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Looking for something a bit more interesting for your next climbing adventure?
From surrealistic sceneries to breathtaking dams, check out our list of the World’s most interesting artificial climbing walls…
So get your gear ready, you’re going to want to get out and climb after seeing some of these beauties!
Bjoeks, The Netherlands
A truly incredible construction, the Excalibur is much more than a climber’s asylum – it is a piece of art.
Named after the sword of the mythical King Arthur, overhanging more than 35 feet as it bends 121 feet above ground, the Excalibur is among the tallest –and coolest- climbing walls in the world.
This snaky coral-coloured spire stands on a 500-ton base, ensuring Excalibur stays in place even in hurricane force winds.
The 50-ton structure weight is kept in place by 36 beams going 9 meters into the ground and a meter-thick concrete slab.
“Climbers that come from all over the world are in for a test of their own worthiness to call themselves conquerors of Excalibur,” reports Bjoeks, the climbing center where the spire is located in the Netherlands.
Its imaginative, free-standing design, is a must for every seasoned climber.
Images © Excalibur
Manchester Climbing Centre
Whether you are spiritual or not, climbing within a remodelled Victorian Cathedral should be an exhilarating experience.
With walls soaring to the sky and bathed in an eerie multi-colored light that penetrates its magnificent stained glass, Manchester’s climbing Cathedral offers climbers a challenging and certainly unique climbing experience.
Visitors are able to take part in a range of activities including the Skyscraper – a death-defying climb up the side of a building, the Leap of Faith – a jump from a series of platforms suspended in mid-air and the Iron Chimney – a vertical climb up the inside of a narrow tower.
The Diga di Luzzone Dam
Have you ever thought of climbing a wall holding a few millions of tons of water?
The ‘Diga di Luzzone’ Dam in Switzerland welcomes all climbers that want to try something a bit different.
A German climbing hold manufacturer installed over 650 artificial holds and bolts in the late 90’s, and turned it into one of the most popular attractions in the Alps. Besides, spending a few days in the Alps is, in itself, a great reason to visit the place!
The dam extends for more than 160 metres and offers stunning views over imposing Alpine forests and bold cliffs – at least to those skilled and experienced enough to reach the top!
The cost is 20 Swiss francs per climber plus 100 Swiss franc deposit gets you the key to unlock the ladder that gives you access to the first pitch. There are five pitches in total to choose from, each offering a different degree of difficulty.
The Ice Factor in Kinlochleven deserves more praise and attention than it usually gets. After all, it is home to the tallest indoor ice wall in the World.
Its excellent facilities include an indoor ice wall towering more than 50feet above the ground, made of over 500 tonnes of snow and ice!
The structure has several route possibilities, from overhangs to gentle slopes for those learning to use crampons and ice picks.
Conditions are as close to natural as possible with the ice made by following the natural freeze-thaw cycle that takes place when ice walls are formed outdoors.
The location in Kinlochleven is also part of the famed West Highland Way trekking route – ideal for combining more than one ventures.
Image © Ice Factor
The Designer Wall
It is not the tallest climbing wall, nor the most challenging, but it undoubtedly deserves a place on any list about interesting climbing walls around the World.
The Designer Wall in Tokyo can easily bring back memories of favourite bed-time stories, like Alice in the Wonderland, for instead of the usual rocky surfaces, icy formations, and grips, you must climb through bizarre furniture hanging up the wall!
Created by the Japanese design firm, Nendo, the wall features all sorts of rather unusual objects along with some more traditional, but stylised to match the surreal atmosphere: Victorian-style décor, with frames, mirrors and other kinds of furniture in various dimensions.
Along the way, you will also have to overcome a deer head, bird cage, and a small writing desk!
It may sound more playful than challenging, but do not be misled: it will take all your skill and experience to reach the top.
The Extreme Edge
Auckland, New Zealand
Being New Zealand’s largest indoor climbing centre, Extreme Edge Panmure offers an excellent climbing experience in one of the most beautiful corners of the earth.
Housed in a former aircraft hangar the height of a four-storey building, there’s scope for some serious climbing.
The location offers a staggering number of different climbs, with 200 routes covering all levels of skill and experience, from absolute beginner level to advanced.
The impressive overhanging wall, is one of the best available in indoor climbing.
The best of all? It is the best climbing centre for kids in our list and by far the most family-friendly.
A wondrous, pirate-themed play zone, AdventureLand is packed with colourful climbing walls, a mystical pirate ship, swing bridges, giant slides, as well as the newly-opened Tree House area.
Images © Adam Hayes & Climbzone NZ
Utah Olympic Park
The Utah Olympic Park offers climbers the chance for some serious soloing above deep water, in some of the most well-designed climbing facilities of the western hemisphere.
There’s no reason not to push yourself when the reward is a refreshing dip, whatever the outcome!
Several routes of varying difficulty will keep all the family or friends happy – even those not so keen on climbing since the park encompasses a vast range of fun-packed activities.
Image © Utah Olympic Park
Artificial climbing walls have one advantage over natural rock formations…their designers can virtually create anything they dream of!
Whether it’s increasing the difficulty, adding strokes of surrealism, or combining elements of the natural World; climbing walls offer something unique.
Do you accept the challenge?