For those of us who squat from one housing situation to the next or in dwellings that are not our own, drilling holes to attach our epic training boards over doorframes doesn’t exactly present itself as an advisable action. The
… but it’s for my finger strength training!
argument fails to register with normal people, and you may as well have just told your landlord you’re also cooking meth in the kitchen. But fear not, training-hungry climber—there’s a solution that allows you to strengthen yours fingers without damaging your home.
The company Blank Slate Climbing produces climbing holds and hangboards, but more notably, customizable training boards that easily prop on and off your doorframe—without requiring any drilling or wall mounting. You can either drill in your own holds and hangboard, or use Blank Slate’s, which are made to fit perfectly on the board.
As some of you may have guessed, our team loves climbing to an ungodly degree—but due to life obligations (e.g. starting a company), we don’t always find ourselves on month-long epics in the alpine … Plus, one of us lives in a van, and the rest of us rent (tiny) spaces, meaning we unfortunately don’t have the luxury of building the training den of our dreams … just yet. Nevertheless, we still want to climb well, so having a convenient way to train is key for us.
Our co-founder, Sander (the dude who writes you the weekly email), has owned a Blank Slate board for about 2 years now. He says,
I found it to be especially valuable throughout my college years, because I was moving to different apartments every year and didn’t want to drill holes in the wall. It’s also a great time-saver when I can’t make it to the gym.
After a few recent chats with Blank Slate owner, Mitch, the rest of our team was given an opportunity to test these no-drilling-needed training boards out for ourselves. So on a breezy Sunday in San Luis Obispo, five of us met up at the bouldering gym to get crafty and build ourselves some boards.
The Training Boards include everything you need for assembly. We received a Classic Blank Slate Training Board and one Blank Slate Slim Training Board to build and test. We also had the opportunity to try Blank Slate holds, and both a Kraken and Peacemaker Hangboard (which are sold separately).
Holding nice, clean plastic, kind of made us feel like kids in a candy shop …
Then came time to actually build.
We separated out all of the goods in the box, and split into teams of two to see who could build their board first … because naturally we needed some competition in lieu of Settlers of Catan that day.
In an effort to reduce paper in their packaging, Blank Slate does not include instructions. Instead, you must access the Owner’s Manual on their website for directions. So, we did …
While the instructions are easy to follow, it did take us a little bit to figure out the proper configuration across the different boards. The Slim Board was not individually detailed on their website, but the key here seems to be taking your time and accounting for all of the parts more closely. Eventually, we did it the right way …
While you can assemble your board with the included hex tool, power tools make everything a bit more fun. Consider using a power drill to provide additional security to the strength and stability of your training board, and to feel the strange satisfaction of a power tool in your hands. Either way, once you get all components in the right place, assembly shouldn’t take more than 20 minutes. From unboxing to hanging, it took us just over an hour.
Then comes the fun part. You get to play some choose-your-own-adventure with the Blank Slate Training Board. Grab the holds and hangboard that suit your training needs best, and assemble them onto your board. Again, no power tools are necessary … but it does add an element of fun.
As for the quality of the holds and hangboards, we were all impressed by the texture and grip of the holds, and appreciated some of the unique shapes. We substantially favored the Kraken Hangboard over the Peacemaker, as it offered a better variety of pinches, slopers, and crimps, whereas the edges on the Peacemaker felt somewhat redundant.
Note: You are not required to use Blank Slate’s holds or hangboards; however, if you use your own hangboard, you will have to drill it into the training board, as it won’t align correctly.
Then comes the actual fitting and mounting process.
When we had the board ready to go, we found a door suited for the Blank Slate Board, adjusted the crossbar, and weighted it so that it fit snug and secure it on the frame. The first image below demonstrates a misalignment of the crossbar with the doorframe, which took some tinkering to get right.
Note: It’s extremely important that you measure your door frame area’s width and height, as the board needs considerable room on both sides and above.
Something to keep in mind is that once secure, your Blank Slate Training Board will give a little as you use it. Don’t worry—it will hold you and the flex is natural. That being said, we wouldn’t advise running jump starts onto your hangboard, but we do encourage you to crush.
Want your own Blank Slate training board or hangboard?
Try one out for yourself:
Now to you
Have you tried a Blank Slate Board? Have any specific questions? Leave ’em in the comments below and we’ll get back to you!
All photos credited to Hayley Baker