9 of the World's Most Unique Climbing Walls

From indoor ice to empty grain silos, these are the coolest artificial climbing walls in the world.
By Alison Mann

When it comes to artificial climbing walls, the sky is (literally) the limit in terms of creativity and design. You could take the easy route (an approach not common in the climbing community) and just build a static wall, or you could think outside the box and run the holds up the inside of a grain silo or even freeze the whole silo to create an awesome ice climbing training spot. How about the dry side of a dam? It's just sitting there, taunting you.

The walls featured below are definitely some of the most unique climbing walls to be found. So get your chalk bag ready, you're going to want to climb after seeing them.

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

1. The mighty Excalibur

What: Excalibur
Where: Bjoeks, The Netherlands
What's special: A climbing tower that's just over 120 feet high with a 36-foot 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 €1,000.

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

2. The dam route

What: A huge dam
Where: Diga di Luzzone dam, Blenio, Switzerland
What's special: This 540-foot dam has been turned into a climbing wall. Climbers need to use a ladder to get up the first 20 feet to the holds, but after making it to the top they can catch spectacular views of the Alps.

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

3. Indoor ice climbing

What: Indoor ice wall
Where: Ice Factor, Kinlochleven, Scotland
What's special: Climbers can practice their technique indoors all year round on this 39-foot-high wall. It's the biggest indoor ice wall in the world, based on the famous West Highland Way trekking route.

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

4. The fairytale wall

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.

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

5. Frozen grain silo

What: Ice-covered grain silo
Where: Cedar Falls, Iowa
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 order to make ice in cold weather. 

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

6. Color climb

What: Colorful climbing walls
Where: Extreme Edge, Auckland, NZ
What's special: Climbzone is perfect for kids — it's a riot of color. The complex has walls for adults too, though!

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

7. Against the grain

What: Grain silo climbing
Where: Upper Limits, Bloomington, Illinois
What's special: Enjoy a unique climb inside 65-foot-high grain silos. There are three round silos, and two interestingly shaped ones that allow chimney climbs. The center also has an outdoor wall, bouldering cave and main area with loads of routes. 

8. Cathedral climb

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. 

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

9. Go psicobloc

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. 

See David Lama make a unique and challenging climb out of a sinkhole in Lebanon.

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