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University of Iowa Recreation Center

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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 

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Elevation: 800'
Location: 41.6576, -91.53822 View Map  Incorrect?
Page Views: 1,553
Administrators: Bill McKirgan, Kristine Hoffman (sitewide)
Submitted By: Bill McKirgan on Dec 14, 2013
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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 1.7 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

Ledges-on-the-Left 5.3 3+ 10 III 9 VD 3a  Iowa : Indoor Climbing Walls : University of Iowa Recreati...
Left-most route. The holds are huge and closely spaced. A fun game to play is to climb on only 'natural' features to the first ledge. Toprope TIP: Keep the rope snug at the start of all routes. A fall low on the wall can result in tagging the floor if the belayer doesn't account for rope stretch. Keep TR snug when climber is at the roof above the belay ledge.Can be lead but typically done on top rope. This route has a belay ledge for practicing multi-pitch climbing.This route as well as the nex...[more]   Browse More Classics in Iowa

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By Zabadoo
From: Grand Rapids, MI
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
From: Grand Rapids, MI
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
From: Grand Rapids, MI
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.

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