How to Choose the Right Climbing Wall
If you’re just starting to investigate getting a climbing wall, you might be overwhelmed by the many options that are available. How do you go about getting the right climbing wall? Let us help guide you through the selection process!
Climbing Walls for All Ages
The first piece of information that will inform your climbing wall decision is what age range will be using it. 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.
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 climbing 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 walls.
If the primary age range for the climbing wall is 10-14 years old, you start to have more options. You could select a 10-foot high traverse wall or a Combi Wall. This taller traverse wall is important to accommodate taller climbers. The Combi Wall is part traverse wall and part vertical wall, also known as a top-rope wall. Once children reach age 10 and up, they can take on the added safety responsibilities involved in a vertical climbing wall.
If prospective climbers are in the mid-teenage years and older, you’ll want to go with a top-rope climbing wall. If you don’t have the space, or it’s not in the budget, you can still get a traverse wall, but you will want to incorporate features to add challenges, such as overhangs and volumes.
Once you have decided between traverse wall, combi wall and top-rope wall, you are ready to move onto the next phase in the climbing wall decision making process -- How do you want to use this 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.
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.
Did you know that some climbing was 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 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 in to 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.
Don’t be 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 walls and we are available for you. Contact us by phone, email or online chat and we will help walk you through the process.