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qwimjim


Apr 14, 2011, 5:17 PM
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Best wall type/material?
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Thinking of opening a gym, I have a couple of friends who are carpenters for a living, spend their days framing houses so it seems like the cheapest/easiest/best thing would be to get them to frame the walls using 2x6's and plywood, make some nice features, and use grip paint.

What's the advantage of going with a company like rockwerks or eldorado? It looks like it would be much more expensive, for something that doesn't seem like it would be terribly difficult to design and construct? And seems like it would be much much much more expensive for textured walls that are more "rock like" and realistic. I haven't climbed any of those walls yet but it seems to me like those would just make route setting much more limited, since there'd be all these footholds everywhere, and you'd be limited by the size of hold you could install. These textured walls must also get awfully dirty as well with all their nooks and crannies?

What do you all think, what's the best type/material? Any downside to all wood construction?


(This post was edited by qwimjim on Apr 14, 2011, 5:17 PM)


MS1


Apr 15, 2011, 10:53 AM
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qwimjim wrote:
Thinking of opening a gym, I have a couple of friends who are carpenters for a living, spend their days framing houses so it seems like the cheapest/easiest/best thing would be to get them to frame the walls using 2x6's and plywood, make some nice features, and use grip paint.

What's the advantage of going with a company like rockwerks or eldorado? It looks like it would be much more expensive, for something that doesn't seem like it would be terribly difficult to design and construct? And seems like it would be much much much more expensive for textured walls that are more "rock like" and realistic. I haven't climbed any of those walls yet but it seems to me like those would just make route setting much more limited, since there'd be all these footholds everywhere, and you'd be limited by the size of hold you could install. These textured walls must also get awfully dirty as well with all their nooks and crannies?

What do you all think, what's the best type/material? Any downside to all wood construction?

I tend to prefer climbing on wooden training walls, with a decent variety of movable features, rather than the pre-designed walls, where the macro-sized features always remain in the same places year after year. Over the long term, the wooden set-up allows more variation and keeps things interesting. Of course, this is presuming that you do add some large-scale features to your walls and move them around from time to time.

Spend the cash you save on an adjustable crack machine.


shoo


Apr 15, 2011, 12:03 PM
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The best gyms are typically the ones which provide the highest quality blank canvases for your setters. These have high-end wall material (i.e. covered in rock-like concrete) with virtually no built-in holds, but a variety of interesting wall structures (like arches, chimneys, dihedrals, etc.).

It really isn't much of a surprise that the gyms that do best are the ones that invest the most in high-quality construction of their walls, but don't opt for ridiculous real rock simulators.


johnwesely


Apr 15, 2011, 12:22 PM
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Flat panels are superior in almost every way.


gosharks


Apr 15, 2011, 2:13 PM
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qwimjim wrote:
Thinking of opening a gym, I have a couple of friends who are carpenters for a living, spend their days framing houses so it seems like the cheapest/easiest/best thing would be to get them to frame the walls using 2x6's and plywood, make some nice features, and use grip paint.

What's the advantage of going with a company like rockwerks or eldorado? It looks like it would be much more expensive, for something that doesn't seem like it would be terribly difficult to design and construct? And seems like it would be much much much more expensive for textured walls that are more "rock like" and realistic. I haven't climbed any of those walls yet but it seems to me like those would just make route setting much more limited, since there'd be all these footholds everywhere, and you'd be limited by the size of hold you could install. These textured walls must also get awfully dirty as well with all their nooks and crannies?

What do you all think, what's the best type/material? Any downside to all wood construction?
I'm not sure that I've been to a gym that has been 100% wood. Usually it is wood panels on a steel frame.


qwimjim


Apr 15, 2011, 4:32 PM
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I've been to a gym that's all wood, 2x4 and 2x6 construction anchored into concrete walls and steel I beams, 45' walls. We'd have to look at the cost of steel frame but I can't imagine it's any cheaper material wise, and being able to frame in wood ourselves would be a huge savings in labour. So flat panels seems to be unanimous, as far as what to spray the panels with, what's the best material on the market these days?


jbro_135


Apr 15, 2011, 7:24 PM
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paint with sand in it


shockabuku


Apr 15, 2011, 8:04 PM
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The stuff at this gym http://momentumclimbing.com/, don't know who built it, and this one http://www.ssclimbing.com/ built by these people http://walltopia.com/site/#/en/Products/ is the nicest stuff I've ever seen. I don't know what it is or how it lasts.

In general, textured, real rock, sucks. Too limiting to set and whatever you build in never changes - boring. Gradual curves seem preferable to hard angles, and horizontal roofs aren't typically enjoyed by a lot of people.


rschap


Apr 15, 2011, 11:01 PM
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qwimjim wrote:
I've been to a gym that's all wood, 2x4 and 2x6 construction anchored into concrete walls and steel I beams, 45' walls. We'd have to look at the cost of steel frame but I can't imagine it's any cheaper material wise, and being able to frame in wood ourselves would be a huge savings in labour. So flat panels seems to be unanimous, as far as what to spray the panels with, what's the best material on the market these days?


I own a gym that is all 2X6 wood construction. It has its ups and downs. I have priced out steel frame over wood and it works out cheaper for me because Iím a certified welder and Iíve been working as a welder for 9 years. The main reason why the materials are cheaper is on a steel frame you can space the supports out 36-48 inches if you use 2X2X3/16 angle and they are multi directional. If you use 2X6 you need them 16in on center and all vertical. Steel is easier to be creative with (well for me anyways) but you can be creative with wood as well. We have changed a couple of the walls and when we did we stayed with the 2X6 just because thatís what the rest of the gym is made of but if I built another gym I would definitely do steel frame. Regardless of what you do avoid 90deg corners where walls come together, they suck for setting.

Hereís a couple pictures of the walls we built with 2X6 frame.



The plywood part is what we added, the rest was all there allready.
Attachments: IMG_4930.JPG (29.7 KB)
  IMG_4980.JPG (33.1 KB)


jh_angel


Apr 16, 2011, 12:35 AM
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I use to be head setter at a gym built by Rockwerx and their walls are not feature heavy and are actually quite nice to set on. I'm not saying that's the way to go, just giving you some info.

As far as the framing end of things, I'd suggest steel for one reason. Out of the 7 or 8 walls I've worked on, the steel framed ones have all been much easier to deal with maintenance issues behind the walls (read taking out spinners and replacing t-nuts).

If you use a paint on texture layer, it will need to be reapplied every few years. You would not need to do this with a permanent concrete coating. If you go with no texture, do not set with duct tape, it will destroy your walls. Use gaffers tape or set by hold color.


qwimjim


Apr 16, 2011, 6:41 AM
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thanks rschap, it's nice to hear from both sides, we'll have to really look at the cost benefits of both, but i know it will be far cheaper for us to build out of wood than to hire a company like rockwerx to build out of any material. we'll definitely look at what would be involved in doing it ourselves out of steel.

i don't like taped routes, i liked 2-3 routes per rope max, and all holds on a route to be the same color. i like a clean look, i know this means we'll have to buy a lot more holds but so be it. i would definitely tape the boulder areas though.

jh, momentum gym looks beautiful, i like how smooth their transitions are, looks like walltopia built it since they have photos of the gym on their site. how was their crack section? that's something i always found lacked in so many gyms that were near great crack climbing, from the photos it looks they've implemented it really well. was it good training? did it get enough use?

as for flat panel finishing coats, it seems the choices are paint with sand that would need to be recoated every few years, or sprayed concrete which is super durable, is there anything else worth considering?

and regarding simulated rock, no one seems to be a fan of it, but what about for a beginner section? say a single free standing spire? 5.5/5.6 routes don't ever really need to be reset, so it's perfect for beginners, and could put some harder routes on it that don't to be changed often either, they'd just get climbed when people move up a level or for beginners that want to push themselves early on.

thoughts? thanks!


(This post was edited by qwimjim on Apr 16, 2011, 6:42 AM)


rockforlife


Apr 16, 2011, 10:47 AM
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qwimjim wrote:


as for flat panel finishing coats, it seems the choices are paint with sand that would need to be recoated every few years, or sprayed concrete which is super durable, is there anything else worth considering?

and regarding simulated rock, no one seems to be a fan of it, but what about for a beginner section? say a single free standing spire? 5.5/5.6 routes don't ever really need to be reset, so it's perfect for beginners, and could put some harder routes on it that don't to be changed often either, they'd just get climbed when people move up a level or for beginners that want to push themselves early on.

thoughts? thanks!


I am the head setter at a gym and we have this, i like it for the most part, but the gym is getting a little older now (ten years so not to old) and we are having chunks of this stuff starting to rip off. I think if you fix it right away its not a big deal but don't let it go to far.

And as far as the "real rock" sections i would say its not worth it, just have some vertical or less than sections for the newer climbers and day climbers.


jh_angel


Apr 16, 2011, 11:47 AM
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Since you said you are planning on setting by hold color, please take the time to read this thread off routesetter.com (especially Sloperslapper's posts) first.

http://www.routesetter.com/...routes-by-hold-color

I started out in a set by color gym first, and was more than happy to leave it behind for creativity reasons. Now that I work in gyms with tape, I try to keep certain colors away from each other to help color blind people. Considering I sometimes have trouble telling the difference between hold colors when they get coated in chalk, I can't imagine what it's like for them. Maybe do both if you're doing it for aesthetics? Same color holds, with a similar color tape for when the holds get caked?


shockabuku


Apr 16, 2011, 1:42 PM
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I climb in a gym that sets routes by hold color, and I've climbed in many gyms that tape. From a user perspective, I hate hold color routes.


qwimjim


Apr 16, 2011, 9:13 PM
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jh_angel wrote:
Since you said you are planning on setting by hold color, please take the time to read this thread off routesetter.com (especially Sloperslapper's posts) first.

http://www.routesetter.com/...routes-by-hold-color

I started out in a set by color gym first, and was more than happy to leave it behind for creativity reasons. Now that I work in gyms with tape, I try to keep certain colors away from each other to help color blind people. Considering I sometimes have trouble telling the difference between hold colors when they get coated in chalk, I can't imagine what it's like for them. Maybe do both if you're doing it for aesthetics? Same color holds, with a similar color tape for when the holds get caked?

I've climbed in many gyms with tape, and a couple of gyms that set by hold color, personally i can't imagine why anyone would prefer the mess of tape from a user perspective. In two years of climbing at my current gym I have not once, -not once- been confused by a hold color. I don't understand, if your holds are so caked in chalk and shoe rubber you can't tell the color, then they should be cleaned. Maybe it's because my gym does a good job of not putting grey beside black beside blue and instead always has very contrasting colors ie green yellow red on the same rope. Now from an owner perspective I can't argue there, it's more expensive and you have less setting options, but from a user perspective? I just can't fathom it, routes by hold color are -so- much cleaner looking. I think maybe you guys just haven't seen it done properly :)


jh_angel


Apr 16, 2011, 11:01 PM
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I've climbed in gyms all over the country. If the gym has a high volume of customers, the holds will get dirty, very dirty. Now, I'm assuming a route turnover of 2-3 months. Faster than that and the customers start getting pissy about it, and you are there for them. Green and yellow caked in chalk look the same. There's more than a financial reason the majority of gyms use tape.

Out of curiosity, what is your current gym? I'd like to look it up to see pics.


jh_angel


Apr 16, 2011, 11:27 PM
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Also, you should attend the CWA conference next month.

http://www.climbingwallindustry.org/


I_do


Apr 17, 2011, 8:02 AM
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jh_angel wrote:
I've climbed in gyms all over the country. If the gym has a high volume of customers, the holds will get dirty, very dirty. Now, I'm assuming a route turnover of 2-3 months. Faster than that and the customers start getting pissy about it, and you are there for them. Green and yellow caked in chalk look the same. There's more than a financial reason the majority of gyms use tape.

Out of curiosity, what is your current gym? I'd like to look it up to see pics.

Just as a different perspective thrown out there, I've never been to a gym that used tape outside the us (I am dutch visited +-15 gyms in the neighbourhood and been to 3-4 in Australia). So it seems to be a very cultural thing as well.


jh_angel


Apr 17, 2011, 11:25 AM
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I'm aware of the fact that tapping is mostly an American thing (Canadians do it too). I was under the impression that the OP is American. If not, as they say, when in Rome.

For comparison:
-Largest US gym sets by hold color. http://ssclimbing.com/
-(Roughly) Next largest (significantly smaller) set with tape. http://movementboulder.com


djlachelt


Apr 18, 2011, 9:03 AM
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rockforlife wrote:
qwimjim wrote:
as for flat panel finishing coats, it seems the choices are paint with sand that would need to be recoated every few years, or sprayed concrete which is super durable, is there anything else worth considering?
...
thoughts? thanks!

I am the head setter at a gym and we have this, i like it for the most part, but the gym is getting a little older now (ten years so not to old) and we are having chunks of this stuff starting to rip off. I think if you fix it right away its not a big deal but don't let it go to far.

If you do decide you want a concrete wall surface then this is a good reason to go with one of the companies that has done this for many years (Rockwerx, Eldorado, Leading Edge) since they have studied what makes for a durable wall.

As for "anything else worth considering"... look at what Walltopia can do (they did both Momentum in SLC and Stone Summit in Atlanta). From their web-site you can see how they do their construction which is completely different than the US companies do, and certainly not something that you'll do on your own.


shockabuku


Apr 18, 2011, 9:16 AM
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djlachelt wrote:
As for "anything else worth considering"... look at what Walltopia can do (they did both Momentum in SLC and Stone Summit in Atlanta). From their web-site you can see how they do their construction which is completely different than the US companies do, and certainly not something that you'll do on your own.

That is an astute observation. But I shouldn't expect anything less given the source.Tongue


guangzhou


Apr 18, 2011, 5:52 PM
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jh_angel wrote:
Also, you should attend the CWA conference next month.

http://www.climbingwallindustry.org/

I don't find these guys all that useful to be honest.


jh_angel


Apr 18, 2011, 7:14 PM
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guangzhou wrote:
jh_angel wrote:
Also, you should attend the CWA conference next month.

http://www.climbingwallindustry.org/

I don't find these guys all that useful to be honest.

The suggest was mostly so he could go talk to gym owners and wall companies, as well as national level route setters who have worked in just about every kind of gym there is.


synrock


Apr 19, 2011, 1:43 PM
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Bare walls with lots of holds are much more cost effective than an eldo wall. But if you want realistic climbing that means you need the feet to resemble the stuff you climb on outdoors. Modular holds simply suck at duplicating outdoor foot holds or intermediates. Even lots of tiny screw-ons aren't very realistic and they soon polish to glass and are very unpleasant to climb on. A textured, featured eldo wall can give you some realistic moves but you can't change it and it costs a fortune for fixed realism you quickly get bored with.

There is an alternative. Rockpads - see photo. Joe's Valley - HP-40 quality sticky sandstone features that you screw on. The sticky sandstone feature is surrounded by a slick, no step poly outer forcing the climber to step into the feature and not blindly step down on the hold-wall join.

If you have ever watched a gym-learned climber use their feet they don't even bother to look at the hold. They just put their feet above the hold and slide it down to the join. When these climbers get outside they are clueless as to what actually constitutes a foothold and how to use it.

Rockpads not only provide amazingly realistic feet but also realistic crimps, edges, slopers and cracks for your hands. With a bunch of these you can turn a simple plywood vertical wall into something really fun and realistic to climb on. In fact - a simple plywood wall with a "gloss" paint finish and lots of these will give the most realistic climbing experience possible inside.

Now, I have a few questions - as a prospective gym owner how much would you be willing to pay for these things and does anyone want to try some of these things out as I am looking for beta testers?




(This post was edited by synrock on Apr 19, 2011, 1:55 PM)
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gmggg


Apr 19, 2011, 1:59 PM
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synrock wrote:
Bare walls with lots of holds are much more cost effective than an eldo wall. But if you want realistic climbing that means you need the feet to resemble the stuff you climb on outdoors. Modular holds simply suck at duplicating outdoor foot holds or intermediates. Even lots of tiny screw-ons aren't very realistic and they soon polish to glass and are very unpleasant to climb on. A textured, featured eldo wall can give you some realistic moves but you can't change it and it costs a fortune for fixed realism you quickly get bored with.

There is an alternative. Rockpads - see photo. Joe's Valley - HP-40 quality sticky sandstone features that you screw on. The sticky sandstone feature is surrounded by a slick, no step poly outer forcing the climber to step into the feature and not blindly step down on the hold-wall join.

If you have ever watched a gym-learned climber use their feet they don't even bother to look at the hold. They just put their feet above the hold and slide it down to the join. When these climbers get outside they are clueless as to what actually constitutes a foothold and how to use it.

Rockpads not only provide amazingly realistic feet but also realistic crimps, edges, slopers and cracks for your hands. With a bunch of these you can turn a simple plywood vertical wall into something really fun and realistic to climb on. In fact - a simple plywood wall with a "gloss" paint finish and lots of these will give the most realistic climbing experience possible inside.

Now, I have a few questions - as a prospective gym owner how much would you be willing to pay for these things and does anyone want to try some of these things out as I am looking for beta testers?

[image]http://www.rockclimbing.com/images/forum/files/image.gif[/image]

That's a pretty cool idea. How is the stone held into the Urethane? Epoxy?

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