10 Unreal Climbing Destinations

10 Unreal Climbing Destinations

The converted Daily News warehouse features over 18,500 square feet of climbing. While the roped climbing here is good, it’s the bouldering that keeps the crowds coming. New routes go up regularly, with grades as high as v12, and for a real challenge you can try the 35- foot-long bouldering roof locals dubbed ‘The Beast’. Locals, by the way, are superstars such as Sasha Digiulian and Ashima Shiraishi, who train there weekly.

The Excalibur Tower resembles a giant spine—a121-foot s-curve that offers a variety of different features. On one side, a 35-foot overhang begins about halfway up, and tests endurance as well as core strength. The opposing side is flatter and demands careful footwork. Routes are usually capped at the 5.12 rating, and the climbing center also offers artificial outdoor boulders, as well as an indoor bouldering area.


While many college campuses across the world have artificial climbing walls, this façade might dwarf them all. The nine-story building in the Netherlands features an outdoor climbing wall with more than 2,500 holds bolted to its face, as well as a traverse wall outside the sports center leading to the dormitory’s base. Architects Arons and Gelauff included these cool features it in their blueprints, helping to inform the modern building’s concave design.

Although this massive faade wasnt built for climbing, its rock-crawling makeover only seems natural. The 540-foot Swiss dam was bolted in the 1990s, becoming the worlds highest artificial climbing wall. The climb starts off concave, but through its five pitches gradually flattens to a vertical face.

The holds begin twenty feet off the ground to ensure passersby dont hop on, but you can rent a key for the access ladder from Ristorante Luzzone at the top of the dam for about 20 dollars and a 100-dollar deposit. Once you reach the top, take in the breathtaking view of Lago di Luzzone, the crystal-blue lake encircled by the four plush-green peaks of Piz Terri mountain to the north-east, Plattenberg on the east, Torrone di Nav to the south, and Pizzo Pianca to the north.

With 1400 square meters of indoor ice climbing routes up to 50 feet high, this is the world’s largest indoor ice climbing facility. The frosty façade is so massive the designers had to pour a 15-meter thick concrete slab to hold up the 500 tons of man-made snow comprising the routes. Each of the 25 lines are hand-packed and manipulated to simulate outdoor conditions, where routes change shape constantly due to unpredictable weather. The room is kept below zero, with a rotating heat loop that recreates natural freeze and thaw cycles. Think that’s cool? Ice Factor also offers an indoor bouldering area, an outdoor rock climbing tower and a roped climbing wall with a hydraulic feature that extends to a six-meter overhang.

What began in 1990 as an outdoor school leading expeditions to K2 and Kilimanjaro has expanded to become the largest indoor climbing facility in the country, boasting over 38,500 square feet of climbing. With over 200 lead and sport routes and an expansive bouldering area Earth Treks has a cornucopia of adventures for climbers of all levels. Be sure to check out their unique death-star feature—a bulbous overhang curving four feet out and 10 feet up to a challenging top-out. Earth Treks has three locations in the greater Washington DC, Northern Virginia, and Maryland region and will open a fourth in Golden, Colorado in November. Don’t let their indoor expansion fool you, though; they haven’t lost sight of their outdoor origins. Earth Treks continues to host expeditions abroad, making sure , its climbing community stays well rounded.

If Salvador Dali lived in the Victorian era, he might have painted a scene like the one you see here in Tokyo’s fashion district. Instead of typical climbing holds made to mimic something on the rock, this gym chose to bring a stylish aesthetic to its sleek interior. Filling its white walls with design elements such as window frames, birdcages, flower vases, and antler heads, design company Nendo began the project with its brand concept, “Becoming beautiful through movement.”

This facility boasts an outdoor wall 164 feet high overlooking downtown Reno, making it the nation’s tallest outdoor climbing wall. Though the view at the top may not compare to some of the other breathtaking vistas on this list, the experience comes with all the amenities of urban climbing. Base Camp also has a competition-ready indoor bouldering area- over 2,700 square feet- with two freestanding boulders and a separate climbing area for kids.

This adventure resort holds a Guinness World Record for the world’s tallest freestanding climbing tower at 140 feet. The routes zig-zag through 4 overhangs and chimneys, with sequences ranging from 5.5 to 5.12. Once the wall tops out, you’re rewarded with a sweeping panoramic view of Snake Creek Gorge. The resort also holds the record for the largest and longest zip line eco canopy tour, with nearly 9 miles of cables whizzing the rider up to 60 mph over the rubble of Old Banning and rapids of Snake Creek.

Opened in 2010, this gym boasts a whopping 30,000 square feet of climbing terrain, making it one of the nation’s largest indoor facilities. With lead and top-rope climbing up to 60 feet and features including mega-rolls, overhangs and roofs, the roped climbing here is not to be missed. For the less vertically inclined, the bouldering area has plenty of variety and is re-set frequently. The gym is also very family-friendly, including a separate kid’s section complete with 12 auto-belays and a giant scalable dinosaur.