Steps to Build a Rock Climbing Wall

By: Kris Koonar

Wall climbing is gaining in popularity and both the versions such as indoor and outdoor wall climbing have become popular because of this. Wall climbing is both fun and challenging, testing your body's strength and endurance. It is often referred as the perfect mix of gymnastics and ballet dancing. Wall climbing is also preferred by rock climbers to train during winter and the monsoon months.

Wall climbing essentially mimics the thrill, fun, excitement and the physical effort required while steep rock climbing, but in a more controlled environment. Skills required for climbing steep cliffs can be honed in the wall climbing gym itself. The popularity of the sport has resulted in the creation of special indoor climbing gyms.

The most common climbing walls are made of wooden boards of varying heights and steepness. It may have horizontal roofs or vertical slabs with different sizes of holds attached. From simple concrete walls with unmovable holds to easily transportable walls with interchangeable handholds, climbing walls have come a long way since they were first introduced in the early sixties.

Building a climbing wall is not really difficult and once built, the wall will vastly improve your climbing skills along with your strength and cardio vascular capacity. All the basic steps that are required for successful completion of a building project include a plan, design, construction, and finishing.

Clear and concise training goals and objectives need to be defined before building your climbing wall, as different types of walls are required for strength and endurance training. For strength training, a wall with steeper angles is required, this type of wall does not require too much of space and can be accommodated in a smaller area. For endurance training the wall would be slightly vertical and longer.

Once the training goals are defined the following steps will have to be taken to build a rock-climbing wall.

Plan:

Planning is the first phase in which a mental picture of the desired wall is created. Location, budget, construction material required to maintain the structural integrity, and the expertise required to build the wall will help in constructing a model and you need some basic drawings. The estimated time required and the cost involved will help finalizing whether you proceed with building the climbing wall or abandon the project.

Design:

While designing a climbing wall, a lot of factors will have to be considered such as material specifications, material costs, stress, load, basic structure, and the number and type of joints. All technical hitches have to be cleared before the next step.

Construction:

If the first two stages have been attended to in detail the third phase is relatively easy and enjoyable at the same time. However, it could also be frustrating if the plan and design have inherent faults.

Finishing:

This is the phase when all the construction is over according to the design and the plan. This step will include the preparation of the surface for painting, fixing holds on, texture of the surface, installing the foam matting in the fall zone, and designating various climbing routes.

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