Homewall of the Week 1 – Coronavirus Build in Fort Collins

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Home climbing wall to get through coronavirus lockdown

To kickoff the CBJ Homewall of the Week we picked one many of you could relate to – the “quick coronavirus build”. This one lives in Fort Collins, Colorado, and is owned by Amanda P. who won a copy of High Drama, some 8B+ chalk, and other goodies. Future picks will be other unique walls as varied as our climbing community. See past homewalls here.

Homewall of the Week: Fort Collins - a wall to help get through the Coronavirus lockdown

How long did it take you to build?

Long version: We got all the lumber and hardware on a Saturday. My husband and 14 year old worked on it in the garage the following week as time allowed (my husband’s also working from home)… two longer sessions and three shorter sessions. We were ready to assemble it by the following Saturday. Short version: About a week!

Not including holds and padding, how much did it cost you to build?

$780 – for lumber, hardware, and truck rental to get the lumber home ($20). Along the way, we also did end up spending a couple hundred on tools… an impact driver and new drill bits.

Did anything in particular inspire your wall design?

Things we knew: (1) We wanted an overhang and as much climbing space as we could afford. (2) We had to do it inside – we didn’t want to deal with our CO weather and our HOA has too many restrictions, LOL). (3) We needed it to be modular so we could build it in the garage and move it into the house. And (4) We wanted it to be freestanding so that we can move it if necessary – it’s in the entrance of our house… the first room you walk into. Basically, we just worked within our constraints to make the biggest wall we could.

(My 14 year old is on our local climbing gym’s competition climbing team, having been introduced to rock climbing a little over a year ago. He’s ALL about climbing now and was so missing climbing during these stay at home orders, and is bummed that the sport climbing competition season is pretty much over now. He also has juvenile idiopathic arthritis so actually needs to move around regularly to keep flare ups at bay. Climbing has been a lifesaver for that. He might have preferred a steeper wall, but we agreed on 30 degrees so that it’s not too difficult for me. I’ve been climbing less than a year and really enjoy it but am nowhere near as skilled as he is.)

What was the most difficult aspect of the design and build?

The hardest part, probably, was figuring out how to design everything so that it was modular and could be assembled by just us. My husband added rails along the sides to keep the plywood panels in place during assembly – and also to add sturdiness the rest of the time – and we had to lift and push that last panel all the way up the first two to get it into place. Fortunately, we have three teenage boys. The other tricky part was making sure we didn’t hit the ceiling. Thank goodness we’re all good at math.

Homewall of the Week: Fort Collins - top rail on your home climbing wall is a nice touch

What would you do differently?

Honestly, aside from the obvious fact that we’d love to add more holds and get an actual crash pad or two, we’re pretty happy with the build. It meets our needs for now and will be a nice supplement once we can get back to our local climbing gym. Oh, and we would have ordered more t-nuts to begin with. By the time we realized we’d need more, t-nuts were backordered pretty much everywhere. Fortunately, the wonderful folks at SToKed Climbing had a small batch in stock and was able to ship immediately.

What is your favorite aspect?

Beyond just having it ready to climb, we really like the rounded handrail at the top edge for a finish, my husband found a hemlock handrail length at Home Depot that worked perfectly. And the galvanized steel pole is great because it takes up much less visual space in the room than the necessary wooden supports would have. Also, it’s fun to climb!

Homewall of the Week: Fort Collins - make a scale model of your home climbing wall

Any words of wisdom to other aspiring homewallers?

Making a scale model first was really helpful to visualize things and then to also plan supply needs. We originally asked our 19 year old mechanical engineering student to model it for us with software, but he was busy with online classes, LOL. Also, joining the Home Climbing Wall Forum on Facebook was so helpful for inspiration and being able to ask questions. The climbing community really is the very best!

Want us to consider your woodie for a future Homewall of the Week? Submit your homewall here to be considered. If yours is chosen you’ll win a prize pack like this (varied prizes each week):

CBJ swag pack with copy of High Drama and 8Bplus chalk