How Indoor Rock Climbing Walls are Made


Times have certainly changed over the past few months. Your kids are likely spending more time sitting behind screens than running around and playing outside or even indoors. As a very popular saying goes, “Sitting is the new smoking.”

For some, indoor rock climbing is a fun and adventurous activity. But if you are unable to go inside certain places due to limits or restrictions, you can still keep yourself and your kids entertained and active. How? By building your own indoor rock climbing wall. Here’s how to get started:

Step 1- Evaluate your space

Check out all of the free spaces in your home. Do you have a high enough wall in your garage? Or do you have one in the living room? Check on electrical wirings, storage spaces needed, or any other requirements that you may have.

Step 2 – Design the wall

Think of your wall as a series of 8-foot-wide modules. According to how much space you have available, identify one or more basic wall shapes that you want to include in your design. Picture various designs, angles, sizes, and then imagine how the layout would be. The smartest thing to do here is looking at your existing walls as the base of the structure and imagining ply as a 3D triangular inclining frame for the rock climbing wall. You can choose one or more basic wall shapes to include in your design.  You can also consider climbing frames as a great option.

Step 3 – Enlist your material requirements

The next step is to enlist all of the materials you need to build the wall. This would include:

  • Plywood: 3/4″ ACX, 4’x 8′ sheets.

  • Wood framing-studs: 2″x 4″, 2″x 6″, 2″x 8″, 2″x 10″

  • Self-drilling decking screws: #14 x 3-1/2″ (or 4-1/2″), #12 x 3″, #8 x 2″

  • Nails: 16d vinyl-coated, sinker.

  • T-nuts: 3/8″, 4-prong, steel.

  • Concrete expansion anchors.

  • Joist hangers.

  • Framing connectors.

  • Tape measure

  • Level, 4′

  • Combination or framing square

  • Chalk line

  • T-bevel

  • Pencils

  • Stud finder

  • Claw hammer

  • Wood chisel

  • Circular saw

  • Miter saw

  • Power drill

  • Drill bits, incl. 1/2″ spade or Forstner

  • Cordless drill or screw gun

  • Screwdriver bits, #2 Phillips head or square drive (Get a lot of these; they wear out fast!)

  • Jigsaw

  • Extension cords

  • Pry bar

  • Gloves

  • Safety glasses

  • Step ladder and/or extension ladder

  • Sawhorses

  • Various clamps, including 6″ C-clamps and 12″ bar clamps

  • Hex wrenches: 5/16″ and 7/32″

  • Paints.

You must determine the necessary sizes and types of materials and how each type of material will attach to the others. Also, make sure you prepare a budget so that you can make sure you stick to it.

Step 4 – Start Building

Start building the structure of the wall as per your designs, and then put all of it together well. You could turn this into a fun family activity – be sure to keep the kids away from the tools and sharp objects. Once the structure is up, the kids can join you with painting it. Any exterior-grade paint will work.

Step 5 – Fall Zone

In order to create a fall zone, you can use mattresses stacked on top and alongside one another, or you could even buy commercially available bouldering pads. Whatever material you choose, do make sure it is absolutely safe and can hold the weight of your kids falling with momentum.

Step 6 – Have fun!

After finally building the wall, it’s time to let your kids go climbing and have fun with it. If it’s high enough, maybe you can hop on too.

Following these steps, you can build your own indoor rock climbing wall. Remember to periodically check bolts, screws, and joints for looseness, wear, or damage. Remember, your family’s safety should be your utmost priority.

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