Kristof Overdulve // Brasschaat, Belgium
When did you build your wall? Was it a “COVID baby”?
I started thinking about it in November 2020 and built it at the end of December 2020. COVID lockdowns inspired the idea, but I wanted a useful training tool before that.
How long did it take you to build and what did that time look like?
During the planning phase, we worked on the design for a few hours over a few weeks. Eventually, we got together for three days and built the wall. We prepared the wood and welted the metal the first day, then we assembled and installed the frame, and finally, we placed the wood on the structure and finished up.
Not including holds and padding, how much did it cost you to build? Any surprises there?
The wall cost around 600 EUR. The wall supports multiple climbing angles: vertical for technical training, for the kids and to have it occupy as little space as possible, 20 degrees for more challenging climbing, and 40 degrees to go all out. The rail system that supports the wall was the most expensive (approx. 250 EUR). We could have saved a lot of money by looking for cheaper suppliers and by choosing lighter equipment. I am not a structural engineer, so we always bought equipment that is definitely strong enough for the loads, even when it might have been overkill.
What are you doing for padding?
We use a second hand 30cm gymnastic crash pad. Luckily we got a good deal on this one to cut costs.
What was your primary incentive for the wall? Did anything in particular inspire your wall design?
I was looking for a flexible, realistic training tool. I also wanted the wall to occupy little space when not used but still be a useful training tool that leverages overhangs. I could not be happier about the result. Some routes have a different beta at different angles, increasing the routes’ longevity significantly.
What was the most difficult aspect of the design and build?
Working together with my father in law :-D. Building the wall was not too hard, even for a guy with two left hands like myself.
What would you do differently?
I’m not sure whether I would choose a metal frame over a wooden frame again. Agreed, it is light and robust. But it makes manipulations, like drilling holes into the metal, difficult.
Did you make any mistakes along the way or choose to re-do any aspects?
We made several small mistakes, like having some misalignments in the drilled holes. We made the mistake of assembling the wood to the frame before installing the t-nuts. I would not choose white as paint anymore because it gets dirty quickly.
What is your favorite aspect?
I love being able to set the wall at multiple angles. A route that is modestly difficult at 20 degrees becomes near impossible at 40. I hired a local professional routesetter (if namedropping is allowed, thank you Boris Ceurvels) to set the routes and choose the holds (all Agripp), and I love the result. Every climbing and every move is hard for me, so I love the training.
How often do you use the wall?
I use the wall every other day. The holds are all brand new and hurt the fingers a lot, so more training is infeasible. My children play on it every day. When the gym opens up, I will still use the wall for practice and studying problems. Peer pressure at the gym sometimes leads you to prefer climbing to your strengths. We built this wall to train weaknesses.
Any words of wisdom to aspiring homewallers?
Take your time to assemble materials and build the wall. I put too much pressure on myself getting the build done, and now I regret that I forgot to enjoy the building process. Make it a fun project instead of work. Also, hire a professional routesetter or trainer to make the wall work for you. Otherwise, you have an expensive toy with mediocre routes.