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For years climbing enthusiasts have flocked to popular spots such as Yosemite National Park, Railay Beach in Thailand, and Joshua Tree to push themselves. Now there’s a new zenith to reach and it’s located in a surprising destination: Copenhagen. The BIG-designed CopenHill power plant, which has garnered headlines for everything from its ski slope to sustainable design—is now home to the world’s tallest artificial climbing wall.

Standing 85 meters—or 279 feet—tall, the climbing wall is the latest phase of CopenHill to open. “The climbing wall is located on the tallest corner of the waste-to-energy plant, which is also the busiest corner of the building where skiers, joggers, and workers all cross each other during the day,” says Jakob Lange, a partner at BIG. The wall was designed in partnership with Walltopia, a Bulgaria-based company that has created climbing structures in 70 countries around the world. Safety was a top priority, and the wall was designed to meet European climbing standards. BIG also sought input from pros. “We teamed up with the Danish Climbing Association to ensure input from the most skilled climbers in the country,” Lange says.

Two images show the climbing wall from different vantage points. 

All images are courtesy of Walltopia

While the wall was meant to be a standout feature, the team didn’t want it to stand out too much aesthetically. “From BIG’s point of view, we wanted to create a climbing wall that was truly integrated into the architecture,” says Lange. “The waste-to-energy plant’s façade is built from large aluminum bricks that allow daylight to enter the plant, and we therefore invented a semitransparent climbing wall with two-thirds solid panels and one-third acrylic windows for the climbing route setters to integrate in their lines.” The team devised fiberglass panels that would complement the aluminum bricks but have a better climbing surface. The acrylic windows allow climbers to peek inside the power plant.

The wall is made of fiberglass panels, so that the addition would better complement the aluminum bricks already in place.

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The wall is split up into four sections, each about 65 feet. “This is not a typical wall, says Vasil Sharlanov, head of sales at Walltopia. “For example, [normally] when you climb, you rely on the rope and belayer to protect you in case you fall. However, there isn't a rope that's long enough to climb such a high wall.” Climbers stop on a ledge at the top of each zone and can rest and pull up the rope.

ag棋牌地址Copenhagen's CopenHill power plant will feature the world's tallest climbing wall, geared toward experienced climbers.

Installing the wall was another major challenge. Usually, Walltopia uses boom lifts; however, the highest boom lift is only able to go about 130 feet high. The team had to install a special lift that was attached to the façade, and rather than working from bottom to top, they installed the wall from the top down, disassembling the lift as they went. While the wall itself was finished last year, Walltopia waited to install the routes until the spring. They were supposed to be installed in March, but installation was postponed until May and June due to COVID-19.

ag棋牌地址“This wall is more meant for more advanced users, just given the size of it, says Sharlanov. “But on the other hand, we wanted to have a little bit of variety, so it has a couple of different lines. Those that are on the sides are easier, and those that are in the very middle of the wall are more challenging.” The routes will change frequently so climbers can face new challenges with each visit.