Choosing the Perfect Climbing Wall
There are many climbing walls available and choosing the perfect one for your wants and needs can be overwhelming. Let us help you break down the process and add climbing to your program. Your climbers’ ages, what you hope to accomplish with your climbing wall and aesthetics are the main factors that will drive your decision.
How Old Are Your Climbers?
The ages of your climbers will help inform what type of climbing wall you choose. If the rock wall will be used primarily by children ages 3 to 5 years old, a WeeKidz® Traverse Wall® is the right choice. These climbing walls involve horizontal climbing, rather than vertical climbing, and are shorter in height, keeping young climbers closer to the safety mats. These are often chosen by preschools and child-care centers.
If children age 5-10 years old will be using the climbing wall, then you’ll want to go with an 8-foot-high Traverse Wall®. These walls involve traversing, or climbing across, rather than just up, the climbing wall. They offer a lot of fun and challenge, without the extra training, safety concerns and equipment involved in vertical climbing walls. A Traverse Wall® is the top choice for elementary schools. Adding climbing wall accessories can help to further challenge the oldest climbers in this age category.
If the climbing wall will be used for children ages 10-14 years old, you start to have more options. You could select a 10-foot-high Traverse Wall®. This taller horizontal climbing wall is important to accommodate taller climbers. A Bouldering Wall is an additional option for this age group. This type of rock wall can be built 10 feet high and can also incorporate varying climbing angles to bring more challenge to the climbing experience.
Another option for this intermediary age range is the Combi Wall which is part Traverse Wall® and part vertical wall, also known as a Top Rope Climbing Wall. Once children reach age 10 and up, they can take on the added safety responsibilities involved in a vertical climbing wall. The Combi Wall is a top choice for K-12 schools, middle schools and high schools.
If prospective climbers are in the mid-teenage years through adult, you’ll want to go with a Top Rope Climbing Wall. These climbing walls bring many developmental benefits that are covered in the next section. They include a comprehensive on-site training, so instructors are supported in the implementation. If you don’t have the space, or it’s not in the budget, your best option for teens and adults is a Bouldering Wall. These types of walls have gained tremendous popularity over the years and are featured in many climbing gyms, universities and fitness centers.
As you ponder the best option for your climbers’ age range, let’s now consider how you want to use this climbing wall.
Climbing Walls for Many Purposes
How you want to use the rock wall is another important part in helping you make the right choice.
If your main focus is building physical skills and rock-climbing technique, you’ll want to consider a climbing wall that has some special features that can be used along with the hand holds to build technique and strength. The Relief-Feature™ Wall and Sandstone Relief-Feature™ Wall will offer these opportunities. You’ll also want to consider some overhangs.
A Top Rope Wall is another great way to help develop climbing skills along with team building skills. Climbers will be on this type of climbing wall for a longer period of time to meet the challenge of climbing to the top, building great strength and endurance along the way. There will also be a wide variety of hand holds on the wall to help develop technique. Climbers will also be developing trust and teambuilding skills by learning belay protocols, or how to manage the safety rope with fellow climbers.
If the climbers who will be using the rock wall have special needs or physical disabilities, you will want to look at the Adaptive Climbing Wall which features a smooth surface and specially-designed hand and foot holds with greater surface area and “gripability” to provide the extra support some climbers need. These climbing walls are also usable by people without disabilities, making it a very inclusive option ideal for therapy centers and schools.
Did you know that some climbing walls are not just for rock climbing? On some, you can integrate math, reading and other subject areas with climbing. If your climbing wall is going into a school or learning center, you may want a climbing wall for cross curricular activities. Interactive climbing walls that accept magnets or that you can write on are the perfect rock wall for K-12 schools. If climbers being able to place, move and remove magnets while climbing appeals to you, then explore the Magna® Wall and Magna® Relief-Feature™ Wall. If you and climbers want to be able to write and erase, along with using magnets, then take a look at the Discovery™ Dry-Erase Wall and Discovery™ Blackboard Wall. These types of climbing walls bring extra excitement to lessons and help incorporate more physical activity into the day, something many schools and organizations are working to do.
Once you have decided on the perfect ways to use your climbing wall, you are ready to think about how you want it to look.
Climbing Walls of Many Looks
Finally, the look of the climbing wall is an important consideration. What look do you like? Are you trying to match existing décor or are you going for a special aesthetic feel? Some climbing walls look and feel like real rock. Others feature artistic murals that take climbers into the jungle, the sea, mountains or outer space. You can even have your own original look with a custom mural wall. If you’re looking for a sleek, modern look, consider the Baltic Birch Climbing Wall. There’s also an option for adding a fun pop of color and another for keeping things neutral. Without a doubt, there’s a climbing wall to accommodate a wide variety of tastes and preferences.
We hope you are not overwhelmed by the many exciting climbing wall options available. By considering age, use and look, you can begin to narrow down your choices and the decision will become less daunting. But know that you’re not in this alone! We’ve helped thousands of customers choose their rock climbing walls and we are here to support you. Contact us by phone, email or online chat and we will help walk you through the process.