Climbing the Extraordinary Excalibur Wall in the Netherlands [21 PICS, 2 VIDS]

July 19th, 2012 Permalink

The area around Groningen, Netherlands, has been described as “flat as a pancake” which leaves climbers with nothing to climb outdoors . . . that is until the massive climbing tower Excalibur was built. Klimcentrum Bjoeks is considered one оf the best Dutch Climbing Centers. It has a boulder area both outside and inside, as well as 18 meters (59 feet) high indoor climbing walls for route climbing. Outside Bjoeks looms the mighty Excalibur, a spectacular and curved climbing tower that is over 121 feet high (37 meters) to reach the thrilling peak. The overhang curves 36 feet out from the base and offers numerous routes up, from the slabby side, to the “steep” side that requires some thought and climbing muscle. Being adrenaline rush fans, we thought it looked pretty cool. Even if it’s not made by nature . . . climbing to the top would allow adventurers, adrenaline junkies and extreme sport participants to see for miles. It would surely feel as if you reached the summit of Dutch mountain. [21 Photos, 2 Videos]

Balloon festival Groningen -- T-Rex vs the 37 meter high Klimcentrum Bjoeks climbing wall

Balloon festival at Groningen, Netherlands. T-Rex vs Excalibur, the 37 meter high Klimcentrum Bjoeks climbing wall. Photo #1 by © Gerrit Stel the Netherlands

A face, the original OMG Wall at Groningen Netherlands

Perhaps you have heard of the face, the original ‘OMG Wall,’ at Groningen, but have you heard of the amazing curved pillar of Excalibur? Photo #2 by Wout


High above Klimcentrum Bjoeks

Let’s zoom out and over, looking down at Klimcentrum Bjoeks. Photo #3 by © Microsoft Corporation Digital Globe

Bird's eye Klimcentrum Bjoeks climbing wall

Bird’s eye view via Bing of what was once called the “World’s tallest free-standing wall” at Bjoeks Klimcentrum. Photo #4 by © Microsoft Corporation Digital Globe

Klimcentrum Bjoeks climbing wall

Klimcentrum Bjoeks climbing wall. Wikipedia states, “In the 13th century, when Groningen was an important trade center, its inhabitants built a city wall to underline its authority.” Even in the founders’ wildest dreams, they surely would never have imagined this climbing wall. More random facts: in 1614, a new city wall was built; it stood up to the test during “the Third Anglo-Dutch War in 1672, when the city was attacked fiercely by the bishop of Münster, Bernhard von Galen. The city walls resisted, an event which is celebrated with music and fireworks on 28 August (as ‘Groningens Ontzet’ or ‘Bommen Berend’).” Photo #5 by © John de Grooth

Going up Kardinge Groningen Netherlands -- Bjoeks

Going up Excalibur. Photo #6 by © Gerrit Stel the Netherlands

Climber at Klimcentrum Bjoeks,Bjoeks

Excalibur has both a steep and a slabby side, offering climbers numerous routes from ‘easy’ to very challenging. Photo #7 by © John de Grooth

Climbing centre Bjoeks

Climbing center Bjoeks. Groningen is so flat, that artificial dwelling hills (wierde) were built long ago, around 500 BC, to make a safe high ground for people when the river would flood or during high tide. Photo #9 by © Gerrit Stel the Netherlands

Excalibur at night

Excalibur at night. Photo #10 by Wout

Klimcentrum Bjoeks,Bjoeks,Groningen

According to Vertical Athlete, “When there is a light breeze blowing, the tower starts to sway a little and your body instinctively increases your grip on the holds, no matter how pumped you are. As your excitement rockets skywards and a chill cools your heated body, you may feel so much at ease that you can, for a few seconds, feel King of all you survey – truly a lot in the very flat Netherlands.” Photo #11 by © John de Grooth

Excalibur Kardinge

You can also see Excalibur on Google Street View. Photo #12 by © Mieke Bosma

Climbing Excalibur Wall Netherlands

Would you attempt climbing over 11 stories to conquer the Excalibur tower? Photo #13 by reresambodja

Dinosaur about to chomp on Excalibur tower

Dinosaur about to chomp on Excalibur? You don’t usually see something like this every day. ;-) It’s unknown how tall the T-Rex balloon was, but it’s quite a bit taller than the 121 foot climbing wall. Photo #14 by © Gerrit Stel the Netherlands

Balloon Festival at Kardinge, Groningen, Netherlands

Balloon Festival at Kardinge, Groningen, Netherlands. Photo #15 by © Gerrit Stel the Netherlands

Klimwand Kardinge

Klimwand Kardinge. Photo #16 by Peter Heeling

Henriette Louwerse at the Groningen (NL) outdoor wall in 1986

Henriette Louwerse at the Groningen (NL) outdoor wall in 1986. Photo #17 by © Alan James via UKClimbing

Hannah J-L tackling the slabby side of Excalibur at the Bjoeks wall in Groningen, the Netherlands

Hannah J-L tackling the slabby side of Excalibur at the Bjoeks wall in Groningen, the Netherlands. Photo #18 by © Alan James via UKClimbing

Dutch climber on Excalibur

Dutch climber on Excalibur. Photo #19 by © John de Grooth

Groningen klimtoren Excalibur Kardinge

Excalibur is an aesthetically pleasing piece of architecture built exclusively to please and challenge climbers. Photo #20 by © Mieke Bosma

klimtoren Excalibur Kardinge

While you can clearly see the curves, when climbing it, you’d experience an overhang of 36 feet from the base. Photo #21 by © Mieke Bosma

Google translated the description as “For 3-day climbing course taught by Derk of Klimcentrum Bjoeks. The last day of the 4 students climbed the 37 meter high tower and we went abseiling down.” Video #1 by rogiervancann

“The amazing Excalibur tower at the Bjoeks Climbing Centre in Groningen, the Netherlands. At 37m tall this is the world’s current tallest free-standing climbing wall.” Video #2 by UKClimbing.com TV


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