Rockwall Buddy time, excellent

After my first moto accident i took up rock climbing as a low intensity workout that would play nice with both halves of my spine. It is an easy sport to embrace, it is challenging, fun, and you get to problem solve with your body and mind. It's akin to a giant physical puzzle. However one thing that i found was that the closet rock gym (Stoneworks) was half an hour away from campus, all the way in carrolton. Stoneworks was great, but lacked character. To that end we found Canyons, another rock gym that was full of character alas it was a full hour outside of town in Frisco. There were others, but none that we felt had the great heights of Stoneworks, or the well planned character of Canyons. So in order to be a rock climber, we had to first be commuters. Gah!
When i came home to houston i found a gym semi-nearby, Texas Rock gym, it paled in comparison to either of the aforementioned places, but it was the best Houston had to offer. Eventually i bought my house and it put Texas Rock gym out of range. Leaving me without any fun rocks to climb.

Since that first long drive to climb i could think of nothing better than a rock gym at home. Now i had my opportunity. I looked it up on the internet. Sure you can build a rockwall anywhere they said. They is the internet hive mind. But there was one problem. My house is made of brick, and the jury was out on weather or not brick could support a rockwall. Usually rockwalls are constructed from thick sheets of plywood mounted to another type of wall. But that was out of the question for my situation. Searching the internet i found a typical newsgroup discussion. Hemming and hawing of the possibilities of such an endeavour. The internet didnt yield and easy answer, and this post was total garbage, except for the first and last posts both by Peter Walker. Peter pointed me to a site that detailed the application of climbing holds to brick. However the site clearly shows his brick is worlds apart from my own. But he had a complete list and a methodology. That was all i needed to get started.
From Kuala Lumpur i learned i needed to get some concrete drop in anchors and put them in the wall with a half inch drill bit. I decided to test my wall, since benlake had cast doubts to the composition of my brick. I found that there was a small hollow part of the brick, but it was more of an indentation than a hole and that my dream was on track. (i was right, he was wrong for those keeping score) I quickly grabbed some of the aforementioned Anchors and then some natural sandstone holds off ebay. Drilled the hole, put in anchor, set the anchor, screw hold onto wall and voila! I have a rockwall. For more pictures view the photo gallery
It wasnt that simple but at least the premise was sound and i was looking at a possibility and not a pipe dream. The following is meant to save the rest of the world from scouring the depths of usenet and the ends of the earth to build a home rockgym in brick.

howto build a home rockwall

Things you will need.
Next step is to take these tools and get to work. Once i knew the rockwall was going to happen i started bringing 4" Product hose back from work. It took 3 days to bring enough hoses back to fully destroy the grass. Once that was done it was time to get some help with the real work. I convinced ben it would be a good idea if he hung outside the window to attach the top rope anchoring system (two drop ins connected via chain to load balance). The rigging looked something like this
Once the top anchors were set we could set the holds by simply hanging on the ropes and drilling in and setting the anchors followed by putting holds in. Make sure to drill the holes only as deep and perhaps a little shallower than the drop ins, they will move back a bit when you hammer on them to set them. Route setting is difficult, but for us one of the first routes we did was "the house route" a route devoid of any holds. Here is a video of Adam climbing the house route only using what the builder gave him to scale my house. Video! Remember to play the video in VLC since it utilizes the h.264 codec that many media players do not yet support.
After the house route we took turns setting the impossible route Which has yet to be completed. With that in hand we turned our attention to constructing an underhang, mainly cause Ben said so.
The underhang really changes a home rock wall into a home rock gym. So thats what we set out to do. First we had to take some pictures that made it look like we measured. . Pretend measuring complete we stuck to sticks up to hold the 3/4" plywood up. We anchored the bottom and mid section in using drop in anchors. and into the top using the balcony studs. Ben assures me its safe. Stick the panel on, make a dopey grin, and you are done. Of course we had to do that again for each different angle. We ended up with a 60 degree and 30 degree and a 0 degree. Framed here Once the structure was secure, all that remained was to put on the sides and paint. As Adam demonstrates here. The paint idea came from a christmas day discussion with my cousin the resident paint guru He advised us to mix PVA primer and Paint and the finest sand we could find to get a texture that would stick best. We let the creation sit over night and in the morning we found this waiting for us You may notice lot of the photos are taken at night, they are the courtesy of our two artificial suns, 1000w lamps attached the fence to facilitate night climbing.