It all started six months ago, post-pump at Fellini’s Pizza with the usual climbing crew. We got to thinking about our old buddy Greg Kottkamp.
One of the most talented and understated rock climbers the South has seen, Greg was in medical school at the Medical College of Georgia, in Augusta. The closest climbable surface from there is one of the Atlanta gyms, 2.5 hours away. In the last few months Greg was making that insane day trip just to session with his friends for an evening study break, but now things had changed.
Word was that Greg’s wife Katy, also a great climber, was doing her veterinary externship in Wisconsin, and Greg was dug in deep, diligently studying o-chem solo in his Augusta lair, with no time to flip through the latest Rock & Ice Magazine, much less get his climbing fix.
Now, Greg’s a dedicated guy, and puts just as much focus on the books as on a sick redpoint, but everyone needs a break sometime. So after a couple Sweetwater 420s, we hatched a brilliant plan. Greg needed a climbing wall. A pimp wall, fit for a climber who can onsight 5.13 trad FAs off-the-couch, but also one that would integrate into his new lifestyle as a monkish med school gunner. And – the best part – it would be a total surprise.
Katy provided us with some pics of Greg’s home office and the rough dimensions.Greg’s Lair in Augusta, pre-Pimped. photo by Katy Kottkamp
We met early on a Sunday with a rental truck full of climbing goodness, with Greg safely out of town with the dogs. Greg and Katy were due back that evening, so we relied on Katy to stay in text-message contact with us during the install.Left to right: Josh, Charlie, Danny, Kenneth, Kate.
We got to Greg’s house around noon, and got right to work. Moved all the furniture out and cleaned the space. Danny started crawling around in the ceiling looking for structural beams. The big question was, should we make it free-standing or could we attach it to the structure? Luckily, the room was perfect for the latter, and Kenneth and Danny were able to design an elegant, bombproof design with the panels Chris had prepped that would give us an 8′ x 11′ wall that overhung slightly more than 45 degrees – a perfect home training wall – and still leave space for the stereo and shelving on either side.
Early that afternoon it poured rain, so we had to continue construction inside. Meanwhile Charlie and Kate planned the post-wall layout of the new office, and we made a couple trips to the local hardware store, for a new fan, lights, a curtain to keep chalk dust contained, and other odds and ends.
Wall up, we were way ahead of schedule, with time to think about the details that would make life more bearable inside four walls (make that five now): pimp iphone deck, shelving behind the wall, new lighting, new outlets, new fan, efficient re-org…
We hit Waffle House while we waited for the increasingly shortened text messages from Katy: eta 2 hours… 1 hour… half hour… Would Greg confront Katy about all this secret texting and blow the suprise? Would the dogs come in before them and tear us apart? Would there be any beer left? Stay tuned for the video to see the conclusion to Pimp My Wall…