Monday, January 2, 2017

We will build, and we will climb.

Our volumes look so good!
I spent a lot of my childhood watching my dad build and remodel stuff. I can remember the moments sitting next to him while he soldered and pieced together the plumbing in multiple bathrooms, stripping down our second story deck and engineering a new one, plastering up miles of dry wall, and beautifully landscaping our yard into something you'd see in a magazine. The list goes on and on. My dad is the master when it comes to woodworking and DIY house projects and I can't thank him enough for instilling the drive and curiosity to build stuff on my own. I'm confident that if you stuck me in a house for a week, I'd at least have all the drywall and bathroom plumbing installed by the time you got back. In fact, last year I built my first seven-foot bookshelf all on my own. And yes, Dad, I did drill in pilot holes first!

Here in the Tri-Cities, there's a lack of indoor climbing resources. The largest wall is inside the Tri-City Court Club with about 15 ropes. I frequently find my way in there to help set new routes on the wall and climb a little top rope. The only other indoor spot that I've been climbing at for the past year is this fairly secret and exclusive boulder wall that was hand built inside the home gym of a couple of folks who live in Benton City. This bouldering wall and home is impressive to say the least. It's stocked with a lot of hardware, like a squat rack, bench, lat-pull down machine... Oh yeah, and a fairly large 12 or 15 foot bouldering wall equipped with 90, 45, and 15 degree incline portions. And best of all, it's a workshop. The home owner's are huge DIY people and their shop is filled with tools my dad would certainly appreciate. I feel at home when I'm in their garage climbing. It's pretty much the best of both worlds.

More wall space means more holds.
I've only been climbing at the garage for about a year but I've heard it's been up and running for at least three. The folks have continued to upgrade it with cooler features and new routes go up all the time. I've been happy to get involved with the newest project which includes expanding the wall and building volumes. If you don't know what volumes are, they are external features that can attach to the wall and be repositioned. You can bolt on a variety of holds to them. They add to the diversity of climbs and you can basically install more climbing technique and movement into your routes. A few weekends ago, we spent a Sunday afternoon driving T-nuts into the new portion of the climbing wall we were expanding. All of my climbing friends are engineers of some sort, and very competent with power tools and building things. It was a lot of fun to work with them and make measurements, use a table saw, and drill away the afternoon. This was all stuff my dad would let me help with. I was proud to show some sort of competency among my guy friends who obviously had more experience with woodworking.

The Install
After we finish our entire project, we will have a whole new 10x15 foot climbing section. The wall is still in progress but the volumes got put up yesterday. We built three four-sided polygons that Spencer sanded down, puttied, and painted a pretty blue color. They look phenomenal on the wall and make our little bouldering spot a pretty impressive resource for climbing and training. This garage is a little secret to our group of friends, something most folks won't ever know exists here in the Tri-Cities, which makes it extra special. I'm excited to continue helping to improve the wall, while continuing to improve myself as a builder and climber. When the time comes that I'm able to fund my own climbing wall in my future garage, I'm pretty sure I'll know exactly how to build it.

Still planning to summit MSH this month and go skiing a bunch. Waiting on some exciting news at work that would free up my schedule a bunch. More time means more adventures. Stay tuned. ⤲



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