DIY Artificial Climbing Wall for Indoors

Artificial climbing walls have seen a tremendous surge in demand over the last few decades. Earlier, climbing walls were built to enable rock climbers to train and sustain climbing through the wet and cold weathers. Most noteworthy, now many people use artificial climbing walls to stay fit, meet new people and train. 

By definition, a climbing wall is an artificially constructed wall with grips for hands and feet, usually used for indoor climbing, but sometimes located outdoors. 

Nowadays, indoor climbing walls have a lot of purposes and are easy to have one since there are climbing wall kits ready to use. Apart from training adult climbers, an artificial climbing wall is also a great element to keep children busy while enhancing their strength, stamina, endurance and give their balance a boost. 

 

Here are the top 5 health benefits of an indoor climbing wall

1. It Strengthens Your Muscles While Being Low Impact: Indoor climbing uses virtually every major muscle group in your body, making it a great whole-body alternative to pumping iron at the gym.

2. It Improves Your Flexibility: All the reaching, stretching, and climbing that are involved with scaling an artificial climbing wall can dramatically improve the overall flexibility and range of motion, giving the body a lean, toned appearance.

3. It Challenges Your Cardiovascular System: Climbing helps to boost the heart rate from start to finish. Eventually, helping to increase the stamina, burn calories, and strengthen the heart and lungs.

4. It Combats Chronic Disease: Any type of vigorous exercise that’s done for 20 minutes or longer at a time can help reduce the risk of developing chronic diseases such as hypertension, type 2 diabetes, and even some forms of cancer. 

5. It Can Help Improve Coordination: Climbing may help you develop better hand-eye coordination while increasing your sense of spatial awareness. Also, it can boost cognitive and problem-solving skills.

 

In these unprecedented times when everyone is stuck behind the four walls of their houses, there is an increase in the need for physical activity for adults and kids both, hence:

- Set limits on how much time one spends in front of a screen. 

- Encourage yourself and the kids to be active every day, by walking or cycling, skipping rope, or playing in a neighbourhood park or playground.

- Take the stairs instead of the escalator or elevator.

- Get involved in activities around the house: carrying the groceries, raking leaves, or shovelling snow.

With the recent worldwide epidemic causing so many countries declaring lockdown, people are stuck at home. Also resulting in restricting entries in climbing gyms or outdoor climbing areas. Hence, there has never been a better time to keep one busy with DIY projects like building an artificial climbing wall.

Planning how to build a Climbing Wall indoors

- Purpose of the Wall: Understand the objective of the wall clearly to help set up a plan in terms of wall layout, specifications, materials and more.

- Where to build: Based on the desired functionality of the artificial climbing wall, decide where to build the same, as it requires enough room and the proper space for the climber(s) to manoeuvre.

- Size of your home climbing wall: If you’re building a vertical wall, it should be at least 6 to 8 feet tall, whereas an overhanging wall should be between 8 to 14 feet tall. When it comes to width, the minimum would be about 8 feet, but the ideal size is 10 or more to have a bit more manoeuvring space.

Home Climbing Wall Design: Once the purpose of the wall and its location is decided, make a model of the desired climbing wall. And take measurements of the area where you plan on building your climbing wall. 

Choosing a Wall Material: There are a variety of options that you have when it comes to choosing a climbing wall material. There are usually mainly the two most popular options that are sustainable and safe – wood and concrete.

-Wooden Wall: If you’d like to build a climbing wall out of wood, you can choose between plywood or OSB (oriented strand board). OSB is much stronger and tends to be less expensive than plywood. However, it is heavier than plywood and has a higher tendency to hold moisture, which can weaken the material.

-Concrete Wall: Another option is to fasten the holds directly to a concrete wall. There are special anchors called concrete drop-in anchors or concrete hollow set anchors that you will have to purchase for mounting your climbing holds directly onto a concrete wall.

Tools You Will Need: Once the material is decided, it’s time to collect the tools necessary to build and set your wall. Some basic setup tools that you will need area level or straight edge, a tape measure, a table saw or circular saw, a drill, and nut drivers. 

Constructing a climbing wall: Start by framing your wall and concentrate on building the framework of the wall.

Choosing Climbing Holds: Some climbing holds are sold as loose pieces, while others come as part of a climbing wall kit. Depending on the usage of your wall and its purpose and users, purchase different types of climbing holds and grips that fit that need.

Screw-on holds vs Bolt-on Climbing Holds: Screw-on holds attach to wood or concrete with small screws while bolt-on holds are attached using an Allen-head bolt and a t-nut.

Setting Your Climbing Routes: The purpose of the wall plays a vital role in setting up the climbing routes. If an adult plans to train through then set specific boulder problems that can train for techniques. And if you’re setting the wall for your kids/ children then buy colourful big jug holds and keep them closer together, taking into consideration the child’s height and abilities.

 

Safety check after installation

One should take into consideration these safety precautions when building and constructing an artificial climbing wall:

-No loose screws: Firstly, be sure that there are no loose screws or any sticking out of the wall that could seriously injure anyone during the climb.

- Splinters: In case you are building the wall out of wood, make sure that there are no splinters that could potentially get stuck in the fingers. Sand off these splintery areas with sandpaper and smoothen it out.

- Fall Zone: Another safety precaution that should be taken into consideration before designing and constructing the wall is the fall zone. Be sure that the area around the climbing wall is safe for falling and crash landing. Ensure there is sufficient room to put a sturdy crash pad or a mat.