A few months ago, we talked about the idea of building your own climbing wall using a climbing wall kit available from our online store. In the past, we’ve also offered a few general climbing wall design tips, as well as a post on how to make an interesting route. This post will provide more specific guidance on making the important decision of the angle of your climbing wall – that is, the angle at which it overhangs towards you. Clearly, the larger the angle (the more it leans towards you), the more difficult it will be to climb, but the skill level required is not the only factor that should be taken into consideration. Other elements of climbing wall design include the space you have available to build (could you potentially accommodate multiple angles?), who will be using the climbing wall (various ages/abilities, or seasoned experts?) and how difficult the wall itself will be to construct.
0 Degrees/Vertical Wall:
Something that everybody will be familiar with is the classic vertical climbing wall, a staple of climbing wall design. Unsurprisingly, it is by far the easiest to build, will fit into any space you have available and is perfect for young children. However, it isn’t suitable for anybody who is wanting to markedly improve their climbing ability, as the simplicity will cause it to quickly become very stale and repetitive. Overall, it is best suited for casual/fun climbing exercises.
10-20 Degree Overhang:
Despite being arguably better than just a vertical wall, a shallow angle such as this will not provide much more of a challenge than 0 degrees, and after a while you will likely master this over a short distance. Unless your wall is 50 feet long, you won’t get much of a benefit from this! Instead, the best way to incorporate this into your climbing wall design is as a transitional angle – going from a 15 degree angle to a 30-35 degree, for example.
30-35 Degree Overhang:
Speaking of 30-35 degrees, this is considered to be the best choice of angle for almost every climbing wall. Its versatility makes it by far the most popular climbing wall design choice, given that it can cater to beginners and experts alike. The commonplace nature of the 35 degree angle wall makes it simple to find the correct climbing wall holds for every ability level. Overall, this is the ideal option and can easily lead into steeper or shallower angles within your climbing wall design where necessary.
45+ Degree Overhang:
Fun and challenging for more experienced climbers, this angle is best incorporated into a climbing wall design much the same as the 10-20 degree angle – as a brief transition, as opposed to being the mainstay of your wall. Any more than this is only really useful for very specific strength training, and is not practical for general practice.
Overall, choosing the correct angles for your climbing wall design is a very personal and situational decision, and is entirely dependent on what you’re looking to achieve. The best choice is to create something that you will be comfortable using, but which still provides a suitable challenge and room for improvement.