Diga di Luzzone is considered to be the Everest of wall climbing. The 540-foot artificial structure is the tallest vertical climbing wall in the world. It is actually part of the functioning Luzzone dam, but while it was never built for climbing thrill-seekers around the world have made it their own. Nestled among the Alps, the wall offers a terrific view of the surroundings, although climbers don’t really get much time to enjoy it.
Access to the Diga di Luzzone costs about 20 CHF, which is quite cheap. The cost includes a ladder that you can use to gain the first 20 ft. right up to the holds of the first pitch. There are five pitches in total – each one long enough for you to feel the weight of the rope as you clip the higher bolts. Look down, and the exposure is simply mind blowing. All through the climb, you are exposed to the elements, making the man-made route feel as natural as possible.
The first pitch is the easiest of all, with a climbing grade of 5.7. It wanders left and is described as an entertaining experience because you get to watch the person behind you figure out how to secure the ladder and continue the climb. The second pitch is tougher, with a grade of 5.8, as the wall starts to curve back. On the third pitch (5.10a), climbers slowly trend left and about mid-way, traverse left for 10 ft. before moving upwards again.
The fourth pitch, also a 5.10a, goes straight up. At this point you can take a peek down to really enjoy the exposure. And then you get to the fifth and final pitch (5.10b), where you’re just shy of the top. You can faintly hear the crowd below cheering you on. Once you reach the very top, you are free to graciously accept applauds from all the onlookers. This is when you get to enjoy your 15 minutes of fame.
Diga di Luzzone is meant for thrill-seekers looking for the ultimate non-natural climbing experience. There really is no other wall that comes close!