The Hell Cave, a Moonboard, and a sweet bluetooth system make Jed P’s home gym in Madbury, NH, the ultimate training dojo.
When did you build your wall? Was it a COVID baby?
This spring, but we were planning it since 2018. I started thinking of this build back in 2016 when my wife and I started building our house. I knew there would be usable space above my wood shop and remember standing up on a frozen deck in a snowstorm figuring heights and widths of the attic so I could build the cave.
How long did it take you to build and what did that time look like?
3 months. Workdays really varied with what we were doing. Some days we would be framing and others we’d run duct work and set up the mini split and air filtration. I was working on the project in between work, some evenings, and every weekend. On the weekends I would work 10/12-hour days to get it done. I definitely burnt the candle at both ends and my wife was there helping and supporting me with every aspect of the build. If I was working on the cave it was nonstop. Towards the end of the process, I realized between my job and the build I had worked over 90 days straight and a lot of them over 8 hours a day. I’ve been a finish carpenter for over 20 years with lots of experience in other trades. This build was a point of pride for me: I’m a climber and a wood worker and I wanted the Hell Cave to show that!!!
Who helped you with the build?
It was mostly me and my wife building but friends in our COVID bubble did come and help when tasks were just too big. My friends Todd and Chris were hands on! Todd saved me by helping with the insulation and hauling heavy items up the ladder. Chris came and did 90% of the electrical. If it weren’t for these two, I’d still be building the Cave. One of the best parts about the cave is how the community came together and donated to buy holds and training equipment!!! If it wasn’t for Korey’s iPad donation to run the Moonboard, as well as music and dollars from Haji, Andersen, Little Will, and Vivian, we wouldn’t have all the different holds and campus equipment we have!!! When friends come together, great things happen!!! I can’t wait for Covid-19 to be under wraps and have an open house to show everyone what they contributed to!!!!
Not including holds and padding, how much did it cost you to build? Any surprises there?
The whole build cost approximately $16000 without the holds. I started with a budget and kept it under wraps pretty much till the end. Overages included the flooring and unseen mechanical mistakes. Most of the finances went to building out the attic, HVAC, air filtration, insulation, and the plywood for the walls. Minor costs came from adding the finishing touches, electrical, and building the stairs. The HVAC, the Moonboard, and insulation were the most expensive parts. Surprisingly, framing and electrical were the least expensive major parts of the build. Being in the trades, I was pretty spot on with figuring costs. I think I was most excited about my sound system that runs off of blue tooth and only costed us $200.
What was your primary incentive for the wall? Did anything in particular inspire your wall design?
I wanted to make a space that was clean, easy to use, and Aesthetically pleasing. It really was dictated by the space we had and a goal to keep lines clean and the space simple.
What was the most difficult aspect of the design and build?
The HVAC and the aretes.
What would you do differently?
I’d use all Baltic Birch panels.
Did you make any mistakes along the way or choose to re-do any aspects?
There were plenty of little mistakes made but nothing that needed a re-do. Most of the mistakes revolved around the mechanicals and stuff outside of wood working.
Highlights / lowlights of the process?
The most exciting part of the build was getting all the holds on the Moonboard and setting up the training equipment. Seeing it all come together into an amazing place to train was really rewarding. There were lots of little highlights that kept us going like getting the AC running and the sound system going. There were also lots of lows. the tediousness of certain jobs such as insulation and hauling almost 40 sheets of plywood up a ladder really beat us up. A few times, frustration crept in and we would butt heads and have to take mental breaks.
What is your favorite aspect?
The Moonboard and comfort of the work out space. Both my wife and I have specific routes and grades we are gunning for. We feel the Moonboard is really going to up our game.
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?
My wife uses the space 5-6 days a week and I use it 3-4 days a week. When it is safe to go to gyms again, we will. The ‘Hell Cave’ will be an easy place to train, while the gyms will be more just about the climbing.
Any words of wisdom to aspiring homewallers?
Keep your lines simple and if you have space, have a few different angles.