Types of Climbing
There are a variety of different climbing structures
available to choose from for C.O.P.E. Programs, examples include: Traverse walls (or bouldering walls), vertical climbing
walls, climbing towers and vertical challenge towers. Climbing
structures can be built both indoors and outside and climbing
surface can be wood, texture coated wood, seamless cementatious,
fiberglass panels or sculpted concrete.
|Traverse Walls or Horizontal Climbing Walls
Traverse Walls, sometimes referred to as bouldering or
bouldering walls are climbing structures that emphasize climbing
horizontally (parallel to the floor) only a few feet above the ground or
floor. Belay systems (harnesses and ropes) are not used with traverse
Vertical Climbing Walls
Vertical climbing walls or top rope climbing walls are a type of
climbing structure that require
climbers to wear a harness and be attached to a belayer. As the climber
moves up the wall (climbs) the belayer takes in the rope to limit any
falls to just a few inches. When the climber reaches the tope, the
belayer lowers the climber down.
Climbing structures come in different sizes and styles and are
designed for a variety of different uses. Most structures however, do
have common aspects that can be modified. These aspects include:
climbing holds and anchors, climbing surface material and texture, the
pitch or angle of the climbing surface, belay systems, landing surface
and access prevention systems.
Pitches and Angles
Having a variety and the right
types of climbing routes available is an important design consideration.
First step in designing a climbing wall is consideration for the users.
A multi-functional climbing wall will want to have climbing routs for
novices (or beginners) and for advanced climbers. If you work with
a specific populations like youth, in-tact teams, individuals with
disabilities, adults, etc. you may want to increase the amount of
climbing space that is more suitable for that population. A flat
wall may be all you need, but a wall with a variety of climbing angles
will allow for an opportunity to meet the goals of a wider group of
participants, prevent users from getting bored, and increase the options
for teaching and training.
Climbing Wall Surface Options
|Highly Textured Paint: A
durable acrylic textured paint is a low cost way to provide texture
to any climbing wall. Textured walls provide a more "rock like"
surface for climbers allowing for feet to better grip the climbing
Cementatious Surfaces (Polymer
Modified Cement): cementatious surfaces are tough, durable and hard as a
rock. The cementatious coatings allow for additional sculpting to be
applied to the climbing surface that can be used for hand and foot
placement in addition to the climbing holds. Additionally,
the thickness of the cementation coatings (applied 1/4" thick) allow
your climbing wall to be virtually seamless.
Fiberglass Reinforced Concrete
Panels: Preformed fiberglass reinforced concrete panels come in
a variety of panel style options. These panel systems are easy to
install and allow for the option to re-design the climbing wall
later by rotating panel positions. A steel frame needs to be
installed and back filled with concrete to secure panels to the
Polyurethane or plastic panels are lightweight, durable and have a
variety of relief features molded into them. Polyurethane panels are
even easy to install for a do-it-yourselfer. Simply anchor the
panels directly to your subwall or framing. These panels can
also be cut and routered using typical wood working saws and
Steel Frame Reinforced Concrete:
Steel frame reinforced concrete climbing walls are complex designs
that incorporate a steel sub frame with concrete shot over it. The
concrete is then carved and stained to look and feel like a true
life like rock surface. This surface option allows for almost any
natural rock formation to be re-created in both form and color.
Climbing Holds and Hardware
Climbing holds are an intricate and necessary
part of all climbing walls. For it is the climbing holds that
climbers use to grip with their hands and stand on with their
feet to ascend the climbing wall. Most climbing holds are
attached to the climbing surface with a t-nut or similar
anchoring system. The anchors are installed in either a specific
or random pattern allowing for the repositioning of the climbing
holds or the addition of new climbing holds.
Climbing holds are typically made form molds
using a polyurethane or polyester resin. Climbing holds come in
a wide range of sizes, colors and textures. Having a variety of
holds on your wall is desirable as it increases the options for
different types of grips allowing for a variety of muscles to be
used while climbing.. Some common climbing hold styles include:
pockets, slopers, pinchers, crimpers and jugs.
Pockets: Climbing holds described as
pockets have holes that are molded within the
climbing hold allowing individual fingers or the whole hand to
slide inside to grasp the hold.
Slopers: Sloper holds are difficult to
grip because of their
surface. Sloper climbing holds make great foot holds and holds
Pinchers: Pincher holds are typically
small holds that are designed to be pinched between
the thumb and a finger (or two). Pincher climbing holds are
excellent holds for training as a result of the difficulty
involves in mastering their use.
Crimpers: Crimper holds are small to
medium holds that
typically require the use of only the first set of digits on the
fingers (whole finger cannot fit in or around the hold).
Jugs or Buckets: Jug or bucket climbing
holds are typically larger climbing olds that allow for the
whole hand (or two hands) to be used. These holds are less
stressful on the hands (specifically the tendons) and should be
used liberally if your climbers will typically be novices or
Purchase Climbing Holds
Build Your Own Home Climbing Wall
package has everything you need to build your own home climbing
wall: Instructions, anchors, surface texture and climbing holds.
Whether you want to build it in your garage, basement, foyer or
backyard, ESI can help. Call us today and we will design a
package that is just right for the type and size of climbing
wall you are looking to build.
Access Prevention Systems
Depending on your facility and
environment it may be necessary to install an access prevention
system. Climbing wall access prevention systems are designed to
prevent unauthorized users from climbing on the walls.
Systems range from the most desired - a lockable door (or room),
to tarps or mats that get locked to the bottom 8' feet of the
climbing wall to curtain systems that pull along a track and
Copyright 2006, Experiential Systems, Inc.