
6 L-brackets (metal)
1 deck screw box (3.5′′)
16-D framing nails, 1 package
T-nuts (3/8′′, 16 threads, 4 prongs) in 100 pieces
30 (2′′ to 3′′, depending on the size of the holds) socket-head bolts (usually 1 box)
Non-glossy/textured paint or stain in a half-gallon container (exterior grade if your wall is outside)
- Roller brush
- Drill with multiple bits
- Table saw (optional, you could do all the cuts with a handsaw)
- Allen wrench
- Climbing Gear
- Climbing holds
- Crash pad
- Climbing shoes
- Chalk bag
1. Make A Wall Design.
The type of wall you construct is mostly determined by the amount of free space you have.
From an engineering sense, vertical walls are often the easiest to construct, but overhanging walls present an additional obstacle for more experienced climbers.
My base is an A-frame swing set construction that is around 8 feet tall by 8 feet wide before narrowing to a point at the top, thus I had to create a little overhanging wall out of necessity.
(The beams are 6 inches by 6 inches.) When climbing uphill,
I discovered that adding a slight overhanging angle might help you make the most of a small wall—the challenges appear longer and harder.
2. Create A Framework
I had to create a frame out of 2-by-4-inch lumber because I started with an A-frame swing set.
The 2-by-4 frame connects to the swing set’s back “arms,” providing a flat surface to screw the plywood into.
I began by placing down two 8-foot-long 2-by-4s at a right angle on the ground.
I used two 16D nails to join the ends of the 2-by-4s, then laid out two additional 2-by-4s to make an 8-by-8-foot square, using 16D framing nails to join all the corners.
I used 16D nails to attach five 8-foot-long 2-by-4s vertically inside the box, spacing them 16 inches apart.
I cut the remaining 2-by-4 into six smaller pieces (about 16 inches long), which I placed horizontally between each vertical
Piece of lumber to add lateral support and rigidity to the frame, and then fastened each piece with two nails in each end.
3. Attach The Frame To The Structure
I secured the 2-by-4 frame to the back of the swing set pillars with six metal “L” brackets, making that the corners and sides of the frame were fastened as well.
It was critical to have at least two persons on hand for this, as one person will be responsible for holding the frame in place while the other instals the hardware.
My blunder: I expected the swing set would be “square,” meaning it would be the same size on all sides.
It was not the case. Although the swing set is physically solid, it is at least ten years old and crooked.
It was difficult to secure an 8-by-8-foot square wall to a distorted frame. If you’re working with an existing structure,
Such as a corner of an unfinished basement, take meticulous measurements before proceeding.
4. Plywood Should Be Painted.
The plywood will serve as the wall’s “face.” It will be the climbable surface to which the grips will be attached.
(My cave is on the inside of the swing set.) I made an 8-by-8-foot climbing surface with two sheets of 4-by-8-foot plywood.
You have several possibilities for painting the plywood, and some climbers prefer to leave it unpainted or unstaining.
If you’re putting the wall up outside, stain it to protect it from the elements. You can also use textured paint to replicate the sensation of genuine rock.
I started with a clear coat stain, which made the plywood shiny and slick, which wasn’t great for climbing.
So I sanded it down and repainted it with textured outside floor paint. It took more time and money,
But I’m pleased with the finished product. I used a paint roller to speed up the process.
5. Make Holes In The Plywood With A Drill.
Place the plywood on a pair of sawhorses or something similar when the stain has dried and drill a grid of holes.
I started 4 inches from the edge of the plywood and spaced the holes 8 inches apart, using a 7/16-inch drill bit.
Because the T-nuts and holds will eventually be installed in some of these holes, the pattern you drill will dictate the number of routes you can set in the future.
To save time, some climbers utilise a random pattern, but most climbing gyms use a grid since it provides more hold placement choices in the future.
6. T-Nuts Should Be In Place.
T-nuts have a threaded socket that goes into the drilled holes, and the ones I used had four prongs that sank into the plywood’s backside.
When you’re putting your holds together, you’ll screw the bolts into the nuts.
I hammered the T-nuts into the back side of the plywood until the prongs were set into the wood, then laid the plywood face down on the ground.
7. Join The Plywood And The Frame Together.
My wife assisted me in carrying the plywood sheets from the sawhorses to the swing set, and then my wife and kid held the plywood in position while I fastened the first few screws.
Starting with the bottom panel, I used 3.5-inch screws to secure the plywood to the 2-by-4 frame, making sure all corners and centres were secure.
This is a job that requires two (or more) people to do.
I made the same mistake as before: I used square plywood for a non-square location, so I had to do some trimming and patching to get a firm climbing surface.
8. Place The Holds.
I secured the holds to the wall by driving socket-head bolts through the centre of the hold and into the T-nuts, using an Allen wrench and socket-head bolts.
I made sure that the bolt length and the thickness of the grip were in proportion. (A 2- to 3-inch bolt is required for most holds.)
How many holds you utilise is entirely up to you. I started with a haphazard pattern of holds and am constantly working on improving the routes.
The T-nut and bolt method has the advantage of allowing you to vary your training routes.
I made a mistake by ordering 3.5-inch bolts that were too long and punched through the back of the plywood, causing the t-nuts to come loose from the rear of the wall.
Make sure the length of the bolt corresponds to the thickness of your grip, so it’s long enough to thread entirely through the T-nut but not so long that it loosens it.
9. An Observation About Cimbing Holds
Holds aren’t cheap, but they have the potential to make or break your defence.Consider purchasing a range of grips, including everything from foot chips to large jugs.
Metolius has a wonderful Mega Hold Set with 50 various holds, including a few mega roof holds, that will cover all of your needs for a modest wall.
It also comes with three screw-on grips, which are perfect for footholds and corners and attach with 3-inch screws.
Furthermore, the kit includes all of the necessary hardware, saving you a lot of time and effort.
10. Climb Up.
It’s entirely up to you how difficult the climbing on your wall is.By its very nature, inverted walls are more difficult and require larger grips for beginners.
My recommendation is to begin by placing a big number of huge grips across the wall to get a sense of the types of difficulties you’d like to solve.
Instead than focusing on insurmountable challenges, concentrate on entertaining climbing actions.
Even the tiniest wall may be used to train important abilities like lay-back manoeuvres and dynos.
My kids are also using the wall, so I’m attempting to come up with a variety of route possibilities for them.
I’m also going to put plywood and grips to the backside of the 24 frame to provide the kids a sloping slab to climb on.
Whatever routes you choose, you’ll need a few basic pieces of equipment to get started:
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Climbing shoes: The Momentum from Black Diamond is one of the most comfortable and beginner-friendly shoes available.
I have a pair, and they’re great for climbing in the gym and on my new house wall. My children have progressed through a number of climbing shoes over the years,
Beginning with the LaSportiva StickIt, which is comfortable and features a cool expansion system that allows the shoes to “grow” an extra size.
Chalk bag: Maintaining friction and creating confidence requires chalk.
You can use a single bag or invest in a large chalk bucket, such as this STATIC alternative.
Crash pad: Even if you have a low wall, this is necessary. If you’re climbing on a tiny wall, the Recon pad from Metolius offers more than 5 feet of area, so you can set it down and not worry about moving it.
How To Build Rock Climbing Wall At Home?
MATERIAL RECOMMENDATIONS >>
- 1. Climbing Holds
2. Crash Mats
3. Climbing Bolts
Home Climbing Wall Design Guide
Once you’ve decided on the function of the wall and where you want to build it,
You’ll need to plan out your design carefully to ensure that you acquire the right quantity of materials and avoid costly mistakes later on.
Making some form of visual aid, such as a scaled model to work from, is a terrific approach to start your project.
This can be done in a 3D programme like Blender, built literally out of cardboard, or just sketched on paper.
This stage assists you in identifying any defects in your design early on,
Which can save you a lot of money in the long run by preventing problems and blunders.
This stage will also show whether or not erecting your wall in the specified place is possible.
During the design process, you’ll want to take in mind the angle of your wall (vertical or overhung), as well as its planned purpose.
Get some guidance from friends who have done interior design before, or from those who have worked in architecture or carpentry and can offer professional advice.
Choosing A Wall Material
When it comes to selecting a rock climbing wall material, you have a number of alternatives. Wood and concrete are the two most prevalent choices.
You can use plywood or OSB to make a climbing wall out of wood (oriented strand board).
OSB is far more durable than plywood and is usually less priced. It is, however, 15% heavier than plywood and has a stronger tendency to retain moisture,
Which can cause the material to deteriorate (especially when installed in humid conditions).
It is preferable to use plywood when constructing a wall outside or in a damp basement, for example.
Tools You Will Need
After you’ve decided on your wall material, gather the tools you’ll need to construct and install it.
A level or straight edge, a tape measure, a table saw or circular saw (if you’re creating the wall out of wood), a drill, and nut drivers are some of the basic setup items you’ll need.
Depending on your personal design, you may need additional specialised tools to make sure your wall is safe and secure.
If you’re still unsure, visit a professional or talk to the personnel at your local builder’s merchants, who are more likely to be familiar with handling construction goods.
Climbing atop improvised constructions, as well as construction, can be hazardous. If you have any doubts,
Seek the advice of someone who is more knowledgeable and experienced than you, especially during the construction process.
No loose Screws
It’s your skin that’s on the line when using your climbing wall.
You’ve probably felt the anguish of scratching a finger on a jagged piece of rock – think how painful it would be if you did it with a protruding screw.
Furthermore, using your wall may expose you to injury if your screws come free.
Before you use your wall, double-check that all of the nuts and screws are secure and that there are no sharp objects.
Also, if you’re using wood to construct your wall, make sure there aren’t any splinters that could get trapped in your fingers.
Sand splintered portions with coarse sandpaper, then smooth it out with a lighter gradient to make it more pleasant to the touch.
The fall zone is another safety factor that should be considered when planning and constructing your wall.
You’ll want to make sure the area around your climbing wall is safe in case you fall or crash land.
Make sure there’s enough room for a durable crash cushion or mat, and that there are no obstacles in the way of a safe landing.
Keep this in mind not only when creating the wall, but also when putting your holds.
Choosing Climbing Holds
After your climbing wall is complete, it’s time to select and install the best climbing holds and grips.
Some of these climbing grips can be purchased separately, while others are included with a climbing wall kit.
Do some study on the best grips to employ for your preferred climbing method.
One of the advantages of having your own climbing wall is that you can reset it as often as you want,
Allowing you to buy multiple grips for different climbing styles. The options are limitless.
For younger climbers, larger and more colourful holds (mainly jugs) are ideal. They’re not only easier to hold,
But they also look great and are easy to see. Experienced climbers, on the other hand, can buy a range of different grips to help them improve their technique.
The Slackers Rock Climbing Hold Set is our personal recommendation if you’re looking for something reasonably priced and of good quality.
Do not be fooled by the packaging, which suggests it is intended for youngsters; it includes 20 different hand and footholds, including jugs, crimps,
And slopers. It’s an excellent place to start if you want to build your own climbing wall at home.
If you’re searching for something more cost-effective for adults, or if you want more technical training, the Atomik Climbing Holds are a good option.
More pinches and crimps are included in this set, which are great for strength training, especially when put on an overhang.
Climbing holds are not cheap. You might want to start with a few separate pieces and build up your supply over time.
Climbing gyms, on the other hand, frequently try to sell off their outdated climbing holds at a discount.
Screw-On Cs. Bolt-on Climbing Holds
When it comes to climbing holds, there are two types to choose from: screw-on and bolt-on climbing holds.
Screw-on holds use small screws to adhere to wood or concrete, whereas bolt-on holds use an Allen-head bolt and a t-nut.
Atomik, Slothside, and Kandi are some of the brands that offer these types of holds.
Bolt-On Climbing Holds
The bolt in the latter case travels through the entire wall and connects to the nut behind it.
The nuts stay in place behind the wall, making it easy to move or remove the holds.
Bolt-on rock climbing holds are becoming common, and brands like Metolius Holds and Atomik sell them.
Screw-in bolts, on the other hand, allow you to install a grip anywhere you choose, not simply where there’s a nut.
When building your own bouldering wall, combining the two is a smart alternative.
Keep in mind that screwing grips into concrete is exceedingly difficult, thus bolt-ons are preferable.
Setting Your Climbing Routes
It’s time to erect your climbing wall after you’ve purchased your climbing grips.
This can be a difficult undertaking; after all, professionals are paid to do this, and it may take some time to create something you love climbing.
Some climbing hold sets are designed to be set up in a specific order, which can be followed or ignored depending on the route you’re attempting to climb.
This does remove the creative element of route planning, which can be beneficial or detrimental depending on your goals.
By employing smaller grips, you may make your wall more tough and technical, improving climbing techniques such as finger strength,
Grip, and balance. You can also improve your explosive power, dynamic ability, and coordination by setting up bigger situations with bigger catches.
If you’re building a climbing wall for kids, remember that your arms and legs are likely to be longer than theirs, therefore the holds should be closer between.
How To Build A Climbing Wall For Kids?
- Spade bit, 1-1/4 in.
- Drill bit with a diameter of 1/2 inch
- a drill bit with a diameter of 1/4 inch
- 9/16-inch wrench
- Carpenter’s square
- Circular saw
- Tape measure
- Deck screws, 1-5/8-in (self piloting)
- 1 in. rope, 16 ft.
- 1 ft. x 6 ft. x 8 ft. board (15)
- 8 ft. x 2 ft. x 4 ft (4)
- 2 ft. x 6 ft. x 8 ft (4)
- exterior wood screws, 3 in.
- Carriage bolts, 3/8 in (2)
- Locking nuts with a 3/8-in. diameter (2)
- washers with a 3/8-in. diameter (6)
- J bolts, 4-1/2 x 12-in.
- Screw eyes, 5/16 x 1 x 1-1/2 in (4)
- Climbing grips for kids (20)
- 5 minutes, 18 seconds, 0 seconds
- 0 percent volume
Choose Your Wood
Check for straight, level, and four good edges on your boards.
On the ends, avoid splits or blowouts. For the sake of cost and weight, I chose cedar 26% and pine 16%. Pressure-treated wood is too hefty for me, and
I’m still wary of all those chemicals. You could go with all cedar, but it may get pricey quickly. At The Home Depot, I spent roughly $225 on lumber, hardware, and climbing grips.
Note from the editor: My five-year-old grandnephew took to both sides of the wall right away.
He loved climbing up the ropes and finding new routes with the climbing grips. For his suspension training workout,
His father discovered that he could hold both ropes. As a result, there is something for everyone in the family.
Project Step-By-Step (7)
Create the legs.
At the end of each 2×6 leg, cut 45 degree angles.
Make a mark one inch from the short edge of the leg, six inches from the opposite end of the 45-degree angle cut.
Put a nail in the spot. Hold your pencil on the string at the end of the leg and draw a radius using string with a loop around the nail.
Remove the nail, drill a 1/2-inch hole in the mark, and use a jig saw to reduce the radius.
Repeat the process using the one completed leg as a pattern for the remaining three legs.
Assemble frames and cut cross braces
Two 2x4s were cut to 44 inches apiece, and two more were cut to 40-5/8 inches each. I deducted three inches (the thickness of two 2x6s) plus 3/8 in.
for the spacer washers since we want one side of the A frame to nest into the other.
Install each set of cross braces on the long sides of the legs, five inches from the top radius and six inches from the bottom radius, with 3-inch screws.
Line up the 1/2-in. holes by nesting the narrower frame inside the other.
Install the 3/8-in. carriage bolts from the outside of the legs with a hammer, leaving two spacer washers between each pair of legs.
On the threaded end of the bolt, place a washer and a lock nut. Make sure the lock nut isn’t too tight; you only want it to be snug enough for the two legs to pivot smoothly.
Face boards should be cut and installed.
Cut 15 1×6 pieces at 47 inches and another 15 at 45-1/2 inches.
Install boards with 1-5/8-in. deck screws starting two inches below the top radius. Use two screws on each board’s right and left sides.
To avoid splitting, keep screws one inch away from the board edges. As you work your way to the bottom, keep the boards close to each other and square to the frame.
For climbing rope, drill holes and install screw eyes.
Measure 10-3/4 in. from each side and 2-1/4 in. down from the top board at the top of the thin wall face. Using a spade bit, drill two 1-1/4-in. holes at these locations.
Make two pilot holes in the top 2×4 cross bracing with a 1/4-inch drill bit below the middle of the two 1-1/4-inch holes.
The 5/16 x 1 x 3-in. screw eyes will be inserted into these holes. Also, maintain the pilot holes in the 2×4 cross brace’s top edge centred.
Make sure the screw eyes are aligned with the 1-1/4 holes. When threading the screw in, you may need to use a screwdriver to add extra torque.
Tie off each 8-foot piece of rope that has been threaded through the face holes into the screw eyes.
Install Handholds Climbing
Make 20 random holes in the wide wall side with a 1/2-in. drill bit.
When it comes to spacing, use your best judgement; it never hurts to have a few additional holes on hand for alternate layouts.
There should be two mounting holes on each grip. Install one bolt snugly at first.
Drill through the remaining mounting hole to place the second bolt after positioning the grip to your preference.
Tip: Depending on the type of bolt your holds require, a drill/driver or impact driver with a socket or hex head will make this operation go much faster.
(The climbing grips I got included a 1/2-inch drill bit and a hex driver bit, which was quite convenient!)
Screw eyes for ground stakes should be installed.
Drill four 1/4-inch pilot holes at the foot of each leg, one-half inch from the edge and three inches up from the 45-degree angle’s tip.
Screw in the 5/16 x 1 x 1-1/2-in. screw eyes for anchor stakes, which will receive the 12-in. J-bolts.
Touches of Finish
Remove any splintered or rough edges with a sanding block. Check for any high-hanging screw heads.
Locate a level, 8-foot-square area that is free of obstructions.
Place the climbing wall in place with the assistance of another adult.
Hold the children back until the desired angle is achieved and the ground stakes are driven in.
Allow the youngsters to run wild! Spot-check the younger ones till they’ve gotten the hang of it. This climbing wall is ideal for a swing set or playroom.
How To Build Climbing Wall In Basement?
The simplest and most effective idea is to construct an 8-foot-wide, 45-degree overhanging wall that goes from floor to ceiling.
This is steep enough to give you a big pump while still allowing you to pose some serious problems—and the math is kept easy.
You don’t have to be a great carpenter to make this, but you will need the following tools:
- Tape measure
- Circular saw
- Miter saw
- Chalk line
- Safety glasses
Depending on the size of your wall, different materials will be used. This is a standard 45-degree, 8-foot-wide wall list.
- 12 x joist hangers
3 x 10-foot 2×6 boards
2 x 8-foot 2×6 boards
2 x 8-foot 2×4 boards
3 x 4×8-foot ACX plywood, 3/4in thick
1 x box 3.5-inch screws
1 x box 2-inch screws
1 x box 16d nails
Roughly 225 3/8-inch T-nuts
This may appear to have a lot of stages, but it’s actually rather simple.
You can do this if you can run a saw without losing a finger, count in eight increments, and swing a hammer.
Installing header joists is the first step.
Begin by screwing 8ft 26 planks to the wall and ceiling as header joists.
The bottom and top of your wall will be marked with these. About five feet above the ground, screw the bottom one in place.
Measure the distance between the top edge of the bottom board and the ceiling, and then the same distance from the wall to the ceiling.
The inside border of your top header joist will be that mark.
Step 2 – Putting up joist hangers
Place the first joist hanger at the bottom board’s end edge, then hang another every 16 inches until you reach the other end.
Step 3 – Getting the joists ready
Measure from the bottom header joist’s top edge to the top header joist’s wall-side edge (in a straight line).
The inside edge of your joists (10ft 26 boards) will be this length.
Mark the inside edge of your board and cut a 45-degree angle across the broad side to allow the board to fit into the joist hanger.
After your initial cut, measure 5.5 inches from your initial mark and draw another mark along the edge of the cut.
Flip your board over and cut perpendicular to the first mark, starting at the second mark—this cut will bring your joists flush with the edges of your header joists.
Rep these cuts on the opposite end, making sure that your initial cut starts on the same edge of the board, and then repeat with the rest of your boards.
Step 4 – Putting the frame together
Place one end of your joist in the bottom joist hanger and have a friend hold the other end flush against the ceiling header joist.
To fix the top of the board, use a joist hanger. Mark every 16 inches on your top header joist and continue until all of the joists are in place. Your frame is finished.
Step 5 – Constructing the kickboard frame
Cut a couple of 2x4s to fit vertically beneath your bottom header joist.
Starting at one end of the header joist, screw a vertical board to each stud you come across until you reach the other end. This will serve as the kickboard’s frame.
Step 6 – Putting up the kickboard
Cut one of your pieces of plywood with the circular saw to make an 8-foot-wide sheet that’s the same height as the 2x4s you just cut.
This is going to be your kicking board. The majority of users will opt to utilise screw-on footholds instead of T-nuts in this board.
If desired, add some (as indicated in Step 7), and then screw the board to the 2x4s.
Step 7 – Drilling and marking the grid
It’s now time to put the T-nuts in the rest of the sheets.There are a few options here, each with its own set of advantages and disadvantages.
Various sized holes (natural feel but easy to leave large gaps) a grid of 8 inches (easy math but restricts problem setting)
8-inch grid with staggered rows and columns (a little more math, but a natural feel without gaps Measure along the short side of your sheet and make a mark at 4 inches, then every 8 inches from there for the staggered grid approach.
Do the same at the opposite end, then connect your markings with a chalk line across the sheet. Make an X with your tape measure at 4 inches along a line.
Continue to make an X every 8 inches from here (12, 20, 28, 36, etc). Start at the edge of the next line and make an X every 8 inches (16, 24, 32, 40, etc).
Return to your initial count on the third line, and so on.
After you’ve marked all of the holes for your grid, drill a hole at each X with a 12-inch drill bit, as illustrated below.
Step 8 – T-nut installation
To install the T-nuts, flip the board over and hammer them in place, making sure they’re straight.
Step 9 – Putting up the wall
Hold the sheet against the frame with a few friends, then take out your drill and screw it in place.
Don’t be afraid to use a lot of screws. This device has to be able to support your entire body weight and then some.
Step 10 – Organizing the Holds
The best place to begin is with the broadest variety set available.
Some climbers will need more massive jugs to progress, while others will require a slew of little pinches, but everyone will require a good selection to get started.
Experienced boulderers will frequently start with a blank wall and create challenges, But the simplest method to get started is to spread out the holds and bolt them in randomly.
After they’re up, you may start tweaking, turning, and moving the holds until they feel right. Screw-on footholds are nothing to be terrified of.
They save money and space, and the only drawback is that when they are removed, they leave small screw holes behind.
Don’t limit yourself to problems that are only solved from the bottom up.
Because you don’t have much wall to work with, attempt to create issues that transverse or descend.
Playing the stick game with your training partner is one of the easiest methods to come up with extended issues that make the most of every square foot.
It’s easy—all you have to do is acquire a motivated partner to point out holds as you climb. You follow their directions.
It’s a fantastic method to become insanely pumped.Change is the key to keeping a fun home wall. When things become monotonous, switch things up.
You should remove all of the holds once in a while and start over. Invite a few pals around to help you solve some challenges.
Scratch it up with your ice tools. Purchase some fresh grips. Keep it fresh by any means necessary.
You’ll be ticking off projects left and right when spring arrives if you make it exciting and stick to training.
How To Weatherproof Outdoor Climbing Wall?
Making your wall modular so you can pull it down or removing vulnerable portions and storing it somewhere dry during downpours is one solution.
Consider painting your plywood with a protective finish instead.Wood paint is available in a range of designs and colours from any builder’s merchant or DIY store.
FAQ’S ON: How To Build An Outdoor Rock Climbing Wall?
How thick should plywood be for a climbing wall?
What Kind of Plywood Should You Use? For your wall, we propose a minimum thickness of 17 mm plywood.
The best plywood is structural plywood, which comes in sheets of 2400 x 1200 mm.
How do you build a freestanding rock climbing wall?
What type of wood is used for outdoor climbing walls?
Treated plywood is the best form of wood to use for a home climbing wall in general.
Treated plywood is a lightweight material that provides the strength, rigidity, and durability needed for indoor and outdoor climbing walls.
How do you build a rock climbing wall on concrete?