Sign Up  |   Log In:Login with Facebook
REI Community
University of Iowa Recreation Center

Routes Sorted
L to R R to L Alpha
Floor-to-Ceiling Crack S,TR 
Ledges-on-the-Left S,TR 
Right-most-Arete S,TR 

University of Iowa Recreation Center Rock Climbing 

Photos:  Recent | Best | Popular
Elevation: 800'
Location: 41.6576, -91.53822 View Map  Incorrect?
Page Views: 1,195
Administrators: Bill McKirgan, Kristine Hoffman (sitewide)
Submitted By: Bill McKirgan on Dec 14, 2013
You & This Area
Best climbs for YOU in this area
Your opinion of this PAGE:    [1 person likes this page.]
BETA PHOTO: Climbing wall at the rec center


The facility features a bouldering area and 50-foot climbing wall with about a dozen top rope routes ranging from easy to very difficult. The left side is the practice area, and has easier climbs including a ledge. The center has the hardest climbs with several roof features and constant overhang. Right of center routes are not as overhanging and there is a prominent crack that ranges from hands to off-width.

Each route has a series of bolts for lead climbing. Route holds are moved periodically to keep things interesting. Training is available at a cost. Annnual re-certification costs less. Different training and certification is required for top roping vs lead climbing.

The wall has many nice features built into it. It is equipped with floor anchors for light belayers. The bouldering area is well padded. One can get a foot in between pads and twist an arm or leg. Attentive spotting is important for those attempting the higher more overhanging problems.

The climbing facility at the University of Iowa Recreation Center is open to Iowa students, faculty and staff as well as the general public. Anyone may pay for a day pass or membership at the entrance of the building.

Getting There 

Located in Iowa City on the southwest corner of Burlington and Madison Streets.

Climbing Season

For the All Locations area.

Weather station 1.3 miles from here

3 Total Climbing Routes

['4 Stars',1],['3 Stars',1],['2 Stars',0],['1 Star',1],['Bomb',0]

Featured Route For University of Iowa Recreation Center

Right-most-Arete 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a  IA : Indoor Climbing Walls : University of Iowa Recreati...
This is the right-most route on the wall. This route and the one to the left has many 'natural' features, and plastic holds are typically spread-out. This climb provides a good sense of exposure, and the top provides a good view of the length of the wall....[more]   Browse More Classics in IA

Photos of University of Iowa Recreation Center Slideshow Add Photo
Rock Climbing Photo: Climbing wall
BETA PHOTO: Climbing wall

Comments on University of Iowa Recreation Center Add Comment
Show which comments
By Zabadoo
Jan 17, 2015
Reading the UI website it seems like it would take more than one lesson to actually start climbing. I am going to be visiting Iowa City for business in a couple of weeks and I wanted to bring some non-climbing colleagues. Would they be able to climb that same night? Will I be able to climb even though I could show proficiency with any of the basic skills needed?
By Bill McKirgan
From: Cedar Rapids, IA
Jan 18, 2015

I hope you get a chance to try it out as the wall is very nice with crack and pocket features in addition to holds bolted to the wall. You might try emailing to verify your options.

I don't work there, but I have climbed there many times. The routine is to ask to pay for climbing instruction (top rope) along with your day pass as you walk in the main entrance. Then a week later you may take the safety check at no extra cost. You will still need to pay the day pass fee or have a membership on the day you take the safety check. I suppose you will not be in town for more than a week.

Alternatively, you may pay for 'try a climb' in addition to the day pass as you enter the facility. You and your colleagues may do this; however, the staff may insist on belaying everyone in your party.

If you bring your shoes and harness and belay device you will save money on rental. You may also bring a chalk bag as long as the chalk is packed in a fabric ball.

Wishing you a fun and safe visit!
By Zabadoo
Jan 19, 2015
I called and it turns out that you can pay an extra $5 on top of the day pass price (It's called "try climbs") and get a staff member to belay you. I hope to go this week if the business trip planning plays nice.
By Bill McKirgan
From: Cedar Rapids, IA
Jan 23, 2015

Hope you get a chance to try it out. The wall has many nice features to use in addition to the bolted-on holds.
By Zabadoo
Jan 25, 2015
I did get a chance to climb. I was able to "test out" of the class requirements and able to top rope climb that same night. It was a fantastic indoor wall, with well thought out routes. Staff was friendly and the community of folks were inviting.

The Definitive
Climbing Resource

Inspiration & Motivation
to Fuel Your Run

Next Generation Mountain
Bike Trail Maps

Backcountry, Sidecountry
& Secret Stashes

Better Data. Better Tools.
Better Hikes!