A Woodie Project

By Luke Laeser ,

Our space, from start to finish. well, you know how it goes... it

Arêtes and other complicated features can be novel to climb on a few times but for training purposes they tend to lock you into the same set of moves, restrict crossways movement, allowing for stems, rests and head-butts … and it’s probably best to avoid them unless you have loads of space. The K.I.S.S. (keep it simple stupid) rule usually reigns supreme in so many cases.

I drew up a small plan for this wall, after we’d finally gotten the floor installed to carefully examine the different possibilities of building a barrel/box feature next to the 50º space. Having a 16’ x 16’ 50º wall seemed like too much wall at that angle, so why not mix it up? Having the large feature had some negative drawbacks though. It would close the space in a bit, restricting movement for more than several boulderers, and leave us with a big, gross, dihedral panel.

Eventually after much deliberation, and beer, we decided that it would best to keep it flush and add “volumes” to the wall, which would allow us to continually change the flow, and add any feature wanted to build. Volumes are individual features built from the same plywood and framing materials you used to build your wall. Volumes can be constructed in any shape like a hanging tufa, a pyramid, a box, any size, spun in any direction, holding dozens of holds — the options are endless. We decided adding volumes later would let us get climbing ASAP and give the most flexibility to our wall.


Flooring • Cracks • Sheeting • Paint • System Tiles • Decorate • Rock Holds(skip ahead)

Before finishing the sheeting we decided to add some crack features, just to do something different, and provide a bit more variety to our indoor experience. On the 40º degree wall we found a long 2”x10”x16’ that was used as a form from someone’s driveway in our subdivision. It has a crusty edge coated with concrete texture, perfect for jamming. Spacer blocks made from 2’x4’ and OSB plywood scraps placed about 2’ to 3’ feet apart provided a secure place to screw on the long board against the joists. Make sure to check the spacers carefully or you might end up with a crack that’s to thin or wide to have any fun jamming on. The size we made is perfect hands for most guys. Super man-hands or petites will probably get mauled.

The first step in building the handcrack was screwing blocks about 2-3 feet apart.

The finished handcrack. NOTE: The light brown goo is extra layers of Liquid Nails to make better jams.

The cracks are almost done.

The finished crack pods on the 75 degree wall.

A detail of the crack pods on the 75 degree wall. The lower locks are sickly knuckles/thin hands.

Screwing the last one of the 3/4

Hang the System Tiles

Flooring • Cracks • Sheeting • Paint • System Tiles • Decorate • Rock Holds(skip ahead)

Once you’re satisfied with the edge and texture of your tiles pre drill 4 holes into each tile. After you’ve put so much work into these it would be devastating to split one, so the pre-drilling should eliminate this worry. You will be putting an insane amount of force on these tiles so it’s very important that they are strong and well anchored.

Now put em up! If you preset all the screws it will make the next task faster. A chalk line will help keep them inline. The distribution/spacing is up to, how much space you have, how many tiles you made … we ended with 31 tiles which was perfect for our space but this only left us with one in the roof… There are so many fun exercises you can do with system tiles, tops, sides, underclings, cross feet, rose moves, skip one, dyno, skip two…. As well as campusing on them.

Playing ...

Time to decorate.

Some holds are made with a dual texture surface making it harder to get as much meat around it.

To get the most from your bouldering sessions keep the feet small through the bottom 3-4 feet of your wall. It makes you focus and forces you to high step.

After a few sessions on your wall you will learn which feet are easier to use.

Make Holds with Rocks

Flooring • Cracks • Sheeting • Paint • System Tiles • Decorate • Rock Holds(skip ahead)

A Hammer-drill or drill press are perfect tools for making handholds. Select anything with a flat back that has the size and texture you like. The hardest part is not breaking the rock while drilling it. Your local hardware store has the 3/8" bolts and washers to complete the job.

This one broke. It

A nice, thin piece of slate.

Southern sandstone.

Another cast-concrete hold with a slightly rough texture.

A shatered quartz cobble.

EnlargeA pile of rocks on the porch.

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