Gym Projects

I’ve been working for the past few weeks on a few projects at the gym (, and while this update might be better suited for the Rocktown blog, this is more about the personal work experienced, so it’s being posted here.

The initial project began months ago. The plan was to design a climb from scratch that would consist of a number of major “features” which would be built and attached to the walls. In addition, the silo walls would need to be cleaned, all holes hammer drilled, drop-ins placed, anchors attached, etc. etc. – the usual amount of work for a typical route at Rocktown PLUS the added work of building at least three large features, attaching them, and then setting the route. The problem is that I typically attack a project as if I can do it in a week or so. In other words, I often underestimate the amount of work that I’ve taken on. The other issue I have is that once started, I find it an obligation to complete a project no mater what. This results in weeks (or months) of work – highs and lows – frustrations and solutions. But it works for me. With this initial project, creating three individual and unique features – all at least 6 feet in height – would be quite a chore. The first feature was an enormous triangle feature measuring about 8 feet tall and 4 feet wide. This thing was a monster. The biggest chore was hauling it up the wall 60 feet and attaching it. If I think too long about all the things that could have gone wrong with lifting this thing that high using ropes, pulleys and brute strength, my heart skips a beat.

The second feature was the most reasonable of the three – a low profile diamond shaped feature that was about 6 feet by 3 feet. This feature was much easier to place – likely because it was lower on the wall so there was less lifting/pulling involved.

The final feature was the most complicated. The feature itself was actually constructed by making three identical pieces and fitting them together. This final feature measure 12 feet in length and 4 feet wide and had the shape of an airplane wing! It has a large concave curve and angles down into the wall. There’s nothing but texture on it and it’s attached in such a manner that you must press into it and smear your way up it. it is by far the most impressive thing I’ve ever constructed and one of the more difficult things too.

Each of these features were attached to the wall and the route was built through them. In total, it took me about 6 weeks of work – this is the longest I’ve spent building a single artificial climbing route. The name of the route is “The Feature Presentation.”

The second major project I began and have (almost) finished, is becoming known as the Training Room. This room, also a brand new room, contains a campus board, hangboard system, Roman chair for leg lifts and dips, and will soon contain a peg board. The room has a drop ceiling and a padded floor like what you might find at a gymnastics gym.

The third project which was just finished took about a week. We stripped all the holds from the bouldering room, filled some cracks and imperfections, re-painted the walls, and replaced the holds. This gave a nice face-lift to one of our most popular rooms at the gym.

I’m at a brief stopping point before I decide what the next series of projects is going to be.

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