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Family Fun

Make a Climbing Wall

For less than $200, you can build a portable climbing wall that’s fun, teaches confidence and builds strength.

Climbing the walls with the kids home for the summer? Why not climb a real wall? If there’s not a climbing wall nearby, ask friends and neighbors to share the cost and effort of creating your own.

With this plan, you can build a wall and change the degree of difficulty for each family member or age group by adjusting the slope of the walls.

(4)  2” x 6” x 8’ boards
(4)  2” x 6” x 4’ boards
(2)  4’ x 8’ x ¾” sheets of plywood
(2)  4’ x 8’ piece of carpet
(2)  6’ ropes –  ½” thick
250 screws
(2)  12” hinges
(2)  large hooks
48 screw-on holds or bolt-on holds*
* - sold on climbing websites including and Larger holds are easier to use.

1. Construct (2) 4’ x 8’ frames
2. Secure plywood to each frame
3. Screw carpet to plywood
4. Hinge the two carpeted walls together at the top of the 8’ section to form
    a 2-sided “easel”
5. Cut ¾” J slots on the bottom corners of each wall
6. Tie knots every 12” on ropes
7. Slide ropes into J slots, adjusting the angle of the walls by moving the ropes
    to the desired knotted length

Set the Course:
1. Attach 32 holds 18” apart on one wall, using a random or ladder pattern
    - The average reach of a 6 year old is 18 inches from chest to hold
2. Attach 16 holds 24” - 36” apart on the other wall in a random pattern
    - The average reach for an adult is 36 inches from chest to hold
3. Mark the climbing routes with colored tape under the holds, designating colors
    for “easy” and “hard” climbs
4. Tighten or loosen ropes to adjust the angle of the wall
    - A 45 degree angle is easier for beginners
    - Vertical  walls are great for more fit family members

Make Room:
•  Set up the wall outside or inside if you have plenty of room
•  Allow 10’ - 15’ feet in front of each wall for a clear landing area
•  Use one side at a time if your space is restricted

Climb Safely:
•  Wear safety helmets when climbing
•  NEVER climb alone
•  Build skills and strength by using only certain colored handholds
•  Climbers may use any color as footholds
•  Change the angle of the wall for each climber

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