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Game of the Month: The Impossible Climb

Play “The Impossible Climb” at the practice after you have taught all of NICA's 101 climbing skills, and have given your student-athletes an opportunity to attempt a challenging climb that you designed. You will want to be intentional about using the name “impossible climb.” This name gives your riders permission to make mistakes and acknowledges that failure is part of the fun.

Hill or sloping climb in an open area


I can build a positive team culture. I can build timing, coordination, pressure control, steering, and climbing skills. I can have fun.


Provide student-athletes with materials to create the “impossible climb” – you can be creative with materials (use what you have on hand, or build up your coach toolkit with some of our examples below!)

Possible materials:
  • Section of PVC pipe, cut in half length-wise
  • Section of PVC pipe, cut in half length-wise, with added grip tape
  • Section of 2×4 wood on the ground
  • Tennis balls
  • Tall traffic cones
  • Buckets
  • Rubber chickens
  • Hula hoops
  • Bike tubes
  • Survey tape or course tape
  • Landscaping staples
  • Fake rocks

Student-athletes work together to place the materials on the hill to build something that no one is able to ride. All features have to be less than 18 inches high.

101 Skills

Bike body separation, shifting, standing climb, crouched climb, seated climb

201 Skills

Ratcheting, track stands


Add a switchback or other material to make it even more impossible!

Reflection Question

How did you work with your team to build the impossible climb?

Want to see the IMPOSSIBLE CLIMB in action? Check out this video from Wisconsin's Madison East MTB team.

Click to see more NICA games at The Trailhead!

NICA's entire collection of on- and off-the-bike games are available in full PDF form in the NICA Coach Resources. To access the coach resources, log into Pit Zone and click the “Courses, Resources, & Benefits” button. Use the resource links on the dashboard, or the search function at the top of the screen.