Building a Woody Climbing Wall in the Living Room

Woody

Woody

I have a good sized living room, and until recently it was an empty, furniture-less, wasted space.  I came across this website (pictured below) and decided it was time to put that space to use with my very own indoor climbing wall, aka the woody.

This is the post that sparked my interest. Click picture to view original.

I’m not going to give you a step by step plan because there are already tons of websites out there, and you will inevitably need to design your own plan based on your needs and resources.  List of helpful links:

Freestanding indoor rock wall for $150

Building a Home Climbing Wall

Professional Metolius Guide

Atomik Holds Guide

Instead I want to offer a few words of wisdom that I learned while building my wall.

1.  Cost:  The “Build your own wall for $150” is a bit of an exaggeration.  My wall came with a $400 price tag, as well as an addiction to buying new holds (way more expensive then I would have ever thought).   That being said, if you don’t have a nearby gym, are living with other people that also pay $50+/month for a gym membership, or have a serious addiction to climbing, it will likely be well worth it to make your own woody.

2.  Materials:  One factor that brings down many the budgets on these how-to websites is the listing of cheap materials, the big one being plywood.  Expect to pay around $40 per 3/4″ 4’x8′ slab.  Plywood is graded with two letters, one for each side, and you want A/B or A/C. My wall is 8’x12′ which brings you to $130 just for plywood.

3.  Design:  It isn’t too hard to work with whatever your living situation is.  As long as your ceiling is around 8′ you shouldn’t have a problem figuring out a design for your space.  I made mine free standing and semi-dissemblable since I only rent.  Always have an exit strategy in case you need to move.

4.  Manpower: I underestimated how hard it would be to lift and attach a 4’x8′ piece of plywood to the frame with only two people.  Invite lots of friends over and it will be much easier.

5.  Attitude: Be flexible and plan to make tons of trips to home depot.  You will likely tweak one of the online plans to fit your situation.  At some point you are guaranteed to need another 2×4 or realize your frame doesn’t line up.  Go into it with the attitude that it is going to be a learning experience rife with mistakes and you won’t get bogged down with frustration.  Seriously, you will mess up, prepare for it and it will be much less painful.

That’s the end of my advice.  Below are just a few pictures of my wall at various stages.  Ask questions in the comments and I will try and answer them.

Wall Specifications: 8’x10’x8′ (width length height), 18″vertical top section for hangboard.

Bare Woody Frame

Bare Woody Frame.  Note the horizontal 2x4s.  Bad idea.  I had to later go in and add vertical beams to prevent the plywood from bending.  Wish I had made them vertical from the start.

Attached Plywood

Attached plywood.  Notice initial lame attempts at vertical support where the plywood meets.

The wall is close to 60º overhanging.  Ooops.  It's not the worst since most of my climbing is in the Red/Obed, but I would shoot for a gentler 45º next time.

The wall is close to 60º overhanging. Ooops. It’s not the worst since most of my climbing is in the Red/Obed, but I would shoot for a gentler 45º next time.

IMG_1151

Hanging quickdraws are great for practicing tough clips or chalking up.

The back of the woody makes for great organized storage.  Also Notice the vertical supports added to the frame.

The back of the woody makes for a well organized storage space. Also, notice the vertical supports added to the frame.

This post will be the jumping off point for the training content I hope to add to Biersons soon.  Enjoy!

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