the whole point of this blog is to help others with all the questions they have about setting up a similar home climbing gym, and ramble about a variety of climbing related subjects.
There is a variety of subjects... most involving rock climbing, written about on this blog. MAKING VOLUMES OR CLIMBING HOLDS, is probably one of the more popular subjects. just check the labels links or search bar to find your fancy.
of course if you want to go back and start from the beggining, please do! to that end, if there are any question let me know ... i encourage you to add comments for others to read or if you want to get me directly you can email me at treadwallproject@hotmail.com
IF THIS IS YOUR FIRST TIME, READ THE MUST READ LIST.... oh!, ...and you have to fight!

Friday, December 31, 2010

pictures are better than reality....

exhibit A:

there is nothing bad about this picture... i love it! but if we stop and think for a sec... does mike have any idea how many bugs or other funky-ness he just transferred to his receding hairline? we can observe this in effect often when look back at pictures of our many misadventures. but more recently i notice when i try to explain thing via the image. and always my thoughts turn to one man who has managed to take the cluster f-yuck of any rope system and make it have the beauty and grace of art....

i wonder how many of you are scratching your head... asking yourselves "who is this guy? who cares?" well take a look at the pen strokes... recognize it? any familiarity leaking through? no? well you suck!

okay his stuff isnt Picasso, but lets be honest that guy sucks too.... and i especially would hate to see any imagery he would have made to help illustrate rock climbing. yes yes, i might be interesting to look at...but completely counter productive for explaining, ANYTHING! im sure some of you have since figured it out where you know this guy, so..

yes thats right! Mike Clelland is that fabulous illustrator for the tech tips column. i have loved this guys work since the first time i saw it. his pictures show how to build any anchor i have ever imagined.... if i owned a climbing gym id hire this guy to make all my class material! spend a little time doing a google image search and you will find no other artist as representative of our sport as mike. thanks buddy! your awesome. do me a favor, make a giant book of all your material and sell it... ILL BUY! take a look at the next image...there's no additional text needed.

he does a have a few books available out with him doing the funny pictures. here's a bio from one of them:

"Mike has illustrated six climbing books, two camping books, and a "really cool" backcountry ski book. Mike never went to art school, studying MAD magazine instead. He grew up in the very flat state of Michigan and spent the historic 1980's as a yuppie in New York City. Mike was introduced to climbing in the last stronghold of "traditional" technique, The Gunks. Finding it impossible to ignore an eco-groovy voice deep in his soul, Mike moved to Wyoming and began working as a instructor for the National Outdoor Leadership School (NOLS) and doing an occasional cartoon for CLIMBING magazine. Mike is presently living in a shed in Idaho."
for anything else google him... he has a website!

Sunday, December 19, 2010

HEY YOU! in Ontario Canada!!

so, i know there are plenty of you out there like this guy in Ontario! you come and read up but you never say anything! sooo frustrating to the writer!!!! say hello... leave a comment... if i came to your house id at least share a beer and let you know what i think of those crappy draps your wife picked out! so again, i encourage comments, thoughts, and questions!!! or if it's personal... awkward... send me an email, the link is at the top of every page.

so in other news i was listening to the dirt bag diaries again! check them out Fitz is rad and its the greatest podcast / adventure dairy / outdoor audio articles i have ever found

the dirtbag diaries!! listen to it!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

... looky, looky what i found. oh! that would be the camera i thought i had lost!

.... guess this means i have to do more of that posting that i had promised... so training videos and pictures to come. i gotta drop some pounds kids, so dont expect me to post any unflattering images just yet. but after a few weeks on the treadmill, treadwall, and sweetin' to the oldies i should be ready to climb. about the same time i get done with the hospital residency program.... which i am sad to add kept me from enjoying new years in bishop with the vulgarian crew! have a good time kids... and someone run over the bonfire for me. and dont forget to take the red rider BB gun! (punish the big sender!)

Monday, December 13, 2010

big wall gri gri

i apologise for what i am about to do. i know that i have been talking lot about the gri-gri lately.... which is kinda ridiculous considering i have a gri-gri made in 1994. i dont know about you but i have had climbing partners younger than my gri-gri. its funny age is a factor in trust with me and climbing....weird?

regardless what could make me want to climb down into that gri-gri hole again and start digging? well, glad you asked!... i was at the gym the other day doing some laps with the K.cloud and some gym newbie looks at our gri-gris and is puzzled.

"what's the deal with that?" he asked us, as he pointed the belay setup. not really cluing into what he was after i launch into an explanation of how we are lead belaying with gri-gri's. and despite what he may have read or heard its perfectly safe and blah blah blah....

he cuts me off!.... rude?! much? doesnt this douche realize i love the long winded Socratic dialogue as i imagine myself on the steps of the senate hall! come to me children for i will corrupt the youth!

yeah he didnt care, he was pointing to the accessory cord on our gri-gri's. oh! huh! i had gotten so used to this upgrade i thought everyone who had ever seen a gri-gri new about it. i explain to the neophyte that this is so i dont drop it.... he looks at me like im retarded.... "from up on route!" i emphasize. then the light bulb goes off and the one-sided conversation begins anew as i explain all the beni's of improving on the patent.

he quickly grows tired of my blathering... leaving me with a itch to scratch. so heres how you turn your average simple gri-gri in to a big wall gem impervious to the gravitational pull which seems to claim so many a climbers overly priced means of egress....impervious, in theory any way.

so first locate the Phillip's head set screw on the fixed plate side of your original model gri-gri. conveniently picture to the left for those not blessed with the skills of following written directions.

next, remove the screw, duh! try to get the appropriate size screw driver... stripping the screw now would suck as eventually you will need to access this screw again and if you wear it out you just destroyed a perfectly good belay device... competitively priced at $75 or more.

i also strongly urge you not to loose the screw! when i was a mechanic a while back i use get duct tape and make an "H" on the work bench. the center bridge of the "H" wold have the "sticky side" up! put the screw on the sticky side. "huh? ...it stays?"

so that screw attaches the black plastic base plate on the bottom of the device. with the screw out it's still attached, but you can pry down the rear section by the eyelet...like so (look to the left genius).

next you need some small diameter accessory cord, and a drill bit of equal size. avoid going too big...

once you have your hole, thread the cord through the hole and tie a knot. i suggest you use a double fisherman's as opposed to the simple over hand knot pictured here. things get snagged on things and...well, frankly i like a little more staying power than that provide by your best "granny knot"

once thats done put plate back in place and replace the screw...whew! didnt loose it!

a quick word on "cross threading" and "back threading"! cross threading is when you go at a screw or bolt and turn like a champ until you force that thing into it's home. this also destroys the threads (little ridges on the screw and inside the hole? they lock together? attaches tap "A" to slot "B"?). this tends to happens very easily when a harder material is threaded to a softer material.... ie the metal screw in the plastic hole!!!!

back threading is a method of ensuring you dont cross thread. so put the screw in the hole. now, rather than turning it in (lefty loosey, righty tighty) we turn the screw backwards ever so slowly and gently until we feel the screw drop into the treads! this method will line up the threads and allow you to not destroy your gri gri!!! enjoy that! put it in your mouth! suck on it! it's sweet...you like..

my last suggestion is the drilling site. first ill admit, once again lost camera...therefore none of these pictures are mine...

so above it shows the hole drilled froward of the screw. i prefer mine to be further back. either works and is a matter of personal preference. but this way i can make the cording shorter and less "snaggable" ...in theory anyway. you will have to work a little harder to make the knot fit, but i have faith "handy smurf".

last thing i wanted to point out is... ever wonder how old your gri-gri is?

lift up the handle and take a peak hmm this kid was born in 1995.... ha! mines older, but at least i dont have the super heavy first series...

hope you kids like the blathering, again question and comments are welcome. ie, im lonely... hug me...

Sunday, December 12, 2010

2 & 12, a carabiner gear review!

Petzl has made a career of making excellent gear... but this thing makes me twitch. but i do love the new and weird looking for the novelty factor. this biner would look at home with the totem cam.

i would love to be able to write a lengthy review of this item but unfortunately i havent risen through the ranks of such esteemed and noted rock climber blogs like... climber girl. and as such no one sends me free shit to yack about. to bads. but maybe one day i too with a mediocre climbing resume can spew all over the internet about things i am horribly under qualified to talk about..... of course it is an opinion. and we do know i have plenty of those. in that case! i urge you all to stop at nothing less than mortgaging your homes to get an entire rack of these beauties!

the ANGE has not yet found its way onto the petzl website as far as i know but in the mean time.....

heres a link for it:

next up is a mad rock trigger wire... again weird. also this biner is very specific to project sport routes. i cant imagine using it for the hard onsights...

again, never had one never touched one...seen it on youtube.com, so i cant really tell you whether or not it's the bees knees or cat PJ's if you will. but on a positive note! it looks like a stupid gimmick that would in no way actually help anyone with a hard send. that being said i will happily change my tune if you give me some for free and and expect a review in trade! in which case thank god i dont have to struggle to get that gate open anymore!

now for the fun of it check out some of the other ("super awesome must have carabiners of the future that you absolutely cant live without because why else would someone put this crap into mass production?") -carabiners

the "ballpoint" biner~ this fancy new thing will come in handy mid send when you have beta questions. simply write a letter to your belay and mail it off. no more worrying about not being able to her them. when your answer comes... dont worry their is a letter opener on the back end... just in case the envelope glue is too much for that pump you've developed!

The "ultimate locking" biner~ dont trust yourself that you locked it? dont trust your partner not to unlock you and shove your ass off the bivy at night? dont mind waiting for someone to haul bolt cutters up the route when you forget the combo because your quite probably retarded for buying this in the first place?

the "weather" biner~ man it's cold up here... i think it could snow... do you think i might die here from exposure while captin american spends next ten hours figuring out the optimal beta a chalking foot holds? we let me tell you this bad boy is here for ya. it's official it's cold ... its raining... and your gonna walk down in the dark.... pissed!

the "math biner" ~this might make sense. your up there at the belay ledge, the mind wanders.... time to figure some shit out! what kinda taxes do i owe? how much money do i have left for this trip? what exactly is the fall force of a factor two fall occurring from 20ft above the anchor by a climber weighing 165lbs. and should the two bolt anchor fail, how long would it take for me to fall the 627ft to the deck if i accelerate at the standard 32 feet per second per second? ...hmmm?

the "USBiner" ~ill be honest, there is a thousand and one needs for a thumb drive in the middle of a route. like.. or.. and what about... yeah never mind, this thing is stupid. by itself its flat and the size of a stick of gum! its called a pocket for christ sake!

the "Metro-biner" collection! ~ see i call them "metro" because what i really mean is GAY! but lets be honest nobody likes referring to things as gay... but how else would you describe a fanny pack! its F@&$#! gay dude! it's not that they have a perfectly normal and healthy same sex relationship. their gay, as in superbly lame in a way that makes me want to slap the dork off of you when you stand to close to me.

"big-BALLA-biner"- yeah ill be honest if i was rich i would totally have all my carabiners jewel encrusted like snoop dogs pimp cup! 24K gold biners look badass, i dont give a shit it breaks with less than ten pounds of force cause my shit is blingin!

the "tool biner" -has anyone ever called you a tool? have you ever been told that you are such a tool that you are in fact an entire shed full of said tools.... thus a "tool shed"? if so... here's your badge, wear it proudly!

the "swiss army" biner ~ i dont know...maybe? it does have a bottle opener on the bottom... and i could probably stab you with that knife without killing you should i drop it from above while attempting to cut of the 6 layers of rap slings that are preventing me from clipping into the anchor bolts.... and there's probably a point to that screwdriver...

the "jack shepard" biner ~ GET IT?! your freaking LOST....OOooo! too bad the compass couldnt find north at the south pole! but it'll let you know if theres spare change in you pocket. plus that watch battery flashlight will give you plenty of comfort, until you turn it on and walk for five minutes. im sorry but i have to go back to the compass. who still knows how to use a compass? i use gps to get around a city... with signs!!

"celebration" biner~ im not gonna spark a dooby with ya tommy chong... but i will take one of those pimpin cigars if ya got one. plus... as an added bonus if i drop the thing i get to play everyones favorite game... "where the crap did my expensive trinket go?" really? why is it cammo? will the deer not see me while i smoke a cigar hiding behind my lighter? i must be down wind.

"not for climbing" biner~ i love these... looks like a biner, and these days its the same size as a biner.... i guess we should take a whip to test it. and i have! here's a fun day with your friends! ever wonder what it would be like if a biner failed on ya? i did! so did my friend kelly! so he and i first got all the lead gear together, check. next hang a full length runner with full strength biners on your bolt (preferably above decking height)..., check. next, rig up a quick draw with your key chain and hang it on the same bolt, chee-yek!

then, lead past your bolt first clipping the runner, followed by the draw and ..... let go!... seriously... let go, ..come on sissy. dont be scerd!

Saturday, December 11, 2010

club dreher!

"HI! im josh!, it's my turn to get my very own treadwall Project post.... so what to talk about? i guess i could tell you that i dont like to be interrupted whiled in mid-meal! i also, like you, love the rock climbing and recently rediscovered my balls... thus i have made my triumphant return to the trad climbing! did i mention i sent the egg? no? ...oh yeah i sent the egg..."

"...and ...i love ladies! cause im a maaaddddd, pimp of love!"

"but i guess since this is a site dedicated to the projects, ill let alex tell you all about the sick wall he built for me. i mean he helped me to build, look... i designed it! im the engineer! i make schematics!"

.....ohhh-kay? ...thanks josh for that odd intro. but like you said we should get down to telling people about that project.
in all honesty this went down a while ago, i actually took time out from building my stuff to help josh make this miracle of science. he was kind enough to look over my shed drawings and in the same visit gave me a look at his design for a new bouldering wall. in truth, when i saw the computer generated design (yes..he did it on a computer... nerd) it looked like hardly more than a bunch of lines to me. but he was so very excited about it that all i could say was... "yeah man! that looks sick! let's build it... what does the wife think?" (note: he aint married but she knows who the boss is in that bis-natch)
he then explained the design to me. turns out the wall would not be nailed or framed to the garage... it was gonna be suspended by cables... i instantly distrusted this idea, but it's not my house so, F-it!, ill watch a wall fall down on josh. cause what are friends for?!
step one to building a bouldering wall, for any engineer is... get a couple of dummies to do all the work. enter myself and J-rod! ...stage left.
step two for the overly engineered super over hanging boulder wall, built into a rented property where your only allowed to have four anchor points to the entire building is... get a big beam. cut it to exactly the width of your rented garage and using a concrete drill blast some holes into the foundation. then using angle brackets, bolt the sucker down, like soo....
(oh and if you look back at the dummies pic above you can see it already in behind us on the ground)
this will serve as a stop brace for the bottom of the wall to lever against as it is suspended from above... again im skeptical yet optimistic! and let's not forget i have no deposit so "F%#@ -it! Doc drill!"
next we framed up a 12x8ft wall. there was a couple of errors made in angling the ends. it need bevels so the wall could sit flush to the footer beam and have an addition head wall added but... come on?! it's not like we had an "ENGINEER" on this project.
ill also suggest that before you put the plywood to the frame, stack it up and drill all your t-nut holes at the same time. we used the chalk line method to plot the 6" spacing we wanted. if you start 3" off the edge it works out. given that you dont drill the holes the same exact size as the t-nuts your gonna put in. in that "unlikely" event you may need to, at some later time, go back and drill slightly bigger holes so the t-nuts fit, but im rambling...
step four: drill a couple of holes into that burly ass glue-lam in the ceiling. then put a huge eye bolt in there and crank it down. then you swag a couple of cable into the eye bolts like so...
YES! those cables are going to be used to suspend the wall, tah-dah!...
lift it up, clip it in... and.. and... "...go stand under it."
"...uh, no dude!",
"...dude it's safe",
"...then you do it!" ...eventually josh did this, with only one cable attached!
to all of our amazement it held. then he hopped and we all cringed a bit. (is it just me or can you still see the edge of terror in his eyes?!) a few minutes later it leveled out and got way cooler as we added the second cable, balanced out the lengths and the set it back against the footer beam.
to finish it up we added an additional four foot head wall. the bottom of it is attached to the main wall and the top has two more cables running back to the same two eye bolts.
again we all dared each other to test it out. gingerly, like little girls dipping our toe in the pool we took turns pulling down on it. it was so basic, it shouldnt have worked. but it was solid, the weight of the wall itself keeps it from bouncing. and the lack of excess framing makes it practical to hang! the only thing left was to set the problems and start to crush!

if you need any extra specifics to build this monster yourself ... get yourself an engi-ma-neer type!

Friday, December 10, 2010

The Fab Five

every one seems to keep asking me for new posts.... i cant eat, i cant sleep, i cant go to work, i cant even go out and climb with out people wanting more!!! ...okay never mind thats a total lie. i am a huge liar. but i did have a couple inquiries as to why i havent been posting. well, mainly im waiting to get a new camera. i seem to have geniusly left mine at the base of the snow creek wall. um, ...it was in a black case if anyone found it and their conscious wont let them keep swag. no? figures... anywho, i lost my camera so no sweet new training pics and videos. lets all hope santa craps a new camera down my chimney, ...'kay?!

but since you all keep checking things out i guess ill spew a little more opinion at ya. i've reviewed or more accurately pimped other gear before but i thought i might go over other stuff. namely the five key parts of any climbing system... harness, rope, belay, protection, partners!

first off, harness! find one that fits, find one that centers on your body, dual belt adjustments are awesome for this. theres nothing that frustrated me more than have gear loops uneven around my waist. speaking of gear loops! love em! but avoid the cheap harness that has plastic sewn directly to the harness. they often can tear off significantly easier than web and webbing reinforced loops. how sad will you be when you snag and tear off a gear loop mid-fall and watch your gear plummet into the ether! also look for comfort especially if you have any chance of sitting at a belay! heres my pick. the Misty Mountain Cadillac. featuring sweet padding (ive done many all day climbs and even a big wall in it), seven gear loops (great for organizing gear and keeping things out of the way), & dual buckles (duh...explained it). this is my go to trad harness!

so for sport and gym climbing i get any reasonable light weight harness available by either petzl or black diamond. my harness get retired regularly... if you have to ask when or why i do this, well look up todd skinner. start learning more about just how dangerous our sport is as opposed to listening to your local gym employee who started climbing 10 weeks ago!

moving on! ropes! ropes are a complex buy. every year i get a gear guide and check into what up with the companies. the new trend is to get smaller and smaller with our rope. but maybe not a good idea if your not sponsored. everyone want that ultra light rope for that sick hard send.... but is it really gonna make a difference? or are you buying a tiny rope you are gonna have a hard time retiring because it cost the same as a burlier rope? well i resisted but eventually got a sort to try out in the gym. the blue water "lightning PRO", 9.7mm, turned out to be a damn good rope... but you gotta be care with your belay on these shoe strings. i did blow the sheath out pretty quick on lead falls but i could buy another for red points.

but mostly ill endorse getting yourself a solid 10.2 rope. see i almost always have a 70m rope and when you get out that far you tend to start weaving around edges and things, and a little more burl helps me sleep at night. plus... the rope can last a good solid season of multipitch and projecting thrashing and still be in good shape for me to cut into three pieces for the winter gym season. where i promptly whip on it 'till the core come out to wave the white flag of surrender! the Beal Flyer II has now been bought three times by me for price and competitive features so i feel good endorsing it!

so belay is a skill that continues to develop way beyond that first class you took at the gym. back when i was working at one of these burger kings of the vertical world i offered a class on advanced belay techniques. some gumby actually approached me to say "what was the point... i took the belay class." i offer back, "your an idiot! stop breathin up all the smart mans air!!" ...well i want to but, in actuality i educated senor dumbass on how limited his view of climbing systems was... he still didnt take the class... weird?

in another blog i endorsed the gri-gri and the new sport gri-gri, but if you dont know this device your... to be honest, how did you spend that much time under that rock?! as far as belay devices go i suggest you get the ATC its the best tube device and has a great record. if you want more flash, even i... that guy who loves for purity of function, can endorse the ACT Guide. i had to get one for rappelling with a back full of gear. plus it feeds as well as a basic ATC and you can autoblock with it. if you dont know how to autoblock ...get some one to teach you on the ground! dont learn online. dont learn on route. dont learn from a book with crappy pictures!

also in regards to belaying... the best belay biner ever... the Petzl Attache... symmetrical, confident, locking, strong, key lock design... it is my gold standard for belay biners... if they even quit making it like this i will cry as i look for something as good...

moving on to pro. i mentioned key lock design. below is a black diamond locking biner. i use these for all my anchor set-ups. theres nothing more frustrating than trying to leave a belay than getting a biner hung up on a bolt. but thats up to you. but i will encourage you to create a system. have a set way of doing things. that way you arent improvising set-ups every time. thats how you eventually make an anchor that fails!

as far as actual pro goes i am a big fan of everything black diamond. yvon chouinard create an excellent company for the climbing world. when ever my friends discuss gear sizes or crack sizes it's done in reference to the BD scale. the C4's and C3's are the back bone of any good rack. their nuts are okay... in general i think all nuts are created nearly equal. DMM made a set that is out of production that i highly prize, but any set of ten should do ya. i will point out that DMM also makes (as pictured above) the best small offset nuts ive ever used! the peanuts should find themselves on your harness if your a fan of the hard crack climbing! ...other things i like the smaller TCU cams yellow and down, Aliens red to black, smallest tricams for that old school charm, and if your itching to add to my collection the mid range of the big bros!

last but not least choose your partners carefully... pick people who have fun climbing and care about be fast, safe, and fun. not just fun. i reminded a lot of my students that being fast means being efficient. and climbing efficiently can mean the difference between climbing a route or twenty at the crag. it can mean walking out in the dark or enjoying the sunset making dinner with a beer in your hand. it can also mean death if you have to beat the elements. so choose safety! then look for the guy in that crowd that you have fun with!

i dont know what it is... but i like these guys!

but if you dont want a partner this is your friend. welcome to the world of TR soloing, ive seen multiple setups but make sure you back up your system. either rock to devices.... or my preferred method have a second line to lock into every ten feet. but this petzl microcender girth hitched with a dynema sling tripled over directly to your belay loop will keep you climbing with or without a partner!

i almost forgot... i didnt put up any links to where you can buy this gear because... look around the companies all compete for giving you the best price.