Using just three simple angles, (vert, 45, and 90), Nate Peach constructed an efficient space in his Newberg, OR, garage.
When did you build your wall? Was it a COVID baby?
I built my 45-degree wall in 2011. The vertical and horizontal portions were built in 2012. Well before covid was a twinkle in anyone’s eye.
How long did it take you to build and what did that time look like?
Probably 10 – 15 hours of actual building. There were a few hours of design and getting materials. The worst part is putting the t-nuts in. I had one person helping me. Getting the dimensions on the 45-degree portion correct was the most challenging. My floor isn’t level so there were a couple of trips to Home Depot to get the frame correct.
Not including holds and padding, how much did it cost you to build? Any surprises there? Most/Least expensive part?
Probably $300 – $500. I was surprised at how cheap plywood was. T-nuts add up quickly though.
What are you doing for padding?
I use old mattresses and retired climbing pads. It’s easy to find good mattresses on Craigslist since you have to pay to dispose of them in most areas. The two mattresses I have were free and in great condition when I got them.
What was your primary incentive for the wall? Did anything in particular inspire your wall design?
I wanted to use it get strong. I only have 8′ ceilings so I knew I couldn’t set long problems, but I could set really hard ones. I wanted it to be simple. Often clever designs backfire (e.g., there is one sequence to get through an angle transition). I have a gym membership, so I thought of my wall as a complement to things gyms do well like varied terrain, having big holds, etc. I also have a family and pretty busy job. The time I save by being able to train at home is huge. I wouldn’t be able to climb nearly as well if I could only climb outside and at commercial gyms.
What was the most difficult aspect of the design and build?
Framing the 45-degree section correct was challenging. Despite double checking the math my initial calculations didn’t work.
What would you do differently?
Not much, I love my wall. I do wish I had painted it. It would look a lot nicer and with the right color the garage would feel brighter. Oregon is often cold and wet, so little things like that go a long way.
Did you make any mistakes along the way or choose to re-do any aspects? If so, what?
The only mistake was incorrectly cutting the frame for the 45-degree section.
What is your favorite aspect?
Being able to set my own problems. I have had a lot success setting simulators for outdoor projects. Setting has also raised my climbing IQ significantly. When you’re forced to think so much about every move and hold it can’t help but improve your climbing. My beta discovering skills outside have improved as a result.
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?
Once or twice a week. Even when gyms are open this is how much I use it. You can’t beat the convenience of walking out to the garage for a session.
Any words of wisdom to aspiring homewallers?
Buy small holds. They’re cheaper and the strength you gain using them translates well to the outside. Don’t get clever with angles. Keep it simple and get strong. Be clever with your space. I use the area behind my wall to store camping gear and other things. If you’re efficient your wall doesn’t need to take up a ton of space.