How To Build A Bouldering Wall
Do you want to know how to build a bouldering wall? There are places with many chances to go climbing outside within few miles, or many community recreation centers that have bouldering facilities. But, if you don't live near any of those, or it rains, or you just want to practice at home, there's nothing like building yourself a bouldering wall.
To build a bouldering wall you will need:
- A holding structure. It can be a tubular structure like the ones you see at concerts and shows, or simply a good old thick wall.
- Plywood. Grade B one inch thick plies, as many as you consider necessary. If the wall will be built outside, make sure it is glued with a water resistant phenol-formaldehyde glue that will make it durable.
- Varnish. Even though the plywood may be for outside use, a coat of varnish will enhance it's durability. Take special care on painting the edges of the plywood.
- Bolts and nuts.
- Synthetic putty.
- Synthetic spacers.
- Steel pipe, 2 " in diameter, five feet per top rope.
- Climbing rope.
- Bouldering holds.
The steps to build a bouldering wall are:
- Choose a placement for the bouldering wall, and decide the general design, regarding vertical and horizontal angle (positive for beginners, straight and negative for advanced climbers) and other special features like corners.
- Varnish every plywood section and let them dry.
- Fix the plies to the structure. If you are using a wall, place synthetic spacers between the plies and the wall to avoid moisture transference. To create angles, you can use plywood triangles as spacers, but make sure you put plenty of them, not too far apart.
- Cover the space between plies with synthetic putty. You don't want gaps were your fingers can get accidentally caught.
- Make sure the bolts that link the plywood to the wall are going deep enough to ensure a solid placement. If not, metal angles can be used to hold the plies.
- Build a U shaped steel pipe anchor for the top rope, and place it straight up the route. There has to be one for every route, and should not be moved. These are the most important safety device on the bouldering wall, so they must be firmly placed.
- Make the rope go around the U twice to maximize friction. The rope must be removed after climbing, as unnecessary exposure to the elements will damage it.
- Place the holds and design routes. You can place as many holds as you want. The more holds, the easier the route; but you can also distinguish them with colors or colored tape to place routes with different levels of difficulty.
Remember to follow the climbing safety procedures regarding belay, which should be instructed to everyone using the wall.