UKC

Building a climbing wall in my garden.

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 Mutley 04 Mar 2021

Hi. I hope you are all well. I have just started getting into wall climbing due to a friend who keeps having parties there for my kids. Now we enjoyed it so much that we have been missing it. I am 42 and my kids are 5 and 6. I want to build a wall at home (they are all very impressive on here by the way) but not sure where to start to look for advice on incline, where to put the holds etc and what the regulations are regarding a structure like this in a back garden with the neighbour.

So any advice would be very welcome.

Thank you. I look forward to spending some time with you on this forum.

Cheers

 Donotello 04 Mar 2021
In reply to Mutley:

I suspect the lack of responses is probably due to the insane amount of Times this topic has been discussed over the last year. 
 

The search bar is pretty easy to use and you’ve then got thousands of posts of ready made discussion to read through, people are probably worn out from these threads. 
 

 Kes 05 Mar 2021
In reply to Mutley:

The Metolius guide on building a wall was a good starting point for me, https://www.metoliusclimbing.com/pdf/How-to-Build-a-Home-Bouldering-Wall.pdf

Doesnt cover outdoor walls or regs but someone will probably fill you in on that 

 douwe 05 Mar 2021
In reply to Mutley:

In reply to Mutley:

Formulating what kind of users the wall is targeted at might be a good start to get some useful answers. 

From your post I speculate you are a total beginner at climbing and you want your 5 and 6 year old kids to use the wall also?

My advice would be:

A ninety degree wall will get boring very quickly but is good for the young ones. Adjustable angle would be the best solution.

Get a good mat or crashpad of some sorts. Especially for the kids.

Invest in quality holds rather than the cheapest deal you can find online. If you really start to use the wall more intensively you'll quickly realise that the quality of the wall is mainly dictated by the holds on it.

Don't bother with bolt on holds, screw on is fine. Unless it's no big deal for you to make your wall suitable to bolt on.

 carr0t 05 Mar 2021
In reply to Mutley:

If it is outside, you will need to take weathering into consideration. The UK climate is not great for this kind of thing and even treated plywood will suffer over time, as will the holds and the fixings. As already mentioned, you will need some matting and that will be bulky and need to be stored in the dry, which requires space. Personally I wouldn't be going for an outdoor build unless it is covered by some sort of awning or roof. It's it's a temporary affair, then crack on I guess.

 Levy_danny 05 Mar 2021
In reply to Donotello:

Surely it's  more tiring to  type out a tetchy response than just to scroll past the thread? 

 deepsoup 05 Mar 2021
In reply to Levy_danny:

You would think.  Also, getting no replies in the first hour after posting at 9.30pm is not a 'lack of response' really.

It is good advice to use the search function and scan back through some of the many (many) previous threads on the subject though.

 webbo 05 Mar 2021
In reply to Mutley:

There is a maximum height for a structure in a garden especially if it’s near a boundary 2.5 metres. My advice would be to make it steep 30 degrees overhanging at least and this will be easier to make weather proof than a vertical wall. The kids will still be able to use it if you put big enough holds on it. My grandson age 6 spent an hour on mine a couple of weeks ago and it 40 degrees overhanging I just put some big jugs on it for him. I have t nuts in an 8 x 14 pattern on each 4 x 8 board plus some screw ones.

There are a couple of good threads on UKBouldering How to build a woodie is one.

In reply to carr0t:

> If it is outside, you will need to take weathering into consideration. The UK climate is not great for this kind of thing and even treated plywood will suffer over time, as will the holds and the fixings. As already mentioned, you will need some matting and that will be bulky and need to be stored in the dry, which requires space. Personally I wouldn't be going for an outdoor build unless it is covered by some sort of awning or roof. It's it's a temporary affair, then crack on I guess.

For reference, my wall is covered with a heavy duty 570g/m^2 PVC tarp which extents past the lip by 2m or so. It completely protects the wall at all times and allows climbing in anything other than sideways rain. I have seen people use cheap corrugated sheets for the same purpose. My wall has come out of this winter completely unaffected. I used treated timber and then applied multiple coats of varnish on top of that, even if water makes contact with it for any reason it runs straight down.

 combatrock 05 Mar 2021
In reply to Mutley:

I have PM'd you with a few things we learnt whilst building ours... 

 jkarran 05 Mar 2021
In reply to Mutley:

Firstly, if you think it might bother your neighbours, put a very rough sketch together of what you're thinking of and where then go talk to them. A good wall can fit in a small to mid size shed, there's no need to wind anyone up or spend a fortune.

Given your kids' ages and that you're beginners not looking for a steep training board and that it's going outside: I'd suggest building a log-store style shed for bouldering, 3 walls and a single pitch roof. The back wall needn't be vertical to make the climbing better and you can always add some simple volumes inside to make a more complex cave. The roof can be nearly flat and still provide useful climbing surface if the feet are kept on the walls, it doesn't need to be tall. 2x2 Frame, doesn't need to be heavy it's just helping tie the skins together and stiffening the wobbly bits. Ply/OSB/chipboard skin inside, felt or boards outside. You could potentially fit doors that hinge out and up to create more surface and make a more conventional looking shed when closed if you are worried what people will think. You'll want a weatherproof floor that doesn't puddle.

If the kids will have unsupervised access (no doors) then you want to give some thought to avoiding hook shaped holds they can get hung up on.

jk

Post edited at 10:39
 carr0t 05 Mar 2021
In reply to Alkis:

That is probably a good shout and will keep off the worst of it for quite some time I would imagine. I suppose it's all down to how much effort you want to expend in the end and what kind of "design life" you are aiming for. I have considered doing something like that and have been put off on several occasions for those reasons and went with an indoor one in the end.

It's all possible, but probably worth keeping these kinds of issues in mind when weighing up the decision.

In reply to carr0t:

Yeah, if I had the space I would have built an indoor wall for sure, things would have been much simpler in general. However, I have a tonne of garden space and no remaining space in the house.

In reply to Mutley:

I have built a climbing wall to continue training during lockdown. The kid got bored of it after one use as generally to keep a kid entertained you need quite a big one. They be expensive. I must've spend £500+ on mine and all the holds in total.

However, mine has been very useful for keeping my strength up over the past year as it's at an angle. Anything young kid-friendly might not be useful for getting stronger (unless your kids are absolute overhang crushers). For something that is a bit of fun it's a lot of money and time to spend and you might be better off waiting 4 more weeks for the gyms to reopen. 

Plus, depends on how hardy you all are. Mine is in the garden and I don't mind training on it in 0 degrees for hours because I have no soul. But kids meh not so keen in the winter.

I think it just depends on why you want one and refine it from that. Is it just for fun or is it for 'training'?. A climbing membership next month will be a cheaper and funner option for the kids. And I would personally just hold out for another month if I were you, and work out if you really need one later down the line but good luck whatever you decide

 Qwerty2019 05 Mar 2021
In reply to Mutley:

As the parent of a child who started climbing at 6 and had an outside wall for a couple of the early years I would recommend.........not bothering.  They end up as a pretty impressive ornament for most of the year while they rot away.

You are at the start of the climbing journey and your kids aren’t even on the journey.  It doesn’t matter how keen you are, once the walls open up, an outside wall won’t be very attractive when it’s cold, wet or just a bit boring.  
 

instead I would invest in one of those ninja warrior type Scaffold climbing frames for them to learn to swing and jump around like good little monkeys.  Bonus is the skills it will give will transfer into just about every sporting activity in the future and when climbing walls reopen, it will compliment the climbing they will do there.

Just read jellytrads post.  😀

Post edited at 18:33
 Spike 05 Mar 2021
In reply to Mutley:

Am sure there was an article on UKC recently about outside walls from serious climbing. Com but I cant find it now, had some really basic things to consider for outside walls, quite a good start. Not as daunting as the (very good) Metolious link posted above.

If you have better search skills than me then you might find it on UKC


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