It was bound to happen. I’ve backpacked and scrambled around in the mountains for hundreds of rugged miles in Chaco sandals. This time, hefting a 65 pound pack and carelessly moving down a loose downhill stretch of dusty trail, it all caught up with me. I was in the Ruby Mountains, NV when it happened and like a wooden pencil in the hands of an angry school teacher my 5th metatarsal snapped in three pieces when I rolled my ankle during an unfortunate stumble.

After a week of crutches rubbing my armpits raw and not being able to carry anything without donning a fanny pack, I picked up an iWalk 2.0 knee crutch. From day-one it was easy to get used to and I quickly had enough balance to be able to dodge pirate jokes that were, as-expected, flying at me from all directions.

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The broken foot has me missing all of my outdoor hobbies something fierce, so I strapped on the peg leg and made a short video of myself climbing the home wall. I am looking forward to rehabbing my post-surgery foot on the wall this winter. Until then, “Cheers!”

You can check out the iWalk 2.0 on Amazon by clicking here.


Not trying to get too Ninja Warrior or CrossFit here, but a good old rope climb equals some intense exercise and fun in the home climbing gym when your finger tips have been demolished by the plastic. Our home climbing wall ceiling has a 15 foot peak, probably about the minimum for installing one of these, although kids would enjoy any size. I started shopping around online for gym ropes and “fast” ropes and was immediately surprised at the prices: This one for example: 

Crossfit Gym Rope

I found a post on that showed a simple way to make a fatty gym rope out of a used climbing rope. A few quick inquiries to climbing friends landed a used 60 meter rope in my possession, free of charge. The video above details the steps for those interested in adding one to their home climbing gym. If your climbing area is vertically challenged this would be equally fun in a big tree, just beware that some, especially kids, will expend all of their energy going up and not save anything for the descent or they’ll get scared and freeze at the top, which could lead to dangerous falls. 

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My kids and their friends like climbing and swinging on the rope so much that the climbing wall is not getting as much use as it once was. I’m sure the newness of the rope addition will wear off and things will equalize. The good news is they are pushing themselves and getting stronger. If you make one of these be sure your ceiling structure is strong enough to support it. Spread the load out across as many trusses as you can. 

Synrock Climbing Hold Review

December 12, 2015 — 7 Comments

Synrock Climbing Hold Review 9Jim B., owner of Synrock climbing holds, is not shy about his claim of climbing hold material superiority. A prominent section of the Synrock website is dedicated to blasting plastic holds, the dominant material used in the industry today–polyurethane usually. Whether you agree with him or not, his conviction is notable and it does translate into quality products. Continue Reading…


How to Make Two Climbing Holds on the Cheap

I recently saw in the background of someone’s home climbing wall photo a bowling ball mounted to the wall. A trip to the thrift store and four dollars later, I was ready to start cutting. Check out the video to see the construction detail and to find out how I sawed through the thing.

Some Bowling Ball Climbing Holds Afterthoughts

climbinb After Climbing Magazine featured this video here, I quickly learned that half the viewers loved this idea and half thought that someone might break their fingers off in the holes. In practical use I haven’t seen anyone putting more than their fingers up to the first knuckle, but it could happen, so I’d advise after mounting this on the wall to shallow up the holes with some balls of tape, or other foreign objects. Or completely restrict the holes from being used, add texture, and just use them as nasty slopers.

I have also purchased a second ball for $6 that I am going to be sawing into different shapes. I think I can get about 50 foot chips out of this much material.

If you try something out like this please share below in the comments!

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Practical Climbing Chalk Bucket Front

Practical Climbing Chalk Bucket Giveaway

Nothing dries sweaty hands better than a free chalk bucket (shown above). I have a similar model, which you can read about in this product review, and let me tell you: You definitely want this. I love mine.

Read on to find out how to win.

Continue Reading…

practical climbing chalk bucket close-up

Note: Somebody is getting a free Practical Chalk Bucket later this month. It could be you. Details coming soon.

Searching For The Perfect Chalk Bucket

Having only seen chalk bags previously, the first time I ever saw a chalk bucket at a climbing gym, I have to admit I thought I was on the set of Honey I Shrunk the Kids. That was years ago and there were no similar surprises when I received a Crosshatch Chalk Bucket from Practical Climbing last week. I was already expecting one of the best chalk buckets available after polling a couple of online forums and having many climbers point me in their direction (Organic, Voodoo, and Dirtbag were also noteworthy contenders). Continue Reading…

DIY CrossFit Jump BoxBuild a CrossFit plyometric jump box and you are either going to have legit piece of garage-style fitness equipment, or you will have a killer place to sit down in between sending (or trying to send) difficult problems at the home climbing wall. At our wall there is a lot of standing around looking dazed during the lull between climbing attempts–something I am hoping to change.  Continue Reading…

home climbing wall volume

Nine times out of ten if someone asks how they can make their home climbing wall better the answer is “volumes.” The other one time out of ten is “steeper,” but we’ll cover that later. Just this past weekend I completed my third home climbing wall and after the first steep section was up I immediately realized that a lot of my favorite holds that performed great at 0-30 degree angles, now at 40-60 degree angles had similar grip potential to that wet watermelon seed you were trying to pick up off the floor at grandma’s house. Continue Reading…

It took Brent Barghahn’s easy to follow video tutorial on making climbing holds to get me to put down my climbing-wall hammer and post for the first time in too many months. I’ve been intensely focused on building first a large shed and then a sizable home climbing wall inside it. The project is about 5% shy of completion at which point I’ll have loads of new climbing wall build content to post, but first I have to take a break to share this great video.

It isn’t that Brent is sharing something new or secret in this ten minute video, most of the content can be found on any of several other websites, it is how simple he makes it all seem and with intoxicating enthusiasm. After my third time watching it I blacked out and came to at a craft store holding several blocks of floral foam and smelling strongly of home decor and potpourri. My first hold is already carved and ready for casting.

Of course there are many ways to make your own climbing holds and debating methods and materials is a hobby for some in itself, but what Brent has created is a solid starting point towards making respectable climbing holds with materials that are easily obtained. Thanks for sharing Brent.

Note: In the YouTube video’s comments is it suggested that only Type I silicone and not Type II will set up properly. The soap must also supposedly contain glycerine for it to work. Dawn Ultra Blue is suggested in the same comments. Good luck!

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home climbing wall buildDead-center in Canada’s BC province (half-way to Alaska for lower 48ers) Greg Stokes, home climbing wall builder, climber, and all-around adventurist, has built a home rock climbing wall worth driving half-way to Alaska to see—and you can bet he’d be happy to have you. Continue Reading…