Sport Climbing


Sport climbing is an indoor or outdoor sport in which climbers ascend vertical walls using ropes, harnesses, grips and anchors. The sport demands stamina, strength and technique.  

Mountain climbing has been around for centuries. In ancient times, there was motivation to ascend mountains to hunt for spirits or spy on enemies. During the 18th century, many philosophers and scientists began performing field trips to the glaciers on top of giant mountains.

However, sport climbing today is less about summiting mountains and more about climbing technical routes up slabs. Rock climbing flourished as a recreational activity in the 1800s. And it became even more technical and competitive through the 20th century with the advents of bolts and rappelling. The equipment today includes a dynamic rope, quickdraws, a belay device, a climbing harness for belayer and climber, climbing shoes, and chalk for grip. 

Sport climbing is being added to the 2020 Summer Olympics after a successful test at the 2018 Youth Olympics. In the competitions, artificial structures are used with set predetermined routes. The biggest event in the sport is the Climbing World Championship (held every other year) and the Climbing World Cup, held annually. Both are governed by the International Federation of Sport Climbing (IFSC). 

Main types of competitive climbing formats: 

•    Lead –these are longer climbs on predetermined routes that require lead climbers to add protections by clipping their rope into quickdraws, as they ascend the wall. They usually get one attempt and set a time of a few minutes to get as far along the route as possible. 

•    Speed – The climb has to be made as quickly as possible.

•    Bouldering – Climbing short walls without the support of ropes. A route can be attempted more than once.