9 unique walls you’ll dream of climbing

From indoor ice to picture frames, these are the coolest artificial climbing walls in the world.
By Alison Mann

When it comes to designing artificial climbing walls, it's possible to go wild. From turning grain silos into ice walls to sticking holds up the face of a dam in Switzerland, the walls below are definitely some of the most unique climbing walls you will find.

Get your chalk bag ready, you're going to want to climb after this.

More:7 high bouldering routes only the best can manage

1. The mighty Excalibur

The Excalibur artificial climbing wall in juts out of the climbing centre in Broeks, Netherlands
The awesome Excalibur wall in the Netherlands © Bjoeks

What: Excalibur
Where: Bjoeks, The Netherlands
What's special: A climbing tower that's 37m high with 11m overhang. There's even a competition going at the moment. Climbing champ Jorg Verhoeven set a 9a route on the wall and the first person to redpoint it wins €1000.
How much do I want to climb: 10

2. Climb a dam

An artificial climbing wall bolted to the sheer wall of the 165m Diga di Luzon dam in Blenio, Switzerland
Dam difficult climbing wall in Switzerland © Lollo Riva/Getty Images

What: A huge dam
Where: Diga di Luzzone dam, Blenio, Switzerland
What's special: The 165m dam has been turned into a climbing wall. Climbers need to use a ladder to get up the first 6m, but after making it to the top they can catch spectacular views of the Alps.
How much do I want to climb: 9

3. Ice climbing indoors

Ice climbing indoors at Ice Factorm, the world's largest indoor ice climbing wall in Kinlochleven, Scotland
Ice climbing indoors in Scotland © Jeff Holmes

What: Indoor ice wall
Where: Ice Factor, Kinlochleven, Scotland
What's special: Climbers can practice their technique indoors all year round on this 12m high wall. It's the biggest indoor ice wall in the world, and what's more it's based off the famous West Highland Way trekking route.
How much do I want to climb: 9

4. The fairytale wall

A fairytale climbing wall at the Illoiha fitness club in Tokyo, Japan, designed by Illoiha Omotesando
A fairytale climbing wall in Tokyo © Daci Ano/Illoiha Omotesando

What: Designer wall
Where: Tokyo, Japan
What's special: This wall blends the high-fashion of Tokyo with outdoor activities. It's based in the Illoiha fitness club and uses interior design elements to create the wall, allowing people to try out the sport easily.
How much do I want to climb: 7

5. Ice climbing with a difference

An ice climber on an artificial wall built on an old grain silo in Cedar Falls, USA
Ice climbing on the side of an old grain silo © Scott Olson/Getty Images

What: Ice covered grain silo
Where: Cedar Falls, USA
What's special: These grain silos have been converted into awesome ice climbing routes. The idea came from Don Briggs in 2001, who worked to perfect a way to rig hoses in a way to make ice in cold weather.
How much do I want to climb: 8

6. The colourful climb

Colourful climbing for kids at Climbzone in the Extreme Edge climbing centre in Auckland, New Zealand
Colourful climbing at Climbzone in Auckland © Adam Hayes

What: Colourful climbing walls
Where: Extreme Edge, Auckland, NZ
What's special: Climbzone is perfect for kids – it's a riot of colour. The complex has walls for adults too though!
How much do I want to climb: For getting kids climbing – 8

7. Climb inside a grain silo

Inside an artificial grain silo climbing wall at Upper Limits, Bloomington, USA
Inside a silo climbing wall © Hannah Russell/Upper Limits

What: Grain silo climbing
Where: Upper Limits, Bloomington, US
What's special: Have a unique climb inside 20m high grain silos. There's three round silos, and two interestingly shaped ones that allow chimney climbs. The centre also has an outdoor wall, bouldering cave and main area with loads of routes.
How much do I want to climb: 10

8. Thank God for climbing

What: Climbing inside a remodeled cathedral
Where: Manchester, UK
What's special: Nestled into a former victorian cathedral, these walls really do soar to the sky. And they're bathed in the lovely multi-colored light from the stained glass, too. 
How much do I want to climb: Hail yes! 

9. Artificial deep water soloing

Deep water soloing on an artificial climbing wall at the Olympic Park in Utah, USA
Deep water soloing in Utah © Utah Olympic Park

What: Deep water soloing
Where: Utah Olympic Park
What's special: Dreaming of deep water soloing in lush locations, but can't get there? Here's a way to give it a go, artificially. Routes at the Utah Olympic Park hang over water…pretty awesome.
How much do I want to climb: 10

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