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8 of the world's best climbing walls

Sept. 3, 2013, 1:22 p.m.
Cooling Tower at Wonderland Kalkar, Germany

Photo: Koetjuh/Wikimedia Commons

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Cooling Tower at Wonderland Kalkar, Germany

Originally built as a nuclear power plant (but never put online), this site in the far west of Germany has now been repurposed as an amusement park. The old cooling tower has the distinct shape that characterizes nuclear facilities around the world, with one noticeable difference: a large mural of a mountain landscape painted on the side. Look closer and you will see that the tower is also decorated with climbing routes. Standing about 130 feet high, this wall might not be one of the most challenging human-made climbs in Europe, but it certainly is one of the tallest. Get to the summit of the tower and you will come face to face with a large aerial swing ride. Wunderland is probably the best option in Europe if you want to find some after-climb fun. The surrounding park has bars, clubs and restaurants in addition to its climbing wall and rides.