ATI uses several engineering firms to perform design evaluations. As necessary, engineered plans and drawings are provided to help secure building permits or a special use permit. All ATI designs meet and/or exceed specifications established by the Association for Challenge Course Technology and the Climbing Wall Industry Group. ATI construction teams participate in several internal trainings every year to insure the highest building standards and adherence to best industry practices. 

The actual Tower structure analysis was performed by Utility Technology Engineers-Consultants. Their in-depth report covers wood preservative treatment, lightning protection system, structural analysis, wind loads, guy cables, bolt connections, and weight loads. The findings indicate that the Alpine Tower design is incredibly strong and capable of withstanding extremely high wind loads (100 mph), as well as tremendous weight (twelve 400 lb. people climbing on the Tower). Since introducing the Alpine Tower concept over twenty years ago, there are now a large number of organizations around the country conducting experiences on the Tower and our many other designs as well. From their reports and our inspections, the safety management and design of the Tower works exceptionally well.

ATI designs use a variety of systems for safeguarding participants. The Alpine Tower series was specifically created to use a dynamic belay system referred to as a “top-rope belay system”. A belay rope is tied directly to the participant’s harness. The participant remains on belay until back safely on the ground. Several other designs use this same system, including the Carolina Climbing Wall Series and Diamond Courses. Other ATI designs use a static system, which is created by attaching a participant into an overhead safety cable via one or more tethers often referred to as “lobster claws.” As participants move horizontally through the course, they sequentially reconnect their tethers to new overhead safety cables. Some ATI courses use a combination of both the dynamic and static system.

 All designs are evaluated for effective access prevention. Items aiding unauthorized users in accessing the struc- tures are removed and locked away at the completion of a program. No Trespassing Signs (specific to challenge courses) are placed prominently in several places on each structure. While no access prevention system can be completely foil-proof, ATI has a superb safety record for minimizing unwanted access. Mitigating unauthorized access is the role of everyone involved. ATI will help you select a site that best provides secure access.

One of the most respected lightning firms in the country designed ATI’s lightning protection system, which is used on every outdoor design. While no lightning system may be able to provide safety during a direct, unimpeded strike, we believe that our lightning systems provide significant protection for your challenge course investment.


ATI normally uses southern yellow pine poles, which are incredibly durable and strong for challenge courses and outdoor climbing walls. Pole treatments are primarily CCA (Chromated Copper Arsenate), often with an additional treatment that conditions the pole for longevity and fewer cracks. ATI continuously researches available pole treatments, and makes a conscious decision on treatment types that insure longevity and safety to participants.

All steel hardware such as eyebolts and timberbolts are 3/ 4” diameter, hot-dip galvanized. Typical tensile strengths exceed 18,000 lbs. Most structures use 7x19 lay Galvanized Aircraft Cable. Some lo- cations are recommended to select stainless steel. Most cable termi- nations are swaged. Other typical hardware items include strandvices, cable clamps, ground screw anchors, thimbles, and stainless steel belay bars.

All designs use lashing ropes as an additional hardware backup and for enhancing the aesthetics of the structures. These are the very bright and large white ropes that are seen at most pole junctions on ATI designs. All of our nets are produced internally, specifically for each design.

ATI uses a great variety of handhold types and styles. Specific sets are used for specific designs. Most Access Prevention systems use a removable handhold, a uniquely designed hold that slips on easily during setup, minimizing time required for staff to prepare the course for use.

As we are with our poles, we are very selective about the lumber used in our climbing wall designs. Outdoor climbing walls are exposed to an extreme range of environmental conditions, and can reflect this in the quality of the material after a few seasons. To maintain quality, appearance, longevity and safety, ATI uses a CCA treated, double-kiln-dried tongue and groove lumber, made of southern yellow pine. The double drying reduces shrinkage after installation, minimiz- ing both checks (cracks) and separation. This lumber is professionally fitted, and uses fasteners that will keep it looking and performing great for years.

All operational equipment is provided with installation. A full complement of equipment allows for an entire group to participate without trading harnesses. Different designs require different amounts of equipment, based on their layout and anticipated user groups. This equipment will be shipped to your program prior to installation and will be used during the staff training component. We believe that we use the highest quality gear in our industry. We continually evaluate the equipment that we use to make sure it is consistent with our quality goals and safety benchmarks. All facilities that have installed an ATI design are entitled to a special pricing through our equipment retail partner Adventure Hardware.

Several designs use a vinyl cloth system to create a roof over decks and platforms. This vinyl fabric is a urethane-coated nylon, specifically deigned and sewn for use in our structures. They are designed to remain on the structure year-round.