What do you do when you're one of the lowest countries in Europe but still want to support a climbing culture? Build the world's largest climbing tower in some sort of an architectural penis measuring contest.
I'm not sure if the designation of world's tallest purpose-built, manmade climbing wall is that much of an honor. After all, even if you can lay claim to having climbed it, there are still a whole lifetime of mountain ranges out there that have much higher, more difficult ascents. But when your country tops out at around 1,056 feet, it's quite a novelty prize.
And give one look at the thing and you have to be a little bit impressed by its massive presence that snakes 121 feet into the air. It's called the Excalibur and it's located at the Klimcentrum Bjoeks in Groningen, Netherlands. What impresses me about it is that instead of just building straight up, they've given it some pitch and a 36-foot overhang. Looks like a pretty gnarly climb, though probably not quite gnarly enough for you to pack your bivouac. I also like the dual-sided design, which provides routes for beginners and experts alike.
Unfortunately, the Klimcentrum Bjoeks website doesn't appear to support English. However, it does offer a pretty nice picture-by-picture of the build behind the Excalibur that you can find in their photo gallery.
So, if you're artificial wall baggin', you now have your new Everest.
Via Oh Gizmo!