The Wall Part II

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This week at Mawson: 23 August 2013
Previously, in The Wall Part I, we were up to the point where we were almost ready to start fixing the fibreglass panels to the steel framework. The only thing left to do was to plumb and straighten up the structure then fix in some permanent bracing and tighten up all of the nuts. The framework was now complete.

The first row of wall panels was fairly simple as they were flat sheets and sat pretty much straight on the floor. All of the panels varied slightly in size and shape so they had to be clamped into place on the framework and fixed in situ with bolts after drilling through the steel framework. A nominal gap of 3 mm was left around the panels to allow for the size differences. The next two rows of panels were fixed off a couple of ladders. These went on reasonably easy as they only had small contours in them to simulate a real rock face. The contours were quite often concave and ended up being directly over the steel framing which meant the panels had to be packed out behind the bolt fixing point so a wide range of different bolt lengths had to be used. Once the panels were too high to reach from a ladder we fixed the remaining four rows out of the man cage on the forklift, one person in the man cage drilling the fixing holes and another behind the wall tightening the nuts on the bolts. The operation went pretty smoothly once we had our method worked out and the panels were finally finished.

After fixing the panels it was time to fit the anchor points to the roof framing so that the pulleys for the belay lines could be attached. One was simple, as it was just a matter wrapping a chain around the trussed rafter that was directly over the wall and attaching the pulley. The other point had to be fabricated out of steel and fixed to the roof purlins. That was the last task that required the use of the forklift and man cage. The only thing left to do was to drill the floor slab and grout in two ferrules to which the belayer and the belay lines are attached while somebody is climbing, a simple job by comparison to the rest of the project. Hand and foot holds were fitted and that’s it, the climbing wall is done!

Man standing wearing hard hat at the base of the plywood climbing wall
Anxious Field Training Officer
(Photo: Peter Layt)
Person working nt he wall standing in the basket of a cherry picker.
Up the wall
(Photo: Peter Layt)
Man sitting on a girder behind the wall looking down at the camera
Off the wall
(Photo: Peter Layt)
The plywood boards make a wall from floor to ceiling.
Panels on
(Photo: Peter Layt)
Mawson Climbing wall finished with the coloured grips in place.
(Photo: Peter Layt)