HWOW 59 – Outdoor Multi-Angle Family Wall

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CBJ Homewall of the Week

This nice backyard build has angles for the whole family. Owner Ben Parsons built it at his parent’s place in Lotus, CA, and like many homewall projects it kept growing as the space allowed.  Check out past HWOW here.

CBJ Homewall of the Week

When did you build your wall? Was it a “COVID baby”?

The wall was most definitely a COVID baby, but we love her just as much all the same. My dad and I started construction on the wall in January 2021.

How long did it take you to build and what did that time look like?

Fortunately, we had a well-defined space to work with that was already leveled and in good condition, which certainly saved us several days worth of work prepping the area for the scaffold. All said and done, erecting the scaffold and installing the panels and roof took about a week for the two of us. The days were long – we worked from early morning through to late afternoon, about 10 hours – but the labor wasn’t horribly backbreaking (just mildly so).

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

The original design for the wall was to spec it out as a Moonboard… but then we kept on thinking of how we could efficiently utilize the space we had. So, the design got more ambitious as time went on. At the end of the day the total cost of the buildout was ~$1500. We probably could have dropped the price somewhat, but since it’s an outdoor wall we went with birch plywood, pressure-treated wood for the scaffold, and nice water-resistant paint and sealant to give it some staying power.

What are you doing for padding?

So far crashpads have been more than sufficient (plus, it’s easy to pack the pads into the car for days on real rock).

What was your primary incentive for the wall? Did anything in particular inspire your wall design?

I’ve dreamed of building one for years, but over the course of the quarantine I developed some basic carpentry skills that acted as a catalyst for me to commit to building the wall out. In terms of inspiration, I love board climbing, so while the true angle of the overhang is 44 degrees, echoes of Moonboard can be found in most of the routes I set in the steep.

CBJ Homewall of the Week

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

Surprisingly, nothing stopped us in our tracks, but the most difficult part of the build was probably adapting to the fact that our space
was actually a couple of degrees off square. It doesn’t seem like much, but that small difference can snowball and lead to panels not
slotting the way they’re supposed to.

What would you do differently?

When installing panels on overhanging terrain, it’s worthwhile to either use panels smaller than the standard 4×8, or make clever use of wood scraps (for example, use scrap wood as cleats to hold panels in place while you screw in to the scaffold. This saves both back pain for the person holding the panel, and time in the long run).

Did you make any mistakes along the way or choose to re-do any aspects?

Both my dad and I are neurotic when it comes to home improvement projects, so you could say that out mistake was spending hours fretting over minor details that almost certainly wouldn’t have impacted the quality of the wall.

What is your favorite aspect?

When it’s the rainy season, climbing at night is something special. We designed the tin roof to be about half an inch lower on the back side, so when it rains water only flows to the back of the site, never the front. This keeps both the wall and surrounding ground dry. Combine the sounds of rain on a tin roof and the cozy glow of the floodlights we installed, and it makes for some surprisingly relaxing sessions!

CBJ Homewall of the Week

How often do you use the wall? Do you think you’ll still use it as much when the gyms fully open back up?

I live in the bay area, and the wall is out at my parent’s property near Tahoe, so while I only manage to get out there once or twice a month, everyone else in the family loves it and uses it several times per week. Gyms have been open for a couple of months and I’m arguably using it more often than when everything was under lockdown, which I think speaks to how quality the climbing on the wall is.

Any words of wisdom to aspiring homewallers?

If you’ve got a basic handle on geometry, a few carpentry skills and associated tools, and some cash to burn, go for it! I was surprised at how quickly everything went once I pulled the trigger.


Want us to consider your woody for a future Homewall of the Week? Submit your homewall here to be considered. Winners get a $100 giftcard to Atomik to pick out some goodies for their homewall. Thanks Kenny!

CBJ Homewall of the Week