To stay in shape during the pandemic, Alex K. transformed the guest bedroom into a home climbing wall for his whole family. The pre-built wall made their Woodbridge, CT, installation easy.
When did you build your wall? Was it a COVID baby?
We had the wall up in the middle of July 2020. It was definitely a COVID baby.
How long did it take you to build and what did that time look like?
I have a demanding full-time job and also have to look after young kids, so decided to buy pre-built panels and frame pieces. The pieces came in the first week of July, and it took about five hours over several nights to screw everything together.
Not including holds and padding, how much did it cost you to build? Any surprises there? Most/Least expensive part?
The wall costs $1,300. There was no surprise because we bought pre-built pieces, the Rocket Wall from Rockstar Volumes. I knew going in the costs would be higher than if I do everything myself, but that was difficult given the constraints and I was satisfied with the professional-quality parts.
What are you doing for padding?
A memory foam mattress. The climbing wall sits where the guest bed used to be, so naturally the mattress became the padding. Unfortunately (or fortunately?) for any future guest, they will have to sleep under the climbing wall.
What was your primary incentive for the wall? Did anything in particular inspire your wall design?
The main motivation for the wall was to keep climbing. My daughter and I started climbing about 1.5 year ago. With the gyms closed during pandemic, we wanted to stay strong and maintain progress. With that goal in mind, we were fine with a simple wall at 30-degree overhang. Also, it was crucial for me that the wall is in a comfortable location, such that the kids and I would use it frequently. This was why we put it in the guest room inside the house.
What was the most difficult aspect of the design and build?
Honestly, one difficult aspect was to convince my spouse that we are getting rid of the guest room for a climbing wall! However, she was happy with the decision once she saw how excited the kids were on the wall.
What would you do differently?
So far, it’s working out very well and exactly as we expected.
Did you make any mistakes along the way or choose to re-do any aspects? If so, what?
Not in terms of the wall, but in terms of climbing hold selection. Because small holds are less expensive, we started with a lot of crimps and edges. However, those are straining on the fingers particularly after the pandemic hiatus. Gradually we are now filling out with more pinches and slopers to give it a good balance.
What is your favorite aspect?
My favorite aspect of the wall is that we have complete control over the routesetting. We love our home gym (Hi City Climb!), but it was a small gym and the bouldering routes were set for adults. Often times the kids could not try routes, not because of the difficulty per se, but because the holds were so far apart. At home, we set a spray wall, so the only limitation is their imagination. We have a rule now where if the kids design and complete a route, they get to name it, and it is a lot of fun.
How often do you use the wall? Do you think you’ll still use it as much when all of the gyms open back up?
I use the wall every other day. My kids use it almost every day. When we are ready to return to the gym, I envision the wall will still serve a purpose when I want to squeeze in a quick, intense training session.
Any words of wisdom to aspiring homewallers?
There is no need for a lot of space. Even a small wall can be fun and a great training tool.