The World's Tallest Freestanding Climbing Wall is in Groningen – and You Can Sleep on It

Towering over 121 feet (37 meters) in the air, the Excalibur in the town of Groningen, The Netherlands, is considered to be the tallest climbing wall in the world.

Simeon Onaji
Simeon Onaji

Simeon is a Senior Editor at Tozome, an amateur wine connoisseur, and a mediocre Tennis player.

The World's Tallest Freestanding Climbing Wall is in Groningen – and You Can Sleep on It

At just over 121 feet high, including 36 feet of overhang, this particular climbing wall is only for the bravest of daredevils. Excalibur is a freestanding outdoor climbing wall located in the city of Groningen in the Netherlands. It stands out as a unique and iconic feature of the city’s landscape, attracting both local and international visitors who are interested in rock climbing.

Opened in 2004, the history of Excalibur dates back to the 1980s when a group of passionate rock climbers in Groningen decided to build their own climbing wall. They saw a need for a place where climbers could practice and train year-round, regardless of the weather. The wall was named Excalibur after the mythical sword wielded by King Arthur, symbolizing the strength and determination of the climbers who built it.

Excalibur is part of Bjoeks, a climbing gym, and is open to the public every day from 9 am to 11 pm. The wall is intended for independent and experienced climbers who are accompanied by someone of a similar skill level.

While Bjoeks caters to climbers of all abilities, those who wish to conquer Excalibur should be prepared for a challenging climb. If you are a beginner, you can hone your skills on the easier walls inside Bjoeks and then graduate to Excalibur once you feel ready. The gym also offers courses, including a basic belaying and climbing course, to help novice climbers prepare for independent climbing in the future.

One of the unique characteristics of Excalibur is its freestanding wall, which is not attached to any other structure. This allows it to stand tall and proud on its own, providing an uninterrupted view of the surrounding landscape. This feature also makes Excalibur a popular spot for photography and sightseeing, as visitors are able to take in the beautiful views of the city from the top.

Excalibur climbing wallPhoto: Annari/Shutterstock 

Excalibur is located in the heart of Groningen, making it easily accessible to visitors and locals alike. Climbers are also allowed to pitch their tents under the wall for the night, free of charge. This is a great option for those who want to make a weekend trip out of their visit to the wall, or for climbers passing through Groningen and need a place to stay.

Excalibur may be the world’s tallest freestanding climbing wall, but it has some competition. The CopenHill power plant in Copenhagen, Denmark has installed a 279-foot-tall outdoor climbing wall on one of its exterior walls, which is the tallest of its kind (though it is not freestanding). The Shanghai New World City Shopping mall in China currently holds the world record for the tallest indoor artificial climbing wall at 168 feet. This title was previously held by The Summit in Abu Dhabi, which measures 138 feet in height.

Edinburgh International Climbing Arena - Tozome

Photo: Jacob Farr

Meanwhile, the Edinburgh International Climbing Arena (EICA) located in the UK, holds the title for the largest indoor climbing arena in the world, with over 2,000 square meters of climbing surface. The facility includes a range of climbing routes, from beginner to expert level, as well as a bouldering area, a training area, and a cafe. The EICA also hosts a variety of climbing events and competitions throughout the year, including the Scottish Climbing Championships and the British Bouldering Championships.

And if you ever decide to venture out to Nevada, USA – make sure to check out the Basecamp Outdoor Wall. Located within the Whitney Peak Hotel in downtown Reno, the Big Wall is the Guinness Book of World Records “World’s Largest Climbing Wall” and features 164 ft of adrenaline-fueled climbing.

If you’d rather stay a little closer to the ground, head for BaseCamp Reno’s 7,000 square-foot indoor bouldering park for a causal climb or partake in one of the many competitions that the Camp staff organises. BaseCamp Reno is open every week between 8:00 am to 10:00 pm, Monday through Friday, and 8:00 am to 9:00 pm on Saturdays and Sundays.

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