I'm building a freestanding climbing wall and have a few questions.

My design is two triangle frames built from 2x6 (green) with plywood panels (red) attached to the frame with 2x4 studs on the back (blue). The climbing wall is 40 degrees overhanging. enter image description here

My main concern with the design is that all of the weight of the panels (~300lb) and climber (up to 200lb) goes onto the triangle frames, so they must be built absolutely solid. The small vertical panel at the bottom is not directly supporting any of the weight.


  1. Does this design look structurally sound, or are there any obvious things you would change?
  2. The support legs will be mitered on the top, to attach to the angled frame. What is the best way to join the legs to the frame? Would pocket screws be sufficient? enter image description here

Thank you and appreciate any advice.

  • 3
    This question may be better served over at the DIY home improvement stack
    – Alaska Man
    Dec 26, 2020 at 22:54
  • 2
    FWIW I would not build this as drawn, unless it would be OK to use metal fastening plates (and possibly other reinforcements) at every key juncture. If I were building this for my own use I would overbuild the heck out of it for safety :-)
    – Graphus
    Dec 27, 2020 at 1:13
  • I can use metal fastening plates. I’m not beholden to any design. I just want to know how to make it as strong as possible.
    – prav
    Dec 27, 2020 at 1:30
  • 3
    What you have drawn is inadequate for your intended use. It is a bit out of scope on this site to provide fabrication drawings for your project. You might want to research how houses are framed using western framing techniques, since this project will experience significant loads including lateral loading beyond what a house would encounter. Once you have an idea how to actually frame this you could provide a sketch using those principals for further comments.
    – Ashlar
    Dec 27, 2020 at 2:04
  • 1
    Your question is probably off-topic here. Anyway, I some of the major problems in your current design: 1/ there is no real triangle in it. If you push horizontally, the whole structure will swivel, only the fasteners will try to hold it. 2/ All of your pieces of wood have the wrong orientation. See an example of how it's supposed to be Dec 27, 2020 at 9:35

1 Answer 1


I haven't done any calculations but I would expect that the timber sizes you've selected will be fine for this application, as long as you use thick enough ply (definitely at least half-inch - if it were me I'd probably go for 3/4"). I believe a standard house-framing 2x4 can support 30,000lbs+ if it's loaded vertically. If something goes awry and it experiences lateral loading it will be much less.

As for the framing configuration, I would add more diagonal bracing, including some out to the sides of the longest uprights to brace against lateral loading. If possible I would tie the whole structure together with a base-plate (2x4 or 2x6) on the floor running laterally from base to base of your tallest uprights. Pocket screws etc, may be sufficient but I would suggest that using metal joist/truss plates (like those used when building roof trusses etc.) at the joints will make things more durable and reliable.

For a rough idea of what I'd do, see this image:

enter image description here

  • 3
    The cross bracing could be inside the supports instead of outriggers on the outside.
    – Alaska Man
    Dec 27, 2020 at 4:46
  • 1
    Thank you, that is a helpful answer. The cross bracing makes sense.
    – prav
    Dec 27, 2020 at 21:38
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    Agree about the cross bracing and tying the two walls at the base, but it looks like the ply butts into the dimensional lumber. This is just plain weak. Lap the plywood over the lumber and screw the heck out of it. My gut is that you don't need all those blue 2x4s either. (This is at least 3/4" ply, right?) Dec 30, 2020 at 19:00
  • 1
    @AlaskaMan - If the cross-bracing is on the inside and someone climbs near the edge, it's possible for the whole thing to tip over sideways. It would take some tricky maneuvers to manage it, but using outriggers pretty much guarantees safety. "It's hard to make things foolproof. Fools can be so darn clever." Jan 4, 2021 at 1:44

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