Ice Climbing Practice Wall "Plice"

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About: Ice climbing, kayaking, and just getting out there.

Itching to get on the ice but need to get in proper ice shape, Climbing gyms are a good option but just isn't quite the same. An ice specific practice wall might be the way to go. I've found images of wooden Ice climbing walls online, but I never found instructions for the wall I had envisioned. I wanted a wall that wasn't limited to being vertical or any set angle. I also wanted a wall that was easily adjustable. So I got working, This is the build log of that wall.

Before getting started know that climbing is inherently dangerous and caution should always be taken. Ask yourself if your skills required for this build are refined enough as to not pose a danger to yourself or others when climbing on your creation. RESPONSIBILITY IS ON YOURSELF TO KEEP YOUR WALL IN SAFE WORKING ORDER AND TO ASSESS HAZARDS.

Step 1: Materials

The frame of the wall was made with 2x6 boards the length of 8 feet. The rungs were made from 2x3 boards also the length of 8 feet. My base was made from a mix of 2x12 and 2x6 boards. Rope, screws, washers, eye bolts, Hinges chains, Cable, Cable saddles, a pulley, a rope stop, angle iron and heavy rocks also make their way into this build.

Step 2: Frame

I started with the frame. I used 2 2x6 boards stacked to make a frame 16 feet tall. To join them I used two different 2x6 lengths. For the outside frames I used two 4 feet lengths and on the inside a full 8 foot length. I then capped the three with a 2x6 board the length of 29 inches. 29 inches because one board in thirds is 32 inches and by making the length 29 inches lets me use 1 full length of 2x3 board for 3 rungs (relief for any small cutting mistakes). I finished adding two caps on the front side top and bottom for both strength and a place to create a strong attachment point.

Step 3: Rungs

After the frame is complete you'll need to cut all 10 2x3 boards into 29inch lengths, you should be left with 30 rungs. after figuring out your spacing you will need to screw these down. make sure this is done correctly as these will be holding your weight. I used 3 inch screws, 2 on each side and one in the middle making a total of 5 screws per board. watch out for splitting boards, when one of my boards split I placed a screw diagonal into the board opposite direction to the split to brace the wood but use your own discretion on the boards strength.

Step 4: Attaching the Anchor

I cut two appropriate holes on either side (equal distance from the sides) afterwards making sure the eye points towards the back. After Using two washers to brace against the wood and two locking nuts on either side to really make sure it isn't moving, I fed the chain through joining the two ends with a steel shackle.

Step 5: Making the Base.

Using 2x6 boards I made a box frame 2 feet deep and much wider than the wall. I used 2x12 boards to make a floor leaving leaving a gap in the center (Rain Drainage). using a hole saw I put two holes in the corners on one side of the floor as I want to add stakes to keep the wall from sliding around when its lowered to a very low angle. I used 2 feet lengths of angle iron and used a zip cut blade to make two points.

Step 6: Adding the Pulley.

The location I picked was fortunate to have a tree with a fork not far above the total height of the wall. I used a cable and cable saddles to tie around the fork and the other end around the pulley, so the downward force of the wall will not have the opportunity to slip lower. This ended up giving the pulley plenty of "slack" to pull away from the tree. I used one more cable to encircle the whole tree and keep the pulley in a more manageable position.

Step 7: Putting Your Two Peices Together

Place The base close to whatever your anchoring and screw on your hinges (this might be awkward). Make sure your hinges are straight as possible as if they are not, the difference will rip them out as your raise your wall. Now tie your rope around the chain using a figure eight knot and feed the other end through the pulley and your now ready to pull your wall vertical. Once vertical make sure its lined up correctly and once your happy, hammer your stakes through the holes to lock it in place. If you want to be extra secure load your box up with heavy rocks to make sure its not going anywhere.

Step 8:

Step 9: Final Touches.

Some final things you'll need to add is a rope stop. Mine is a piece of steel flat bar with 4 90 degree bends and two holes drilled to attach directly to the tree (use beefy wood screws if you do this). I found after a couple practice runs the wall is always floppy for the first 15 degrees or so. This is caused by the knot of the rope hitting the pulley leaving the slack of the chain never being taken out. so I added a stopper to make sure that the wall can always be pulled tight. so a stopper was added. also the base was very wobbly when used at low angles so some extra pieces of 2x12 was added later to beef up the base. it was very nerve wracking thinking of the possibility of the pulley breaking or the rope breaking and having a very heavy structure of wood fall on me so it wasn't long until an independent safety line was added that only let the wall lower to about a 45 degree angle.

Step 10: Finished

Your now ready to climb your wall and soon glorious ice! Make all your climbing buddies jealous by practicing and mastering figure 4s on your lowest setting.

Climbing is inherently dangerous and caution should always be taken. Ask
yourself if your skills required for this build are refined enough as to not pose a danger to yourself or others when climbing on your creation. RESPONSIBILITY IS ON YOURSELF TO KEEP YOUR WALL IN SAFE WORKING ORDER AND TO ASSESS HAZARDS.

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    11 Discussions

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    sgbotsford

    22 days ago

    A friend made something like this, but used 2 surplus telephone poles for the uprights. They were permanently set at about 8 degrees. After putting boards on both sides set with 4 inch lag bolts, he attached scraps of burlap, and as soon as it got cold he put a oscillating sprinkler on top, and put about a foot of real ice on his wall.

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    ElectroFrank

    22 days ago

    Would it be useful to use a preservative to prevent the wood going rotten in a short time ?

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    WolftarElectroFrank

    Reply 22 days ago

    Very much so. It would last way longer if it were primed and painted with a weather resistant paint. I didn't this time due to costs and not being sure if this would turn out well. I did buy a can of clear coat weather spray and covered as much as I could of the structural frame. I didn't mention it because I doubt it was enough to actually make a difference. If I were to do it again I would weather seal the main frame and leave the rungs raw wood. I want them to be as cheap and easy as possible to change out when they get chewed up by tools and crampons.

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    jaredshearer

    22 days ago

    Awesome build but I feel cheated due to a lack of picture(s) showing you using it! Moar pictures!

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    Wolftarjaredshearer

    Reply 22 days ago

    I want to get some better pictures of the final product. Maybe while I'm out there I'll get some climbing pictures and make an update.

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    rybitski

    22 days ago

    Awesome build! This thing looks like fun.

    I wanted to point out that the eye bolts you used are prone to failure. I've attached a picture below of some testing we did on bent eye screws. This one started to fall around 220 lbs, it was 3/8". I've also included a picture of the test run we used.
    Instead I highly suggest purchasing forged eye bolts. They cost a little more but it looks like you only used 2. Here's a link:
    https://www.e-rigging.com/three-eighths-inch-X-2-half-inch-Shoulder-Eyebolt

    IMG_20170129_115933990_TOP.jpgIMG_20170129_101159498_TOP.jpg
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    Wolftarrybitski

    Reply 22 days ago

    This is good to know, I'll definitely look into changing these out for safer ones and make an update to the build.

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    WolftarDIY Hacks and How Tos

    Reply 25 days ago

    The simple answer would be yes but rarely. Being over grass in summer and snow in the winter for regular strength training I wouldnt consider it necessary. Lowering it to its 45 degree angle and practicing figure 4s a crash pad would be a welcomed addition.