I'm building a climbing wall in my basement and am currently working on the design of the angled portion. The idea is to have an 8' x 8' section (i.e. two 4' x 8' plywood sheets) at about a 30 degree angle using 2x6s. Since the 2x10 ceiling joists are 92" from the floor, I'll have a few inches of vertical section underneath the angled section.

Metolius has a very detailed instruction (How to Build a Home Bouldering Wall) that suggests attaching sleepers to the ceiling joists if they're parallel to the wall like mine are, adding a header joist, and then attaching the wall joists to the header with joist hangers:

Metolius sleepers

Metolius hangers

Question: Can't I just attach the wall joists to the sleepers? Seems like the joist hangers are only needed because of the header joist, which seems redundant to me.

Similarly, I have yet to frame the wall behind the angled section, so I can space the studs such that I won't need the bottom header joist, either (and can screw in the wall joists to the studs). Will this suffice, too?


1 Answer 1


You can attach the joists (studs) directly to the sleepers. The point of using a top plate (not actually a header) in the design you shared is probably to...

  1. Reduce the number of sleepers required
  2. Distribute load more effectively
  3. Provide top edge backing for the wall sheathing

Regarding your second question, you could probably screw the angled studs directly to the vertical studs, but you'd lose any load-bearing benefit from joist hangers, and you'd lose the load-distributing quality in the horizontal ledger/plate. You also eliminate the possibility of putting drywall or sheathing behind your climbing wall without dealing with all those framing penetrations.

  • 1
    (Apologies for my incorrect terminology.) Ah, those three points make sense -- the single 2x6 top plate plus a few hangers seems more elegant than seven 2x4 sleepers plus a blocking nailer. Second question: seems like their method makes more sense then, plus that decouples the spacing of the vertical wall studs from the angled wall studs. Aug 19, 2020 at 16:31

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