Kilter Board Review – Track Your Climbing Progress

When training for climbing one of the ever present discussion is around what grade you climb. The difficulty is two fold, first that grades are subjective, and second that routes are so dissimilar. Each route can vary across gyms and setters, and even outdoor rock has day to day weather and conditions that influence how hard it is to climb.

The best product out there for dealing with this seems to be the Kilter Board. Setting the same route with the same holds (like what is done for the standardized speed climbing route) helps to make things uniform. Kilter has taken this to another level, fully standardizing an entire wall and enabling gums and even home wall builders to replicate a wall nearly anywhere.

By then pairing the standard set wall with an app, Kilter Board allows new routes to be created by anyone. You can develop custom moves that work on a specific technique or are designed to train for the crux of your big project. 

Kilter board app screen for climbing

Playing With Light Up Problems On a Kilter Board

One of the more fun things to do with a Kilter Board is to create your own route. This can be done in an interactive manner, either individually or as a challenge to someone on the board.

Many of the boards are equipped with holds that have a small light near their base. This allows you to light up the holds that are “on” for a problem. With each light being multi colored you can even designate a just foot, fully on hold, starting holds, and finishing holds. 

With a simple Bluetooth connection you can even light up the holds in real time. This makes a fun game where you can light up a hold while a climber is on the wall- revealing for them the next hold only once they are in place. As a training tool this provides a unique way to force someone to focus only on the next move and being comfortable on the wall.

Kilter home Wall

Many climbing fans have dreamed of setting up some sort of home wall for local training. Often there is a limit to what can be built safely, based on space. If you are lucky maybe you have an open high ceilings garage, or an out building that can hold a wall.

Choosing a Kilter Board for this is an interesting concept. It allows again for uniform training and the ability to apply the concept of progressive overload to climbing. The walls are not cheap though. Compared to mounting a handful of accessible holds to some plywood, the cost of getting the Kilter holds is substantial. This gets more serious if you want to build out a wall with the light up features mentioned previously.

While it’s possible to build a wall for around $5k-$7k, getting a larger footprint or having to reinforce a wall while grabbing all the best holds will push the cost of a fully Kilter Board install over $10k. If you can swing it though this makes the appeal of your home wall more akin to going to a small gym than it does a local kids park.

The other benefit is that a Kilter Home Wall with a uniform setup will make it easier to train for a gym and track progress. One of the toughest things about climbing is understanding grades and figuring out how well you are progressing. Other than a Kilter wall there are few uniform features in the climbing world to test on. Notably the speed climbing route and some campus boards have uniform measurements. By using a uniform setup on a home wall it makes it possible to compete and create games, like HORSE or add-one, with someone who is not physically there.