Is 40 Degrees Still The Default Choice?


In the wake of the Covid-19 global pandemic and the resulting lockdowns and travel restrictions, many climbers have taken the opportunity to migrate their climbing and training into their homes and gardens. While the possibility of having your very own climbing wall at home is a dream-come-true for all climbers, there remain a number of key decisions that need to made before beginning the tedious journey of designing your own wall, or opting for the much simpler solution of purchasing your own kit wall from Interface Climbing. Here, we’re going to be discussing one of the most fundamental questions you might be asking yourself; what angle of wall should I go for?

What not to get:

Some angles are pretty easy to discount, so let’s start with what you should avoid. Firstly, vertical and slab walls are pretty inefficient with their use of space, being significantly limited in their climbing area by the vertical height of the room they’re situated in. Also being a very niche angle, slabs can help train for technique, but make it extremely difficult to be used for any strength or power training and for a home wall, where space is often lacking, versatility is key.

Similarly, 45 degrees and steeper overhangs offer little variety and even more challenges regarding the physical space that they require. While a 50-degree wall, will offer more climbing surface for the same vertical height as a 40-degree wall, the depth of the 50-degree wall will also be significantly greater, making it almost impossible to fit this angle into a lot of homes. We think a good balance are walls that have either a gentle overhang of around 25 degrees or a slightly steeper 40 degrees for those wanting to be a little more hardcore. In our experience, these angles offer the greatest versatility for the space they occupy in your home.

climbing wall pictured at end of garden in summer house with climber on a circuit problemThe All-Rounder:

Great, so now we know what angles to consider, what are the benefits of both and which should you opt-for? To begin with, let’s talk about why a 25-degree wall might be the answer to your needs.

At 25 degrees, you can expect a softer overhang that will still pose a challenge to any climber if outfitted with the correct holds. Traditionally, sport and trad climbers mainly use this angle of wall more for climbing laps and training fitness/endurance in preparation for expeditions outside, however, it’s still easily possible to train power and strength. Typically, the slightly less steep angle means that climbers are able to apply more weight through their feet, to focus more on technique and footwork than downright pulling hard, allowing for more resting and longer link-ups. Hence the specialisation for endurance training.

Nonetheless, for boulderers, the increased ease of weighting your feet, does allow for training more powerful and larger moves, on worse holds than you would be able to than on a 40-degree wall. This will allow you to recruit at nearer your physical limit and improve technique at your top end. You can also drastically increase the intensity by using poorer footholds and forcing yourself to pull harder or improve your footwork. Furthermore, this is a common angle for competition walls, so if you’re a comp climber, you’ll be able to set yourself some co-ordination moves with the right holds.

Next, if you’re just looking to climb for fun, sharing your wall/home with some less experienced climbers or kids; this shallower overhang and some good holds will be much more accessible to them than even some better holds at a steeper angle. Finally, a gentler overhang will have a smaller overall footprint than steeper walls, making it a more suitable option for homes where space is a limiting factor. The smaller footprint also means less material and a slight cost-saving over a 40-degree wall.

Reading this, 25 degrees might seem like the best all-round option, offering: an unintimidating face for all climbers, the ability to train for both endurance and power, as well as allowing for plenty of progression as you get even stronger. While this is fundamentally the case, it’s not the full picture and there may be some reasons for you to consider a 40-degree wall instead.

To begin with, since the angle on a 25-degree wall is shallower, you are restricted to a slightly smaller climbing area than you would otherwise be at 40 degrees, within the same vertical constraints. While for endurance and casual climbers, this isn’t a great issue as you can always traverse and downclimb to reach your target move set and have fun; for power training and boulderers, it can be limiting. Restricting you to roughly 3 hard moves before reaching the top, while you might be able to fit in an extra move on a steeper wall. Secondly, as we’re about to discuss further, a steeper angle will offer a much greater physical challenge and for those looking for the absolute most training gains, they may come quicker and more easily on a 40-degree wall.

The angle for power:

As we’ve already hinted, a 40-degree wall may be the solution for you if you consider yourself more of a hardcore climber or if you have slightly more room in your home to fit your climbing gym. Thanks to being at a steeper angle from the vertical, a 40-degree wall with a vertical height measured so-as to fit in a standard UK home, will have a 20% longer climbing surface when compared to a similar height 25-degree wall. In practice this is approximately 50cm and means an extra move or two, which can go a long way into making your home wall feel more like a real climbing wall, rather than just a home training tool.

This angle will also result in a greatly higher intensity for your climbing drills and when it comes to training, especially for power and strength, intensity means overload and overload means progression. This is the reason 40- and 45-degree walls are the default choice for boulderers looking to train short bursts of limit strength.

This also makes things more difficult for climbers looking to train endurance, whether or not this is a pro or a con is subjective and dependant on your specific goals and ability, but it’s worth bearing in mind. Additionally, as the entire entry skill requirements are elevated at this angle, casual climbers and those who you may want to share your wall with such as housemates, partners and children, may struggle more than they would on a less overhanging wall.


In summary, a shallower angle of around 25 degrees will be the best solution for most casual climbers while a 40-degree wall will be more favourable for the most dedicated and ambitious climbers. The lesser angle will also offer a surprising amount of range for sport and boulderers, as well as requiring a relatively friendly entry skill level, extending out to being a useful tool for even the strongest climbers in some situations.

This is while a 40 board requires at least some prior climbing experience for all users, while also being an excellent training tool for climbers looking for something extra. Lastly, both walls will offer a good compromise for space vs climbing area, although a 25 board will have a smaller footprint and a 40-degree wall will require more room, but will also utilise a larger panel for climbing on.

To conclude, the best angle for your home wall is subjective to your personal circumstances, based on: what you’re wanting to train/get out of it, who you’re hoping to use it with and where you’re planning to put it. Your hold set will also make a big difference in what you’re able to do with the angle you select, footholds being particularly critical. There’s a lot to consider when choosing your incline, though hopefully this article has helped outline the main things you should be considering.

If you’re planning on setting up a climbing wall in your home or garden, you should consider checking out one of our flat-pack, DIY climbing walls at where we take the hassle out of getting you climbing at home.