Are you considering visiting Bjoeks climbing center in Groningen, the Netherlands to climb the Excalibur climbing wall? Read about my experience climbing the world’s tallest freestanding climbing wall, how to visit Excalibur, and what you need to know about the Excalibur wall before you decide to climb Excalibur.
What is the Excalibur climbing wall?
The Excalibur climbing wall is the tallest freestanding climbing tower in the world. It’s located in Groningen, the Netherlands. The tower stands at 37 meters (121 feet), however Excalibur is unique is that you climb both its sides (if you dare). Depending on which side that you choose to climb, you may need to deal with some fierce angles and overhangs. If you’re looking to overcome your fear of heights, climbing Excalibur might be the most epic way to do it yet…
My experience climbing the Excalibur climbing wall
I went with my husband and my friend, who both love adventure. We took a little road trip from Amsterdam to Groningen, just to climb Excalibur. (Yes, we’re that committed!) All of us are experienced climbers with experience belaying as well as climbing. One of the employees requested that we made an appointment in advance, but this isn’t required if you know how to climb and belay and you’re coming with enough people.
Given the cost (12 euros), I felt that the price was ridiculously fair considering how unique the Excalibur is. After getting our gear together (my friend needed to rent her harness/shoes), we were instructed in what to know about the wall. The brief lesson focused most on effective climbing communication as Excalibur is so tall that you can’t yell down.
As the wall is so high and it can be windy in Groningen, belaying someone isn’t so easy as it’s tougher to keep a tight rope when it’s windy. We dealt with a lot of wind, so it took a lot of effort and strength beyond typical climbing to ensure that the rope was kept tight. Similarly, it makes it difficult to see the person as they’re so high-up. As a climber, it’s best to climb Excalibur by lead to minimize issues with belaying, however it is possible to climb one side of Excalibur with a top-rope although you may need to stop more often to ensure that it’s tight.
I climbed up the easier side with a top-rope. The actual climbing on the easy side wasn’t too difficult for us following the 5B route. Climbing from the top to the bottom took about twenty minutes. The vertigo can certainly get to you, however the feeling of reaching the top of Excalibur is fantastic. I only did it once as my arms were feeling it after the first go as I’m not used to longer climbs, however my husband and my friend both climbed twice. Once you get to the top, the view is really nice of the surrounding countryside although admittedly, you can’t see much of the historic city of Groningen.
The way down is quite long and nerve wracking, especially if you’re belaying. I found it a bit difficult to ensure that I was going at a good speed as the rope was so long and Jacob seemed like a tiny little dot descending down. I still really enjoyed it and it feels so epic after you’re done to say, “I was at the top!” I’d definitely say that climbing Excalibur was one of the most adventurous things that I’ve done.
What to know about the Excalibur climbing wall
- If you come solo and just require someone to belay you, it’s 10 euros per hour to hire an employee to belay you. If you come solo, you should know how to lead climb.
- You must call in advance to notify them that you intend to climb as they must have someone watching for liability reasons. This does not apply if you come with a climbing partner and now belaying.
- If you’ve previously climbed and your partner can belay, you can climb Excalibur for only 12 euros per person, which includes a day pass to the gym afterwards.
- If you want to climb Excalibur, but you’ve never climbed before, this is possible, however you must pay 35 euros for two hours with an instructor.
- It’s best to climb Excalibur using lead climbing although it’s possible with top rope.
- Belaying on Excalibur is difficult due to the wind.
What to bring with you to climb Excalibur
Your experience climbing and/or belaying (optional)
If you don’t own your own climbing shoes, harness, or rope, you can these from the gym for a few euros!
Your climbing harness and carabiners
A rope (optional)
How to visit the Excalibur climbing wall
The Excalibur climbing wall is located in Groningen at Klimcentrum Bjoeks, a climbing center. We drove and there was free parking by the climbing center, however if you visit by train, you can take a bus towards Groningen, P+R Kardinge. It will take about twenty minutes from the center of Groningen to get to Bjoeks. Click for my guide to Groningen!
Have you heard of the Excalibur climbing wall? Would you climb it!?
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