Rock Climbing has been around since the first man met the rock. Rock
climbing has been a necessity for people traversing mountainous regions
throughout history. Ancient civilizations have lived and built their homes on or
in cliffs and rock ledges as a form of protection. There is pictorial evidence of
men climbing rocks in Chinese watercolors from 400 B.C. Rock climbing
techniques have been employed by several conquering armies throughout
history to not only transverse mountainous regions to invade areas, but also to
attack castles and other fortresses and breach the walls and defenses of these
Rock climbing has been a sport since the late 1800’s. The Victorian era is
well known as a period in time when nature and the study and exploration of the
natural world was extremely popular. This popular sport lead to rock climbing
as a sport. Before the 1880’s, rock climbing was known as being a component of
mountaineering and not a standalone sport. It was not until the 1950’s that the
general public began to perceive rock climbing as being a sport of its own. Up
until the 1950’s, rock climbing was perceived as having two functions. It was
seen as a component of mountain climbing and as a necessary part of traversing
some mountains, a means of obtaining the summit. Rock climbing was also seen
as a training activity as a way for mountain climbers to achieve fitness and
master their skills for the real challenge of mountain climbing.
Three of the earliest places for rock climbing world wide were Elbe
Sandstone Mountains in Germany, Lake District in England, and Dolomites in
Italy. Some of the most popular climbing sites in the United States are Cathedral
Peak in Tuolumne Meadows, California, Half Dome in Yosemite, California, and
Devils Tower, Wyoming. Some of the most popular places to climb in the world
are Red River Gorge in Stanton, Kentucky, Otter Cliff in Acadia National Park,
Maine, The Frankenjura in Bavaria, Germany, and Kalymnos Island in the
Dodecanese Islands, Greece.
There are many types and formats of climbing competitions. Each type of
competition can be done effectively on an indoor rock climbing wall or
outdoors. Some of these competitions include bouldering, speed climbing, red
point, on sight, flash, sanctioned vs. non-sanctioned, local, regional, national,
UIAA, the World Cup, and the World Championship. A bouldering competition
is known by short routes and high strength moves. This is type of climbing is
faster and more interesting for the audience and is preferred by many climbers.
Speed climbing is the most fun to watch and probably the most advertised.
Climbers compete against time to see who can reach the top of the route first.
Red Point climbing is a type of climbing that provides many different climbing
routes that consist of different levels of difficulty. On sight combing is used by
National and World Cup difficulty climbing events. Competitors are allowed
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