Eastwood residents construct their own personal climbing wall

Eastwood residents construct their own personal climbing wall

High and Inside

Walking into a house, you’ll always find the typical quirks that define the resident, such as posters, color schemes, photos, furniture and wall decorations. Walk into the Eastwood apartment of Bryce Moore and Rob Leffler, however, and you’ll easily recognize what these guys are into. In fact, they’ll probably ask you to take part in their very obvious hobby. Instead of ellipticals in their living room or a guitar sitting in the corner; they’ve got a climbing wall.

Moore, 26, says he’s seen a few house-bound climbing walls in his lifetime, but this is the first he’s had in his own living space. The wall went up before beds or couches.

“It’s the first thing we assembled when we moved in,” he says. “It’s something fun to do in the winter, or anytime. It also keeps your muscles active and useful so the first day of climbing you don’t go out and completely suck. It’s also great for parties and screwing around in the house. Instead of sitting on the couch and watching TV, you can climb and watch.”

The wall is 100 percent free-standing, something that surprises most people. You don’t have to drill into walls or do damage to your living space. The wall is built on two-by-four frames and sheets of plywood, held together by T-nuts. This angled wall is about 8 feet in height, goes up the ceiling, then around the corner of the room, where you cross over to another wall.

The frame, like an arch, holds its own weight. Once the frame and walls are constructed, climbing holds can be purchased at online venues such as REI and BackCountry.

Moore also recommends a crash pad for the floor beneath the wall in case climbers take a tumble. Chalk and shoes are optional, depending on the climber, although for more serious climbers, shoes will be helpful, making it easier to dig toes into tiny footholds. “But that’s one of the good things about your own wall,” Moore says. “If you don’t have expensive shoes, you can put easier holds by the feet.”

Other Syracusans have indoor climbing walls, some of which are in garages and spare rooms that allow for almost two-story climbs, which require belaying equipment. For those looking to translate indoor skills to the outdoors, learning belaying techniques are essential before outside explorations.

“You definitely need to take a class or learn from friends who climb regularly how to tie knots and belay properly,” Moore says. “It’s a social sport and people are always willing to show you the ropes {pun intended}. I got lucky with Rob. He met people on and Craigslist. Local outdoors stores are usually putting on classes, too. There’s lots of ways to tap into the community: SUOC {Syracuse University Outing Club}, climbing forums, MountainProject, Reddit, Facebook. It’s fun and anyone can do it.”

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