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Climbing Wall

How we built it.   I have been evaluating and assessing my students for the last several years in order to determine our strong and weak areas.  Every year, one of our students weakest areas is upper body strength.  For this reason, I am continually looking for ways to improve upper body strength.  Furthermore,  I try to incorporate activities that are fun and exciting to my students.  I decided that I wanted to build a transverse climbing wall.  I decided on a transverse climbing wall , instead of a vertical climbing wall , for several reasons.  First, I knew money would be an issue and with the vertical wall you have the extra expense of harnesses and belay systems.  Secondly, I personally feel that a vertical climbing wall is limited to just a couple of climbers at a time, while others wait (Of course, this could be reduced by making the climbing wall one of several stations), while a transverse wall will hold several climbers at once, which allows for teamwork and cooperative games.  My third concern was insurance, with the transverse climbing wall, we did not have to have any insurance adjustments (as long as the wall could be locked up when not in use) click here to see my solution. 
     The first thing that I did was to research all that I could on price, type of wall and how to build it.  To save money, I decided that I would build the wall myself.  With that being said, let me save you some time by giving you my results.  The best price I found on climbing wall kits was at PALOS SPORTS.  Since my gymnasium has block walls, I purchased the cinder block kit.  At that time each kit was 699.95 for a 8x24 foot wall.  This kit included 216 anchors and 96 holds.  I raised enough money to purchase 2 wall kits, as I wanted a 40ft x 10ft climbing wall (don't panic when you see 10ft, I only made it 10ft in a couple of peak areas for which I have special mats).  
     After the kit we received was from Passe Montagne and contained everything except for the drill and bits.  To construct the wall you will need a good percussion or hammer drill.  We use a large Hilty drill and it worked great.  We also tried a smaller hammer drill, but with little luck.  Our district already had the drill and bits so check there first.  However, it would be worth the renting one if your district does not already have one.  So to build you will need:
     a good hammer drill
     a 5/8 concrete drill bit 
     I recommend a small pilot bit (not necessary but I found it extremely helpful, and I felt it reduced chipping of the block).
     A Hammer
     I recommend a small air compressor (not necessary but extremely helpful in removing debris from the holes).  Keeping the drilled hole clear of debris will save you frustration with the anchors later.  
Actual construction:  We had 2 of us building the wall.  We built 3 walls  in 2 weekends.  First, I will tell you what we did, then I will add a few recommendations.  We found it worked better if we had 1 person drill and the other person set the anchors.  The Hilty gun would drill a hole in about 5-10 seconds, so if it is taking you alot longer you may want to go get a bigger drill.  
     Step 1 - decide and mark (I used a magic marker) where you want the holes.  I also marked where I could not drill (see warning below).  I did not use their pattern exactly.  Personally, I did not drill the bottom 2 rows of block.  The next row up I drilled into the left side of each block (in most cases the block has a left side and a right side which are hollow.  drill to the center of the hollow).  The next row I also drilled the left side of each  block.  I did this until I reached the height that I did not want my students feet to exceed.  about 40 inches (I teach grades 3-5, you may adjust for your levels).  On the next 3 levels of block, I drilled holes every other block, as I knew I did not want my students to have foot holds here (I know you can paint a line but I like my way better for two reasons): 1. it eliminates temptation to climb higher and 2. it saves me anchors and holds to make the wall longer or a little higher).  With that being said, I did drill some holes in case I wanted to add holds there (when I allow them to go to the 10 ft mark or when I give them low challenges).  Now, after the 3 sparingly rows, I continued to my designated height by drilling as described on the lower levels.  Drilling into the left side of each block.  I did not have enough anchors and holds to go 10 ft high, so I built (2) 10ft peaks in my wall.
     Step 2 - One person drilled (drilled several pilot holes with the smaller bit, then changed bits and drilled the 5/8 holes)  while the other person set the anchors (following manufactures direction).  When one of us would tire, we would switch jobs.
     WARNING - I recommend avoiding drilling where I saw conduit in the block (in my gym I could see where it entered from the ceiling and you know it has to travel in a straight line down through the hollows.  Look for the outlet device to which it leads.)
     Step 3 - Buy some of the small round insulation I believe it was 1/2 inch.  Cut these into about 1 inch lengths.  Place these in the anchors when you prep the wall for painting.  You are now ready to prep and paint your wall.  I cannot give you more help here as I have yet to paint my wall.  However, due to the price of Gymtex, I am going to try something different.  I will let you know how it works.
     Step 4 - Place your holds and have fun.
HELPFUL HINTS (Things I would do next time):  I would have used a few more volunteers to help with the installing of the anchors.  This was probably the most tedious part of the wall building process. While they give you a tool to install the anchors you can make more by using one of the bolts (if it is not long enough, go to the hardware store a buy a couple) and a washer.  Place the washer on the bolt, insert the bolt and use the hold tool to install the anchors as well. 
     Related pages:                                                 Click Here to Visit Palos Sports                           
How we raised money                                                               
Activities and Game Ideas

*** I will be adding pictures shortly to help with my explanation***