Agricultural alpinism? Grain silo in Iowa converted to Ice Climbing wall

Each winter, hundreds of climbers flock to Rusty Leymaster’s farm just outside Cedar Falls, Iowa, to try their hand at Silo Ice Climbing. It started in 2001 when Don Briggs, a University of Northern Iowa professor, hooked up hoses to convert an old farm silo normally used to hold bulk grains. Water dripped and froze in immense curtains, and soon Briggs had his very own ice climbing mecca in the middle of the Great Plains. It’s now open weekends all winter. A day pass is $35. Check out the bizarre scene below, where climbers wield axes to kick and swing on manmade ice eight stories high in the Iowan sky. —Amy Oberbroeckling

Iowa Ice Silo .jpg

Photo by Andy Rowland

Climbing Iowa Style.jpg

Photo by Andy Rowland

Ice Silo Kelsey .jpg

Photo by Mike Loots

Ice Climbing Top .jpg

Photo by Mike Loots

Ice Climbers Lounge.jpg

Don Briggs and his wife Dianna.jpg

Don Briggs and his wife Dianna pose after a climb; Photo by Andy Rowland

Child Ice Silo.jpg

Photo by Andy Rowland

Richard Honzatko climbing the flat land.jpg

Ice Silo and Farm.jpg

Photo by Andy Rowland

Ice Climber + Field .jpg

Photo by Mike Loots

A Ice Silo Night Sky.jpg

Night Ice Silo with Group.jpg

In the night! Photo by Andy Rowland

Posted by Brian - 03/06/2013 08:53 PM

Upper Limits in Bloomington IL has done this for years, well except recent years it hasn’t been cold enough.

They converted their 6 silo grain tower into an indoor rock gym & do ice on the outside, in the summer you can rappel or climb the 100 ft exterior wall as well.

Posted by Jim - 03/11/2013 07:07 AM

I should correct your original use of the silo. I am pretty sure it was used to store silage, not grain. Concrete stave silos make very poor grain storage.

Add Comment

  1. Add link by using "LinkText":