Just because the state of Iowa doesn’t have the dominating peaks that dot the horizon of the west coast, doesn’t mean you can’t find some high-flying adventure amongst the cornfields. No better example of that can be found than the frozen ice silo located just outside of the University of Northern Iowa’s campus in Cedar Falls, just over an hour from Iowa City, at the state’s most famous corn silo, which is ready for you to climb at the top.
You heard it right, and no this isn’t a “natural” ice sculpture, but the Ice Silo in Cedar Falls is a carefully regulated and construction ice waterfall that participants, with a little help from the volunteers who work it, can rope in, borrow some ice axes, and make their way to the top. Thanks to the work of local volunteers, including ringleader Don Briggs, associate professor at UNI, the Ice Silo is a nationwide attraction drawing in 100’s of adventurers new and old to the rural suburbs of Cedar Falls to test their grit against Old Man Winter. With a little extra info, and the prevailing cold weather, the Ice Silo could very well be your next adventure come true.
The Ice Silo is open every weekend as long as the weather stays cold enough. An all-day climbing pass will cost you $35 and includes rentals of all the equipment you need (harness, helmet, ice axes & crampons), plus access to the “warming hut” where you can sip Hot Tang and bring life back into your fingers, as well as trained volunteers that will happily belay you on rope and yell out any beta you might be looking for. All you need to bring with you is yourself, appropriate clothing (the ice wall can be wet on sunny winter days), and a willingness to have some fun.
For more information, including opening & closing information, be sure to rappel on over to Silo Ice Climbing.com, and whatever you decide to do this weekend, be sure it’s worth talking about around the water cooler next Monday morning.