by Mark Anderson
Piggybacking on last week’s post about designing a home wall, here is a quick virtual tour of the Lazy H Climbing Barn. Note that I didn’t go through any logical process when designing it, I just eye-balled everything, and I paid for my impatience with a wall that was too steep. Six months in I was compelled to tear it down and re-build it. Other than that, I’m pretty much happy with it (see more below).
The floor dimensions of the Lazy H are roughly 12-feet by 24-feet, (with the 24-foot-long walls running roughly east-west). The south exterior wall is 12-feet high, and the north exterior wall is 8-feet high, with a slanted roof spanning those walls (with no interior bracing aside from the joists that support the climbing surfaces). The barn was built decades ago to match the contour of the sloping hillside. There isn’t a square angle in the place, and if I were doing it again I would tear the entire rat trap down and start over! It was used as an actual barn until I moved in. At that point the roof was full of holes and there was literally a mountain of horse manure on the floorless ground. Every flat surface was covered in rodent feces. I spent the first several days just shoveling shit and wheeling it outside. So many memories 🙂
The climbing surfaces are as follows:
- Both the east and west walls are a single vertical plane. I estimate I have about 280 square feet of vertical terrain total, but about 100 sq ft of that is basically useless.
- The eastern-most two-thirds of the south wall is composed of a single plane, 16-feet wide, running floor to ceiling, overhanging 8 degrees.
- West of this panel is the door, which is 4-feet wide, about 6-feet tall, with a campus board above it (at a 15-degree angle).
- West of the door is a vertical panel, 4-feet wide and 11-feet, 10-inches tall.
- The North wall has a 4-feet-by-8-feet vertical panel at it’s west end. This is to allow access to storage space behind the rest of the north wall, but basically serves no other purpose (although it does allow the vertical West Wall to be a bit wider). If I were doing it over I would extend the central, overhanging section of the North Wall to cover this space.
- Next to that is the money wall, a 12-feet wide by 10.5-feet tall plane overhanging 35-degrees. I use this wall far more than any other surface. This wall has a 12-inch vertical kick plate at its base, then runs for 10.5-feet in the 35-degree overhang direction. From the floor to the top of the 35-degree overhang is 10-feet in the vertical direction. Some of the problems on this wall continue onto the ceiling section for up to four more feet of travel, but these moves are usually fairly trivial relative to the rest of the problem.
- The eastern-most section of the north wall is an 8-foot wide roof system. It begins with a two-feet tall vertical kick plate, then the “roof” (overhanging 65-degrees) runs out for a distance of 64 inches. Finally a headwall panel runs up from the lip of the roof for 72 inches at a 17.5-degree angle.
- The ceiling varies in depth based on where the walls join (from 3-feet at the east end, to 4-feet in the center, to ~13.5’ on the west), but it runs at a consistent 72.5-degree-overhanging angle. I don’t use it for anything except to support a few finishing jugs (all used by problems on the 35-degree wall) and to link between the North and South Walls while ARCing or warming up.
Things I like about the Lazy H:
- Tons of terrain. Really, more than I need. I could get by just fine with only the 35-degree wall and the 8-degree wall.
- I love the 35-degree wall. The only thing I would do different is make it bigger 🙂
- There is enough variety that I can train for pretty much any angle, within a few degrees. Still, I rarely stray from the 35-degree wall, and I find that for my goals, training on that wall seems to carry over fairly well to other angles.
- The 8-degree wall is great for ARCing. That said, I don’t ARC much anymore, and if space were limited I would build much less ARC terrain and trek to a gym when I wanted to ARC.
- It’s small enough that I can control the temperature pretty well between the windows/door, a box fan, and one space heater. Note all the walls and ceiling are insulated with ~R-13 fiberglass.
- I built the floor to be “soft”. The floor joists are 12-feet long 2x4s with no other bracing, which is way under-designed. You can bounce up and down on it, and I think this will spare me some degree of arthritis later in life.
Things I dislike:
- I wish the floor plan were “deeper” than 12-feet (so there was more space between the north and south walls). I will occasionally swing into south wall when sticking big finishing moves on the north wall. And it’s pretty tough for more than one person to climb in there at a time.
- I wish it were closer to the house (it’s about 120’ from the house, add another 30’ to get to the nearest door). Getting out there once is no problem, but I often need to run back to the house for various reasons, and that is a pain when the weather is bad.
- Heat can be a problem, especially in the summer. My ideal training temperature (inside the barn) is 45 degrees F. I wish I had a wall of deciduous trees to the south, so the barn would be shaded in the summer.
- I wish it were square!
All told, I feel extremely fortunate to have such a fantastic training area. When I began building it, I had doubts that I would enjoy it enough to continue using it. Seven years later, I couldn’t imagine training anywhere else. It has easily paid for itself (in terms of money saved on gym memberships and gas) and its a huge hit with my kids and their friends. I seriously doubt I would be the climber I am today without the companionship of the trusty Lazy H.
For some brief footage of the Lazy H in action, check out this video.