FAQ

Panel Systems

Are your climbing walls weather resistant?

A weather resistant panel is available by special order.  Our weather resistant panels are only suited for covered outdoor areas.  When exposed to elements there might be discoloration and streaking to the panels.  Call to discuss your outdoor projects.  (206) 641.9119

Can your panels be cut to fit?

Yes our panels can be easily cut using standard tools. We recommend using a circular saw with a sharp blade. Having a stack of inexpensive blades is preferable to using expensive blades. The panels should be cut from the back with the blade set to cut the plywood and minimally score the concrete coating. The edges can be cleaned up using a masonry grinding stone available at most home improvement centers.

Is it possible to mount your panels to a curved surface?

Yes our unique polymer concrete coating allows our panels to be mounted to curved surfaces without cracking. We are experts at building beautifully curved walls.  Curved walls can be challenging to build but we believe the results speak for themselves. If you feel like you are up to the challenge give us a call and we will be happy to discuss your project and get you started in the right direction (206) 641-9119.

What are the dimensions and weight of your panels?

Elevate panels are made from 3/4in structural plywood cut to 4ft x 4ft. Panels have an average weight of 50 lbs.

Do Elevate panels require professional installation?

No, our panels can be conveniently mounted to either a wood or steel frame using appropriate fasteners.  We are happy to provide you with installation techniques. We also offer a range of design/build services.

Do you have an installation video?

How many climbing holds do we need?

The number of holds you need depends on the type of project. In general the smaller the wall the more holds we recommend. This will maximize the climbing potential. For home walls we recommend 10-25 holds per panel. For traverse walls we recommend 7-10 holds per panel. For commercial gyms and recreation centers we recommend 10-15 holds per panel.

How do the climbing holds attach to the wall and how many attachment points are there?

The climbing holds attach with a threaded fastener called a T-Nut. This allows the holds to be easily mounted and repositioned on the wall for maximum versatility. Our standard panels have 25 T-nuts per panel. Our premium panels have 36 T-nuts per panel. We use the highest quality wood and T-nuts available.

Do you recommend mounting panels directly to an existing wall?

If your wall has exposed wood or steel studs and is structurally adequate it is possible to mount the panels directly. It is important to remember that the bolts used to attach the climbing holds will protrude beyond the back of the panel. It is important to allow for adequate space for the bolts.   We do not recommend mounting panels directly to concrete and concrete block walls or walls that have been sheeted. When in doubt build a frame for your panels to mount to. A frame adds minimal cost and will increase the versatility and maintainability of your wall in addition to allowing you to incorporate shapes and angle changes into your design.

How durable is your panel system?

Our panels have been in use for over 20 years in commercial climbing gyms. The combination of high quality wood and our proprietary polymer concrete mix results in a long lasting hard wearing product backed by one of the best warranties in the business.

What are the advantages of a panel system?

A panel system is more cost effective, reconfigurable, maintainable, and allows for a higher level of quality control than seamless textured onsite systems. With a panel system old or damaged panels can be replaced and your walls can be easily modified to provide a fresh experience for your customers. Climbing Walls are an asset and need to be managed as so. When an asset needs to be retired, or changed, you will need to look at the costs associated with doing so. A seamless textured wall system puts you in a position of not being able to modify, or replace your wall systems. If you do, it will be extremely expensive and will have a negative impact on your balance sheet. A panel wall system will allow you to change, or replace your wall system any time, and you can re-coup a good percentage of the used asset by either re-selling the materials, or reusing them. Why is this issue important? To maximize your return on assets by re-purposing the materials, and increasing your customer satisfaction. Every time I have modified one of my gyms my revenues go up and the customers are excited about new climbing walls. Health clubs would never keep their equipment on the floor for more than 5 to 7 years. The equipment is the main product that is being presented to the customer. Just the same, the climbing walls are the main product being presented to the customer. It is important to be able to manage that asset to the best possible scenario for the benefit to the customer. On a side note, I have never had a customer come up to the front desk and complain about the seams on the climbing walls. On the other hand, we have had countless comments about route setting. No surprise there. Think about how you can maximize your return on your climbing wall investment. Go with the panels.

How are your panels made?

Our panels start with high quality structural grade solid cross-strand plywood. The plywood is cut into 4ft squares drilled and T-nut fasteners installed. The plywood is then textured with a hand sculpted proprietary polymer based concrete with integral color for optimal performance and durability.

Residential

Do Elevate panels require professional installation?

No, our panels can be conveniently mounted to either a wood or steel frame using appropriate fasteners.  We are happy to provide you with installation techniques. We also offer a range of design/build services. For more information on self installation, please view our install video above in the Panel Systems section.

Do you recommend mounting panels directly to an existing wall?

If your wall has exposed wood or steel studs and is structurally adequate it is possible to mount the panels directly. It is important to remember that the bolts used to attach the climbing holds will protrude beyond the back of the panel. It is important to allow for adequate space for the bolts. We do not recommend mounting panels directly to concrete and concrete block walls or walls that have been sheeted. When in doubt build a frame for your panels to mount to. A frame adds minimal cost and will increase the versatility and maintainability of your wall in addition to allowing you incorporate shapes and angle changes into your design.

How big does a home climbing wall need to be to be useful?

It is possible to get a lot of use out of a small space. The smaller the wall the more holds you will need to stay motivated. Remember it is ultimately the number of climbing holds that determines the variety of climbing. A wall that is 8ft x 8ft and covered in holds can be much more useful than a wall four times the size with only a few holds. In general we recommend that the smaller walls be more overhanging. Traditionally a home wall built for training should be 8-12ft wide x10-12ft tall and overhang 30 to 45 degrees past vertical.  If you have more space add a variety of angles. For small home walls we recommend avoiding vertical walls, as they will not provide a sufficient challenge for training.

Where is the best place to build a home climbing wall?

We have found that indoor walls get used more often than outdoor walls. Most often home walls are built in attics, basements and garages. These spaces are usually out of the way dry year round and often have exposed structures to mount to. We generally recommend against mounting walls to the outside of your house although with proper design considerations it is possible.

How do the climbing holds attach to the wall and how many attachment points are there?

The climbing holds attach with a threaded fastener called a T-Nut. This allows the holds to be easily mounted and repositioned on the wall for maximum versatility. Our standard panels have 25 T-nuts per panel. Our premium panels have 36 T-nuts per panel. We use the highest quality wood and T-nuts available.

How many climbing holds do we need?

The number of holds you need depends on the type of project. In general the smaller the wall the more holds we recommend. This will maximize the climbing potential. For home walls we recommend 10-25 holds per panel. For traverse walls we recommend 7-10 holds per panel. For commercial gyms and recreation centers we recommend 10-15 holds per panel.

Commercial/Recreation

What type of climbing wall is right for us?

This is a very important question to ask. There are many reasons to build a climbing facility:
  • Provide Recreational opportunities for employees or customers
  • Fitness
  • Team building
  • Generate interest in your business or products
  • Generate Revenue
The more you know about why you want a climbing facility the more we can help you identify the right type of facility for you. Climbing facilities come in all shapes and sizes and how you manage your facility can be as important as how the facility is designed. Elevate Climbing Walls has more that 25 years of experience and we can help guide you through this process from start to finish. We offer a full range of design/build and consulting services.

How big does a climbing wall need to be to be useful?

It is possible to get a lot of use out of a small space. The size of your facility will be determined by a variety of considerations:
  • Space available
  • Intended use
  • Number of users
  • Age and skills of users
  • Roped Climbing or Bouldering
  • Budget
We offer a full range of design/build and consulting services. Elevate Climbing Walls has more that 25 years of experience and we can help you determine the optimal size facility to meet your needs.

Do Elevate panels require professional installation?

No, our panels can be conveniently mounted to either a wood or steel frame using appropriate fasteners. We are happy to provide you with installation techniques. We also offer a range of design/build services. For more information on self installation, please view our install video above in the Panel Systems section.

How do the climbing holds attach to the wall and how many attachment points are there?

The climbing holds attach with a threaded fastener called a T-Nut. This allows the holds to be easily mounted and repositioned on the wall for maximum versatility. Our standard panels have 25 T-nuts per panel. Our premium panels have 36 T-nuts per panel. We use the highest quality wood and T-nuts available.

How many climbing holds do we need?

The number of holds you need depends on the type of project. In general the smaller the wall the more holds we recommend. This will maximize the climbing potential. For home walls we recommend 10-25 holds per panel. For traverse walls we recommend 7-10 holds per panel. For commercial gyms and recreation centers we recommend 10-15 holds per panel.

What type of landing surface do we need?

Selecting an appropriate landing surface is a very important part of developing a climbing facility. It is also a significant expense that should be addressed from the beginning. There are a wide variety of options available in the marketplace and we can help guide you through the selection process.

Is liability a concern with climbing walls?

Indoor climbing on artificial walls has a long history and a remarkable track record for safety. It is important to contact your insurance provider to discuss the specifics of your policy. It is likely that you are already covered but you want to make sure. There are a variety of resources available with regard to operations and liability through the Climbing Wall Association www.climbingwallindustry.org

We have a new climbing wall now what?

Climbing wall management is equally important to climbing facility design.  We have seen beautifully designed climbing facilities sit virtually unused due to inadequate management.  A climbing facility is a blank slate it is up to you to make the most of the opportunities. We encourage organizations with climbing facilities to get involved with the Climbing Wall Association. The CWA has an amazing range of resources available to you. Visit them today at www.climbingwallindustry.org

Climbing Gyms

What steps do I take before I engage with a consultant or climbing wall installer?

Three main factors go into preparing for a plan to build a gym:
  1. Market analysis
  2. Access to equity
  3. Available property in the market area. A basic market analysis is based on population.

 

If you want to build a successful gym, a rule of thumb is that you need a significant population to support a healthy and profitable gym. If you are in a community of only 50,000 people, it is unlikely that the venture will give a return on investment.

 

Before you engage a consultant or wall building service you need to determine if you have access to capital. Most gyms are financed through private venture capital. You want to propose your concept to either a bank or private venture group just to see if there is any interest in the concept. Selling the concept is important at this stage. Many of the private equity people will work with you in developing a business plan.

 

One of the most difficult stages of this process is finding a building that is suitable for you business. It is easy to engage a commercial broker for a search for property. You don’t want to put investors through a process if there isn’t property available.

What really goes into a business plan for a climbing gym?

There are two main parts to a business plan. 1) Capital costs for building the project; and 2) Operations cash flow analysis.

 

You can dig deeper into business plans that will determine your cash-on-cash return, and if there is property being purchased, a cap rate return, balance sheet scenarios and P & L scenarios.

 

I like to have a simple capital improvement budget, which includes all the costs for building out the tenant improvements, and climbing wall costs. I then do a cash flow analysis on what it will take to pay the bills every month and if that will get you a return on investment (ROI).

How can I determine if the property that we are looking at is feasible?

Once you have chosen property for your project, you need to determine if the land use laws and building use codes fit your new use for the building. Some jurisdictions are very strict on types of use in certain areas. An experienced architect can do a review of these land use laws and how to work with them. Elevate does provide this service.

What are the cost factors in building a climbing gym?

Here are some rules of thumb cost factors. These numbers are for budgeting only and do not reflect a true cost analysis of a project  
  1. Cost of climbing walls: depending on the complexity of the design and structural issues with the building, climbing walls can cost between $30.00 and $40.00 per square ft.
  2. Tenant improvements: these costs can come in at approximately 40% of your total project. If the total project is $1,000,000.00, then you should budget around $400,000.00 for tenant improvements.
  Elevate Climbing Walls has the experience and expertise to consult on all the critical planning and budget issues that need to be addressed on your project.

How do I determine if building a climbing gym in a chosen market is the right decision?

Spend some time with an experienced climbing gym operator.  Get to understand the day-to-day operations and what it feels like to be in this type of business.  There are many established gyms around the country.  Even if you pay for that service it will go a long way in educating you on what you are getting into.

 

Once you have decided that this is the business for you, then do research on your market.  What is the population within a 10 mile radius from the site; what is the average household income; is it an outdoor active population (Boulder, CO vs. Lubbock, TX); How many climbing clubs, outdoor clubs are in the area; how much outdoor gear is sold in that area?  These are good questions to start with.  Once you start drilling down in the info you will learn more about whether the project is feasible or not.