Gallery: Grain Silo in Iowa Converted into Soaring Ice Climbing Wall


There aren’t too many places to go ice climbing in the corn fields of Iowa, so avid climbers in the area have to get a little bit creative. Local climber Don Briggs took a staple of the landscape — a grain silo — and converted it into an ice climbing wall. The eight-story structure is covered with ice curtains that run along a large wall and opens every winter, provided that the temperatures are consistently below 26 degrees. The silo, which is located just outside Cedar Falls, Iowa, has become a climbing mecca in the middle of the Great Plains.

It’s been 12 years since Don Briggs, University of Northern Iowa professor and an avid climber received permission to ice the town grain silos and and transform them into climbing walls. Though his initial idea was to use the silos for rock climbing, Briggs decided to cover the structures with sheets of ice. In below-zero temperatures the water running down the wall drips and freezes to form giant ice curtains that are perfect for climbing. Each time water is added, the shape of the ice evolves. Depending on how fast the water froze and which direction the wind was blowing the silos can be transformed into various shapes. Over the years Briggs has developed an optimal system for covering the silos with ice and providing a fun and beautiful climbing surface for both beginners and experienced ice climbers.

+ Silo Ice Climbing

Via Gizmodo

Photos © Solo Ice Climbing


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1 Comment

  1. nato123678 March 11, 2013 at 9:47 pm

    Grain silos are the metal structures in the background. The concrete ones with metal rings are for sileage, a partially digested food for cattle (want the recipe? Take an entire corn plant, chop it up, add some anhydrous ammonia to keep it damp, and let it sit in a dark silo awhile microbes begin to break it down). Cows really dig the stuff.

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