Apr 07 2015

DRCC Monthly Hold Subscription: Month 1

On a whim I joined the Detroit Rock Climbing Company hold of the month club at the Silver level. They were doing a limited amount of a special deal where if you do a monthly review of their holds you get bonus holds.

I have always been a fan of the DRCC as they use the most amazing colors on their holds and I love the dual-tex holds (I own 2x sets of slots, a Big Pinch and the 5.12 hangboard).

My first set from the DRCC was the Sandstone Jugs with three nice jugs. Pictured below is the three jugs in my set + the pack of bonus extra holds: 













The three holds next to each other. These holds feature a new texture DRCC is doing which is called “True Color Dual Texture” which is simply a smooth(er) surface on the face of the hold so that it doesn’t collect chalk/dirt/hand-grease as easily. I like the look but not sure how effective the texture is at stopping grime.

Sandstone Jugs













What I liked about these holds is that they work great as roof jugs. The largest hold can be used as a two hand jug if needed and has several nice spots to grab. The smallest hold is my least favorite as it is the size of a jug but I can only squeeze in three of my fingers making it really uncomfortable for a large jug feature.

Here is the largest hold on the roof (where I set a problem that matches on the two-hand jug hold after moving up from the lower wall):













The bonus hold pack was mostly small footholds with two really nice dual-tex pinches (smallest one pictured here), nothing too exciting but a few nice extra holds.

Here are a few more pics:

20150328-DSC_2456 20150328-DSC_2455 20150328-DSC_2451 Detroit Rock Climbing Holds






Jul 31 2014

Climbing Problems

This is a problem I had on my wall for one of my previous climbing competitions. Finally put it into a high-quality GIF:



Jul 12 2014

Urban Climber

Blast from the Past: When My woody was featured in Urban Climber

I originally had intentions of publishing this 2 years ago when my climbing wall was featured in the Urban Climber magazine. I was just going through my climbing photos and realized that I totally forgot about this post.  Therefore I have posted this for posterity since the magazine closed shortly after this issue. Therefore my wall was one of the last walls to ever be featured in the climbing magazine. 

Also I received a free set of Slots from Detroit Climbing! I already had one of the most amazing custom sets (photo here). The second set made it possible to set some really amazing problems and I highly suggest getting the slots in a set of two.

This Article was originally posted in Urban Climber magazine in #55 and was one of the last “Show Us Your Woody” winners.

SUYW 55 – Build Your Own Boulder

By Andy Librande

Spread the knowledge and the Love:

My current woody is an outdoor, freestanding wall in Denver that has served us well for the past three years. We just hosted our second Backyard Bouldering Competition on the wall. It’s a friendly competition, party, and BBQ, with about 30 climbers who participated this year. The entry fee was a six-pack of beer, and there was a costume contest with various prizes for men and women.

This is my fourth climbing wall. We built the fi rst one in 2005 while I was in college. To appease the landlord, we figured out how to build a freestanding structure, and we’ve had several versions. Our current version is big enough to support 10 unique problems for the comp, with the longest being 15 moves. It can also support two climbers at once if the problems don’t overlap. The wall is outside, but luckily the weather here is mild enough year-round that it’s only unclimbable during really cold snaps.

When we built our first wall, the information on woody construction was limited, and understanding hold selection, volume building, and setting was virtually nonexistent. Since then, it’s been really cool seeing the home woody trend grow. As a side project, I have been compiling a website (andylibrande.com/homeclimbingwall) for people that own home climbing walls or are trying to build a home wall. The goal is to focus on the basics of building walls while also giving tips about holds for your first wall, deals on hardware, basic routesetting, building climbing volumes, and so forth. Most current woody resources only focus on climbing hold reviews or instructions for building walls. I wanted to include all of the extra tips and tricks that will make your woody that much better.






Detroit Rock Climbing Club Slots

Mar 13 2014

Reader Submission: Building a Hexagon Climbing Volume

Chris contacted me with a link to a How-To video that shows him building a very cool (and increasingly popular) climbing wall volume in the shape of a hexagon. If you are looking to spice up the wall this is a much more detailed video that shows more how-to then my video, as a result it is quite a bit longer (~20mins). My original “Build a Climbing Wall” video.

Build a Hexagon Volume by Chris Clark:




If you want to see other awesome Home Climbing Wall videos check out this playlist I have complied on YouTube:

Jan 24 2014

Choosing Climbing Wall Angles

A common question is what angle to build your climbing wall. Below is a run-down of different angles and why you may or may not want one or another.

Each situation is different you want to make a wall that fits your needs/resources/space/etc. Always take into consideration the following before picking angle:

  • Space: Often the dictator of the wall. Where, how big, can you fit multiple angles, multiple walls, roof, etc?
  • Skill Level: different skill levels will use the wall differently. A new climber is different from a advanced climber looking for specific training and will want different walls.
  • User group: Taylor the wall to fit the user group. If you want a bunch of people to climb on your wall it may require a different angle set-up then a single user. Or if you are building for your 10 yr old kid that is different then someone adding this to this college house.
  • Difficulty of Build: Some angles are easier to build then others and require more/less materials.


  • This is a little weird and takes time to understand. When I say it is a 30 degree wall, it means that it is overhanging 30 degrees. However when you input it into a triangle you are calculating the inverse: Angle BCA will be 60 degrees (as the inverse of that which is the overhanging part is 30 degrees).
  • Check it out here: http://www.visualtrig.com/
    • Input 10 in the yellow box – Side A (which will represent 10 vertical feet)
    • Input 60 degrees in the green box – Angle C (which will represent the inverse of the angle of the wall)
    • Should look like a normal wall with the wall being the long side (side c)
Sample Wall at 10ft high, 34 Degrees, 12 ft of Climbing

Sample Wall Angle at 10ft high, 12 ft of Climbing


0 Degree’s, perfectly vertical wall: 

Pros: Easiest angle to build, fits anywhere, great for little kids, every hold known to mankind can work on it,  great for working on technique and slab-type problems.

Cons: Will become extremely boring very quick, not very challenging, not very interesting

Should you Build This: For a home woody with limited space and resources it is recommended that you DO NOT build a vertical wall. In a commercial gym it makes sense as a way to cater to brand-new climbers, tricky slab-climbing, and specific holds, but a home gym is for training and personal enjoyment and a big vertical wall will become uninteresting way too fast. If you absolutely need vertical try to incorporate it in a small section or build a specific volume to allow for holds like the Boss to be used.

Slightly Overhanging wall, 10-20 Degrees:

Pros: Better then a pure-vertical wall.

Cons: Again this is a easy angle that most climbers will not be challenged by. Holds will need to be small and painful.

Should you build this: Most likely not. In the real-world of outdoor rock climbing most sport/trad routes fall into this level of overhang with is much more challenging when it is 50+ feet long, however over 12-16 feet this angle will quickly become mastered by most climbers. You may want a section at this angle, however you do not want the majority of  your wall at this angle. 10-20 degrees will feel a lot like Vertical after a while. Best solution: 35 degree wall transitioned into a 15 degree top-out (or vice-versa).

A Standard ~30 degree wall.

A Standard ~30 degree wall.

30-35 Degree’s (highest recommended angle):

Pros: Probably the most versatile angle, most climbing holds are made for this angle, beginners to advanced climbers can use the same wall and only holds/moves would be different.

Cons: Conformity to every other home woody out there. 

Should you build this: All wall designs should incorporate this angle unless you are looking for something more specific.

Important Note: While you should strive for a 35 degree wall in reality when building your wall you don’t need to specifically measure the angle. Ideally when selecting this angle it is less steep then 45 degrees but more steep then 15-20 degrees. Essentially anything from 20-40 degrees is the sweet spot.

45 Degree Wall (steep/overhanging):

Pros: This angle provides a serious workout even if you are just hanging on jugs. Great angle for the popular system work-outs. More advanced.

Cons: For beginners holds will need to be good sized jugs which usually means spending a lot more money.

Should you build this: Depending on skill-set this may be a viable option on your wall. As the only angle it may challenge beginners too much or require a lot of different holds as you progress. Can be a fun angle and due to the angle means you can put a lot of surface area in a small space (11-12 ft of surface in 8 ft of height).

Roof/Severely Overhanging:

Pros: Specific strength exercises.

Cons: Specific strength exercises.

Should you Build this: These are great additions to an existing angle as a transition to the end of the climb. So if you are looking to add some spice to your wall do this at the end. Even if it is just a 3 ft extension it will add a lot to finishing moves on your wall.

Less then Vertical:

Should you Build this: No


[important] Continue to Learn More for Wall Planning[/important]



Sep 11 2013

Inspiration: Marcus’s Steel Climbing Wall in an Old Pool

Every once in a while someone sends me some photos of their walls and a thank you for helping them figure it out. Marcus’s wall was an exception being an all-steel custom built structure, built in an old pool, and beautifully done (perfect t-nut spacing, painted, transition into a roof).

Can’t really call this one a “Home Woody”


marcus.backyard.climb - Steel Home Climbing Wall


Climbing Wall in a Swimming Pool


Steel Structure for Climbing Wall

Marcus also went through the process of writing up some of the details and behind the scenes for anyone else that has a pool laying around or is curious about doing steel structures.

Click More for information on the Build Process

Read the rest of this entry »

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