A few months ago Linda and I decided we wanted to start actually training for climbing. In the past, when we had a climbing trip approaching we would just try to climb more to get into shape.
A friend of ours, User, Monomaniac, and his twin brother Mike had developed a training program several years ago and had had great success using it. Mono since I've known him had progressed from a 5.13- climber to 5.14, while Mike I guess started in the 5.12 range and has successfully sent 5.14-.
Anyway, the training has been going pretty well and we are currently camp using to work on maximum muscle recruitment. Mono was coming to town for a 2 week class and he is in the same phase, we both recognize that the campus board at the climbing gym, great as it is, does not work really well for very focused training. So I decided to make one. You can buy the rungs for about $35 for a set of 5 and we needed 15. The rungs that you buy are 16" wide which is narrower than shoulder width and I've always wanted wider so I decided to make a set instead.
I spent about $30 on some 1.5" by 3/4" oak from Home Depot and cut it sown into 2' sticks which is wide enough to use both hands on comfortably. Then I put a 1/4" round over on the 2 front facing edges (in hindsight I think a 5/16", or even 3/8", round over would be better, but I had the 1/4" bit) and used a raised panel bit to put the incur on one edge. Both were done on a small router table. Again, in hind sight it would have been better to do the routing on the full length sticks then cut them down to 2' sections. Here is a shaped rung, the most time consuming part is sanding everything smooth.
All 15 rungs lined up and marked for drilling. I used an edge of a cardboard box to make a jig for making the locations of the screw holes.
I added a 1/2" countersink to put washers in and so that the screw heads would not hit your hands.
I managed to find a pretty nice piece of 1/2" plywood in the garage that I used for mounting the rungs. Behind the 1/2" is another piece of 3/4" ply so that you can't pull the screws out of the wood.
The final product mounted at Chris' house in the climbing room. We pad the doors to make sure we don't kick in the glass. Eventually I will make it a little longer and mount it at climbing gym with all 15 rungs, right now there was only room for 13 with the standard 4" spacing.
For reference, the spacing between matching rungs at the gym is 14.5" which is what makes it difficult to train on. You will be able to do one sequence on the board and the next will be impossible because it is so much further.
So far I think the board is pretty nice, though the rungs are a little more positive than the ones Metolius makes, or at least a bit easier to hold (this is the reason for thinking a bigger round over would help). It is really intimidating going for the last rung since if you over shoot it more than just a little you can catch your fingernails on the upper edge of the plywood, which could be ugly. 13 rungs is definitely not enough, 15 should be a starting point and people with really long arms would want 20 or more.