How I Built a Boulder Wall in My Garage, Part 1

Ever since I started climbing, I have always wanted my own boulder wall. So last year I decided it was time! On weekends during the last couple of months I have been slowly working on it and recently finally built the first part of it in my garage. I wasn’t paying much attention to taking pictures while I was building it, because I was too excited about the building process itself. Here’s how I built a boulder wall in my garage.

I am not quite finished yet, but the first bits are up and running and I have already gotten a few sore muscles training on it. Here’s how it looks like.

The eagle eyed observers among you will notice, the wooden construction continues on the ceiling, and that is also where I intend to add a few more panels for the roof section. That will be covered in part two of this report.

Requirements

I had only a few requirements for my wall before I started. It had to hold my massive, yet adorable carcass. So, the even 112 kg, which I currently weigh. Due to this requirement, the structure holding the wall up is attached to the concrete walls and ceiling using some pretty long screws. Now for the design itself I didn’t plan too much. I improvised mostly. I knew I wanted two different degrees of overhangs, because vertical walls get boring rather quick. None-the-less I will add one vertical wall on one of the sides for support and for my wife, who also wants to train with me, but the overhangs are too much to start on. Aside from that … I had no further requirements.

The supporting structure

The support behind the walls is built using wooden beams, I don’t exactly remember the measurements, but I think they were somewhere in the 4 cm by 6 cm range, or maybe slightly bigger. I attached the carrying beams directly to the concrete ceiling and walls. On these I added further support, onto which I attached the metal anchors, which in turn supported the main beams. I do regret not taking pictures in the process. If you have questions about this part, let me know and I will try to squeeze a camera behind the wall and snap some pics for you. Maybe I will do that anyway.

You can see a bit of the supporting structure in this picture, though.

trying-out-the-structural-integrity
The first half was ready to be tested. If it will at all hold me.

The wall

I used 22 mm OSB boards for the actual walls.  For the ease of transport I cut them down to 1,25 m long and 1 m wide panels. As they are meant to overlap that added some structural stability once I screwed them on the wall. That also made it easier making holes for the holds. After annoying some neighbors and almost blowing my ear drums I decided against hammering in the nuts. Instead I screwed them in, one by one using screws from the other side until they were placed perfectly. Also by doing this I avoided having any of the nuts placed at a wrong angle. Essentially I tested every single one of the nuts beforehand.

placing-the-nuts-on-wall-panels
I was placing the nuts on the wall panels one-by-one.

I have used many, many screws and quite a few hours. After all the holes were drilled, the nuts placed, the panels hanged on the wall and my holds arrived in the mail, I still needed to paint the wall. Charcoal black was the obvious choice. Then some old mattresses we had laying around and voila. It’s not huge. But it’s mine. And after I add the roof  and a vertical sections it will be unbeatable!

I will be quite good in sitting starts after a while, because the wall is so low every problem starts sitting down. 🙂

Here I am, on the wall, for scale. If you can make me out. The dust and chalk were flying when Sabrina snapped the pic first time around. I’ll post better quality pics in part two, once the wall is developed further. More holds have already arrived. 😉

human-for-scale
My 1,79 m carcass for scale.

Stay tuned for the next part. Thanks for hanging out with me.

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