Home Wall Build

One of the responses to the pandemic this year was the closure of rock climbing gyms. And for some months, parks were closed as well which closed the door on outdoor climbing. Plus the stay-at-home order meant not travelling far from home. Stuck at home, I was presented with a good opportunity to find replacement hobbies and other ways to spend my time. But no, instead I took to building a replacement so that I could continue my hobby of climbing on things

The wall was a fun project and kept me busy for a few weeks. I built it to last, so it should hold up for many years to come. I chose to build an outdoor wall as that’s where I have the most space. My house and garage wouldn’t fit it.

I planned the wall roughly following the Moon Board DIY build for a 40 degree overhang wall. The T-nut arrangement is compatible. I used exterior paint with sand texture added, 3 sheets of 4’x8′ plywood, 4 boards of 2″x6″, a 4″x6″, a bunch of 2″x4″s, lots of exterior wood screws, and lots of T-nuts. In addition I used some leftover wood stain, a can of marine varnish for the plywood edges, and a can of black paint for labelling. Got the T-nuts off Amazon and everything else from Home Depot. Used pressure treated wood.


Judging from social media and dwindling supplies at Home Depot, lots of folks had the same idea to build a wall. I recall I had to make a few trips to get everything.

I blew out one side of the plywood when drilling many of the T-nut holes. I later learned this is due to the drill bit I used. Better to use a spade bit. The blow outs were only one ply deep and I probably could have left them that way, but I wanted a smooth finish so I went back and patched them with spackling.

The next step was building the structure. Luckily I had help from Ally and Brent to get the plywood attached.

By the time the wall was done, I came to realize that climbing a 40 degree wall is hard. Especially for someone who had stopped regularly climbing for several months. So I expanded with a wall that’s closer to vert ~15 degrees.

This time the materials were mostly free. I picked up the plywood, boards, strong-ties, and paint for free from neighbors via Nextdoor. I bought the pier blocks separately.

As extra weather and water protection I threw a raincoat over the walls. The raincoat is made out of reused old billboard signs bought for $20 from a guy on Craigslist. The material is a heavy vinyl. Much better and bigger than the cheap blue tarps from the hardware stores. It’s tied to the wall posts and staked with ground anchors. I also added a gutter at the back of the 40 degree side to divert water away from the posts. So far so good. The walls held up through the summer heat and have stayed dry in the winter rains.

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