An artificial climbing wall can be broken down to 4 easy parts: Framing, Sheathing, Anchors, and Hardware
Framing: Typically using a nominal stud grade lumber. Nominal refers to the described size, a 2x4 measures 1 1/2" x 3 1/2" and a 2x6 measures 1 1/2" x 5 1/2", etc. The size discrepancy is due to the modern wood processing and kiln drying at the mill. For ease of description we will be using nominal sizing, such as 2"x4", 2"x6", and so forth. The actual lumber dimensions important to know when planning your project. Remember to dig through the pile and find the straightest, best quality lumber you can find.
Sheathing: This is the actual climbing wall surface, use at least 3/4 inch plywood. Use CDX (cheap exterior grade) sold in 4ft. x 8ft. sheets. These are very heavy so remember to bring your sturdy friend along. This will be the most expensive lumber you buy for this project, each sheet will run around $20.
NEVER use particle board, or paneling!
The way you secure your climbing wall to the existing structure is very
important. There are several methods for attaching your wall to the existing
structure. If your house (basement, Garage, Attic) has an exposed structure
(wood to wood) you can use any combination of carriage bolts, lag bolts,
or 4" wood screws.
Hardware: With the right accessories your bouldering wall can be the source of great pride, and entertainment for years. With a good library of holds, and goodies, you will get stronger and better, and have a blast doing it!
T-nuts, a special threaded nut, hammered into the back of the wall, which bites into the Plywood. This is what the holds are connected to. With out T-Nuts there is no climbing wall!
Hangers, the same metal hangers found on outdoor sport climbs. These metal hangers (purchased at climbing stores) can be attached to the wall with a ½ inch bolt, and practice your lead clipping techniques. This is just to practice clipping on hard holds and positions.
NOTE: DO NOT actually lead climb on these, the wood will not hold a fall. You will only accomplish ripping the T-Nut out of the wall, and falling on your ass!
Quick Draws, These go along with the Hangers, you can practice clipping them to hangers, or leave them up and practice clipping a rope to them. These can be purchased at most climbing stores.
Holds, you can purchase holds from many different companies. These holds are made from epoxy, and have a textured finish, with an enormous number of shapes. The Modular type are best for changing routes easily. If you are feeling creative and have wood working tools available, you can always try making your own holds. They aren't the best and many of them will break, but at least they're cheap! If you would like to order some holds we carry Pusher and Entre' Prises.
Crash pad(s), Essential! They put your mind in a comfort zone when doing hard moves, and protect you if you fall. There are several companies making specific crash pads (Revolution, or even Misty Mountain) they all have a good cushioning. Many people use the less expensive "old smelly mattress", these work well also. But the greatest comfort I have had was using a Cordless "Big Boy" , now called the Revolution Bazooka for tough roof moves.
Large Group Chalk Bag, You and your friends can start your
own cult. Complete with ceremonial chalk bag and anointing of the hands
with the strange powder. Or you could just use a group chalk bag for climbing,
which remains on the floor and holds up to 10 blocks of chalk.