/ Home bouldering wall, angles/space etc...

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Tom Last - on 12 Jun 2013
Hi all.

I'm after some advice on building an interior bouldering wall.

Basically what I'm asking is which of the two rooms available should I put it in?

I'm moving to a new flat and have a choice of two reasonably sized rooms in which to put it. There are no exposed ceiling joists so the whole thing needs to be free standing.

The two rooms are as follows.

The largest room is about 14x9' whilst the smallest is 12x7' or thereabouts. Both rooms are built into the roof, so part (most) of both their ceilings are angled at about 50 degrees off vertical.

In the larger room the length of the diagonal is about 10'. This runs from low to high across the shortest (9') axis of the room, so the width of the overhang is the full 14'. The remaining horizontal ceiling space is about 18 inches.

In the smaller room, the length of the diagonal is about 7'. This runs from low to high across the longest (12') axis of the room, so the width of the overhang is about 7'. The remaining horizontal ceiling space is about 6'.

So on paper, the larger room looks well, larger! However, given that 50 degrees overhanging is probably not an optimal angle for a small bouldering wall, I'm wondering which room I should choose.

In the larger of the two rooms, as the overhang runs from L-H across the short axis, I will have less space to change to angle to 30 or 45 degrees, although I will be left with a lot of traversing space. Whilst in the smaller of the two room, given that I've got a full 6' of horizontal ceiling space and the overhang runs L-H across the long axis, I can comfortably change the overhang to a more optimal angle, but the overall area will be smaller.

It probably helps if I explain a bit what I want it for. Basically, I want to increase endurance, whilst maintaining strength and hopefully making some gains there too.

I understand that about 30 degrees off vertical is considered best if you're not a double hard bastard and don't want to cover the thing in jugs. On the other hand, since I want to train for endurance (mostly), could I be better off going with the larger room and 50 degree roof and doing longer circuits hauling away on jugs after all? I do think I might get a bit bored with this though. Also, generally if I find myself upside down on a route outside then something's gone very, very wrong - so no need to train for being upside down specifically.

Bouldering, I can sometimes on-sight about 6B+ and climb up to about 6C+/7A. The aim of this wall would be to push this up to about 7B+. So I'd want a range of stuff covering 6A-7B. I also want to increase endurance to enable me to push my trad from very occassional E2 on-sight limit up to E3/4 etc. I dunno what I'll need to set circuit-wise for this.

As for the build of the thing, as I say it has to be self supporting. I'm not exactly the World's greatest builder of stuff, so I'll be keeping the whole thing simple and non- adjustable.

So which room should I go for you reckon and what angle?

I hope that some, at least, of that made sense.

Cheers all!
Kieran_John - on 14 Jun 2013
In reply to Tom Last:

I squeezed a small bouldering wall in to a new build garage (pretty much square, 8foot 2" wide, 8foot tall, length wasn't an issue really) so I'm sure either of the rooms will do realistically

Just be aware that the angle you plan is likely not going to be the angle you end up with, unless you're a lot more skilled at carpentry than myself and my friend (which, to be frank, wouldn't be difficult). I aimed for 35-ish, it's probably much closer to 40+.

Also is budget an issue? Larger juggy grips tend to be a lot more expensive than little crimpers. You could make your own too.

I bought the ply/grips off someone on here for mine and then built a free standing frameIt's not the largest of training walls but it does me. The grips are all generally pretty juggy with some smaller ones thrown in there for good measure.

I'm finding I can do 5 to 6 circuits of the wall on a route I set up on the plastic, and 1 to 2 on a route I've set up 'wood only'. To the left (not visible on the pic), I mounted a finger board too in the remaining space.

I don't boulder as hard as you, probably 6A on-sight and up to 6B+ and I built the wall largely as a bit of a project and something just to keep me in shape (not necessarily improve at climbing) which is why the steep angle and juggy grips do me. The finger board is there if I feel like increasing finger strength (though I do wish I'd gone Beastmaker 2000 instead of 1000).

As for design, mine is free standing and is really simple. If I can do it, pretty much anyone can. It's nice and stable (creaks a little!) though I wouldn't really like to do any massively dynamic moves on it!
Fraser on 14 Jun 2013
In reply to Tom Last:

I think I'd probably go for the smaller room. Whichever you do choose, make sure you have allowance for movement / swing space. There's no point in having a 45° wall running from one side of the room to the other - you'll hit your head/arm/back a lot of times. The 6' flat ceiling in the smaller room will give you a bit of space. Having said that, you also want room on each side (this is often not realised). Without this, you're essentially "quarantining" almost 2' on each side of the board, which is wasteful.

For endurance, I'd have the angle set to mimic the angle of routes you're wanting to do, specificity and all that. Mine is 10' x 10' but less than 20°, as I'm rarely on steeper routes. I also built and set mine for a specific route, which was long at 54 moves, similarly angled and with no real crux.

Bouldering to 7B+ sounds to me more like power improvements are the target though, rather than endurance. Pulling those sort of moves will get you up most hard trad routes I'd have thought!

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