Scarpa North America Blog

Aaron Mulkey Shows Us How to Build A Wall For Ice Climbing Training

Jan. 21st 2015

Whether it’s during the offseason or the middle of winter, strength training is always important if you want to take your climbing to the next level. Luckily, SCARPA athlete Aaron Mulkey has a great, cheap, do it yourself method for building a training wall in your own backyard.

Because of the “Dry Tooling revolution,” athletes are putting up harder mixed lines that require not only strength, but focus and comfort with the tools needed to get the job done. Not long after he saw Gordon McArthur train on his creation “The Great Arch,” Aaron knew he had to build one of his own.

The inspiration: Gordon McArthur trains in his backyard on “The Great Arch.”

Some perks of Aaron’s do-it-yourself creation: small, easy to build, plus an adjustable angle option. Here’s what you’ll need to get started:

(1) Mini traxion to easily adjust angle
(3) 2x6x16 treated lumber
(15) Wood pickets that are used for fencing (your choice – but choose something strong and durable).
(2) Eye bolts
(2) Large washers for the eye bolts
(2) Small washers for the eye bolts
(3-4) Metal stakes
(1) Wood post 4x4x8
(30+) 4in. long screws
Lots of size nine 2in. screws
3/8 16inch long drill bit
1/2 inch drill bit

Building the Frame


“The header is where you use the longer screws. Also use the longer screws for the middle supports of the wall to keep it from bowing. This middle support is somewhat of an overkill, but you have the extra wood and it does add to the stability of the wall long term.”

“I cut the pickets at 34 inches long this way you get two out of each picket. You can place them however far apart or close you want. Depending on how far apart you place them could change how many pickets you need. Pictures shown above is what I placed in the top of the header board. This where you will anchor everything off of.”

“Eye bolts seen above are now ready. Notice how the eye bolts are placed not in middle, but closer to the sides of the wall.”

Optional Additions: Hanging Tuna Logs

“Out of the 4x4x8 post I cut five 14 inch length tuna logs and you end up with shorter one if you want to have 6. I then took the long 16 inch drill bit and made a hole down the center of the log. I then drilled at angle about 1 1/2 inches deep on each side of the tuna log. I drilled one hole high on one side and low on the other. So you have four sides to the tuna log with varying heights. Once I completed my drilling I then fed the rope down the center and tied a knot on the other end. The top is a quick overhand knot with a carabiner. These are simple to move however you want on the wall.”

Anchoring the Wall

Aaron’s wall is anchored to a tree with a rope on each side for directional force and a center rope that is primarily used to lift the wall. Metal stakes are placed through the bottom of the wall for stability (Aaron recommends a sawzall to cut the openings).

If you have any specific questions about the wall build, contact Aaron HERE.

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