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Another woody question...
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By Sheldon Deeny
From Odessa, TX
Mar 23, 2013
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I realize I am adding to the already numerous threads on woodies, but I'm hoping someone out there will chime in with some advice for my specific plan. I've read through many of the threads and gleaned some good ideas.

I'm limited to an apartment, 9ft ceiling, 17ft long by 10.5ft wide room. My plan is a free-standing, lean-to style steep woody ~40 degrees steep, 14" kicker, 2x6 framing, with one side attached to the wall with a single screw into a stud to keep it from going side to side, so not entirely free-standing, but easy to patch the hole. I'm thinking of running a 2x4 horizontally across the top so that the ends of the 2x6 are against the "4" inch side of the 2x4, if you know what I mean. I plan on 6-8" t-nut spacing in a grid. (I weigh 160 lbs if that matters any.)

-How wide can the woody be before the structure becomes prone to sagging in the middle?

-What is the widest 2x6 spacing I can get away with?

-Is 3/4 inch plywood OK?

There's no gym where I live, and climbing outdoors is limited to only a couple days a month, but luckily I live within 4 hrs of Hueco Tanks and steep quality sport routes in New Mexico. Even with a woody in the apartment, I may only be able to use it once a week.

I was originally thinking of a 45 degree wall with HIT strips and symmetrical holds to do systems board style workouts and "mirror" boulder problems (left and right) but decided against this. I've never done any training, but I think the HIT and systems would eventually become boring and encourage poor & repetitive movement patterns and technique. I'll instead be challenged to set my own problems. Are the expensive, name-brand holds like Nicros worth the extra money? I'm thinking of mixing a set of Moon Board holds with random jugs, edges, pockets, a few pinches and slopers, textured foot chips/bumps, with perhaps a small volume or two added as well. I suppose once I have the woody built, it can always be turned into a systems/HIT wall. A hangboard can be added on eventually, too, if I feel like trying it someday.

Thoughts? Suggestions? Thank you.

By Monomaniac
From Morrison, CO
Mar 24, 2013
Insurrection, 5.14c.  Photo Adam Sanders.


I would use a 2x6 across the top rather than a 2x4. This board is the only structural piece resisting the sagging of the wall. An even better solution would be to install plywood sheets on the BACKside of the wall as well. I would guess you could get away with 1/4" plywood for this. I think you could get away with an 8' wide wall, but that's just a guess. I'm sure someone out there has done this before.

2x6 spacing is determined by the height of the wall, and at that height, I think 16" OC would be fine. That's what I have in my gym and the walls are 12' high (and its rock solid). I wouldn't go any less than 16" OC. 2x6's are pretty cheap; plywood is expensive.

A 9'-tall, 8'-wide wall would be plenty big enough to be worth the trouble. I have roughly 750 sq feet but I do 90% of my hard climbing on a 12'-wide by 11'-high wall, and its fantastic.

I would say for a smaller woody, get the best holds you can afford. The cheap stuff is fine when you have a ton of square-footage you need to fill, but when you only need 50 holds or so, get good ones. If your holds suck, your porblems will suck, and you will dread using your woody. E-Grips makes the best holds out there, and among the elite hold-makers, their prices are relatively low. I can give you advice on specific hold sets if you want it.

A good way to save money on the whole project is to make the wall less-steep. Then buy smaller holds, which are a lot cheaper. If you make the wall crazy steep, you'll need a bunch of jugs, which are really expensive. An even better reason to do this, is that real rock (in the US) is mostly vertical to slabby and covered in small holds. Your training will be much more effective if you train on realistic holds. Fortunately such holds are small, and therefore cheap.

My opinion is that 40 degrees is too steep for an American route climber (maybe not for a boulderer). Even at the Red the walls rarely exceed 30 degrees overhanging. Crags like the Pipedream (at Maple) are few and far between. My favorite wall in my gym is 30 degrees. I also have 8 degree wall, which is not steep enough to be "fun," but is very realistic. and helps me prepare for the type of hard climbing I enjoy. If I were you I would start with 20 degrees or so...

Its not too hard to make the steepness adjustable, especially if its already free-staninding. If that sounds like something that interests you, let me know I can give you some pointers.

By Dana Bartlett
From CT
Mar 24, 2013

My opinion is that 40 degrees is too steep for an American route climber

Very sensible advice. Most of the home walls that I see on this site and others are that steep, and if you want to climb routes in the US that's not the best angle for training.


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