Jen Scheer // Merritt Island, FL
When did you build your wall? Was it a “COVID baby”?
The wall was built in spring of 2019 for my daughter who was five years old at the time. It was before we knew anything about rock climbing. So not a COVID wall, though it was nice to have when things were closed. Just recently we renovated it from am 8’ by 8’ vertical wall to a much larger design with multiple angles.
How long did it take you to build and what did that time look like?
The original design was done in a few days; it was a simple vertical wall so it was pretty straightforward. Furring strips and plywood, t-nut installation. We also sealed it with polyurethane so shoe marks would wipe off, so that took a bit of time. For the renovation expansion, it was about 2 full weekends to get it done.
Not including holds and padding, how much did it cost you to build? Any surprises there?
About $400 for the whole thing. We used a nice quality birch plywood and the price increased a good bit for the recent expansion over what we paid for the original panels. No real surprises.
What are you doing for padding?
Currently we are using Nugget Comfort kids play foam couches for padding. We have two and each one is about nine inches thick. They are working out pretty well.
What was your primary incentive for the wall? Did anything in particular inspire your wall design?
Originally when we built the wall, our daughter needed a way to burn off excess energy, especially during the summers in Florida when it is too hot for the playground. At the time we had no experience with rock climbing. Since then we have become members at a climbing gym and we climb there 2-3 times a week. After climbing and bouldering at a gym for over year, we decided that our wall needed an expansion to make it more challenging.
What was the most difficult aspect of the design and build?
The small top roof piece- getting it securely attached and squared up with everything.
What would you do differently?
For our original build, my answer was more t-nuts, but in the renovation we got to go back and fix that.
Did you make any mistakes along the way or choose to re-do any aspects?
Our original panels were sparsely populated with t-nuts as mentioned and the edges of the panels were rough. We hadn’t realized that the edges and top would be something that a climber would use. In the renovation/expansion, we chose to take down the original panels, add a bunch of t-nuts, shape the plywood edges and sand them nice and smooth. Then we added the new panels (on the left) with a slight angle and the small roof section.
What is your favorite aspect?
I love that we can set problems that are appropriate for my daughter’s reach and height. She has just started getting into bouldering and we find that the routes are not often set with kids in mind. Also I love the amazing large volumes we got from EP USA, and the great holds and smaller volumes that are easy to move around from Atomik. I also really like the little storage shelves we made on the open end that hold climbing shoes, setters wrench, and bolts.
How often do you use the wall? Do you think you’ll still use it as much when the gyms fully open back up?
She uses the wall almost every day, even after we come home from climbing at the gym. Our gym has been open for a while, so yes, she’ll definitely keep using it.
Any words of wisdom to aspiring homewallers?
If you are building a wall for a child, make sure it can grow with them. It could be the spark that ignites their love of rock climbing.
Do you have any connection to climbing brands or gyms?
We are active members at our local climbing gym, The Edge in Melbourne, Florida. It is super friendly and homey. Hi Juan and Dakota!