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How to Build a Plice for Ice Climbing Training

Top ice climber Will Gadd talks about how to build an at-home training board for tools

As the ice season approaches, many ice climbers might be thinking of building a plice, a.k.a plywood ice, to prepare the forearms for the inevitable winter burn.

For materials, you’ll need: one sheet rough 3/4″ plywood, two 16-foot 2x4s, six 8-foot 2x4s, 32 feet of 1×3 (give or take) in 24-inch pieces, 3-inch deck screws and 2-inch screws.

Cory Rogans on a simple plice in Canmore in fall 2020 with the Grivel Dark Machine  Photo Brandon Pullan

Top ice climber Will Gadd explains how to build it:¬†First, build a frame with the 16-foot 2x4s. It should be 16 feet long and 24 inches wide with 2x4s on theends. “Ladder frame” this with a 22-inch 2×4 every 12 inches. When on its side it will basically look like a small 24-inch wall.

Cut the plywood in half the long way, creating two 2×8-inch pieces. Take a little care, but a skill saw rip is fine. Screw the plywood to the frame. Cut the 1×3 (roughly, just about anything will work) into 24-inch pieces. Screw these “foothold” pieces on so the top edge of the piece is roughly below the framing pieces on the other side of the plywood.

Get a 1-inch drill, and drill through the plywood just above the horizontal foothold piece and into the “stud” piece of 2×4 on the back. Makes these holes deep. You’ll likely hit a screw or nail or something, so use an old bit if possible.

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Hang the plice so it won’t fall over. Put a t2x10 between two trees, and hang it there if you want to be able to adjust the angle, or tie it directly to a tree if you want a vertical plice.

Gadd and his Plice in 2009