Having a rock climbing wall at your home is the dream – you can project a route as many times as you want without having to take turns with other climbers, you can set your own routes, and you don’t have to drive to the gym to get a workout in. However, cost is certainly a factor when deciding whether a home climbing wall is reasonable for your situation. So, how much is a rock climbing wall?
The cost of a rock climbing wall depends on whether you design and build it yourself, purchase a professionally-made kit, or have a company custom-make and install a wall for you. It also depends on how big you want the wall to be, how many different types of holds you want, and whether you opt for add-ons like auto-belay systems, volumes, padding for the floor, etc. So, you could spend anywhere from about one thousand to ten thousand dollars or more.
Let’s look more in-depth at your options when it comes to building a home rock climbing wall. The Color the Crag team has all the info!
DIY Home Rock Wall Costs
If you decide to build your own rock climbing wall, your costs will be limited to materials and tools, but these can still add up. Many people opt to create a plywood ‘wall’ with holds mounted to the wood, and then bolt the whole thing to an existing wall (drilling into the studs of your wall, of course).
However, if you need to build a free-standing structure (if you are renting your home, for example) or if you want to build an overhanging wall, you’ll need to create a strong frame with studs out of quality lumber and heavy-duty hardware, and use ¾” ACX plywood for the surface of the wall (so your holds won’t rip out of the wall when you weight them). The supporting structure will not only have to handle the dead load of the climbing wall itself but also the live load of the climber, accounting for extreme momentary forces generated by the climbing moves. The price of lumber varies, and how much you’ll need will of course depend on how big your climbing wall is.
Climbing holds can be bought in bulk with the hardware included, often for about $4-5 per hold or $250 for a variety pack of 60 holds. Choose a selection of different hold styles, with some larger bolt-on holds and some smaller screw-on holds. If you purchase holds that don’t come with hardware, you will also need to buy T-nuts, bolts, and screws. You can either purchase grippy plastic holds or smooth wood holds, depending on your training goals and the style of your wall.
Keep in mind that if you build your wall outdoors, you will also need to weatherproof it in some way, and the holds will wear out faster than they would indoors. If you build indoors, remember that falling will be loud (especially if you aren’t on the ground floor) and chalk will likely get everywhere. As such, basements are usually a good place to build a climbing wall.
Additionally, the cost will vary depending on whether you want to make an adjustable wall or a non-adjustable wall. An adjustable wall will be more expensive, but you can change the ‘sets’ to create new and exciting routes whenever you feel like it. A non-adjustable wall is less expensive, but the options are far more limited unless you add a large number of holds and can create different routes for yourself by choosing to use only some of the holds. In this case, you might use pieces of colored tape by each hold to design routes for yourself.
If you are designing a wall for kids, it can be significantly less beefy and less intricate than a wall for adults, which is likely geared more towards serious training. Keep in mind your target audience when planning and building your home rock climbing wall.
Finally, you will need to install some type of padding system to protect yourself when you fall. This can be as simple as a couple of old mattresses or crash pads spread around under the wall or as sophisticated as a professional climbing gym style mat. Costs will vary depending on which type of padding you select.
All told, you could build a small, basic climbing wall for less than $1,000. But, if you want adjustable holds, multiple wall angles, a roof section, or any other special considerations, you might be looking at several thousand dollars.
Professional Home Rock Wall Costs
Alternatively, you can purchase a professional rock climbing wall kit that contains all of the materials and hardware. These will be significantly more expensive than a DIY rock wall, but the price will still vary based on the size of the wall, the elements you include in your kit, and so forth. A kit could run anywhere from about $1,000 (for a small toddler wall) to $10,000 or more.
Or, if you really don’t want to do any part of the construction or installation, you could have a company build and install a custom wall for you. This can be a good option if you need to work around obstacles like pillars, doors, outlets, vents, and so forth, or if you want a specialty wall such as a swimming pool climbing wall or a wall with a top roping system.
Naturally, a professionally designed and installed climbing wall will be the most expensive option, and the price will depend on the company you choose to do the work, how big your wall is, whether it’s indoor or outdoor (outdoor walls are generally more expensive), and so forth.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is it worth building a home climbing gym?
Building a home climbing gym is certainly a good way to improve your climbing skills, and it can allow you to train for specific movements and types of routes that you might not be able to target in a public climbing gym. Even with a small budget, you can create a powerful training tool that can take your climbing to the next level.
Can you buy a climbing wall?
Yes, you can definitely buy a pre-made climbing wall. You can either purchase your desired number of panels to create your own custom sized wall from a kit, or you can have a company professionally design and install a climbing wall specifically for your space.
How do you build a rock climbing wall?
Generally speaking, building the support system for a climbing wall is similar to framing out the walls of a home – you need a frame, studs, and a wall surface. However, if you choose to build an overhanging or otherwise non-vertical climbing wall, it becomes more complicated.
The bottom line is that you’ll need to use materials and hardware that are strong enough to support both the weight of the wall itself plus the weight of the climbers, taking into account the extreme forces that can be generated through intense climbing movements.
There are dozens of detailed how-to guides available online with the specifics of how to construct various types of climbing walls, so simply search for the type of wall that you have in mind. Or, consult a professional builder for more specific advice.