History of Climbing
Climbing has become exceedingly popular as of late but that does not mean it is a new sport. Climbing has been around in various forms for centuries. Here is a very brief history.
In fact, if you believe in Darwin’s theory of evolution, we humans evolved right out of the trees where we climbed for survival. But you are not interested in that kind of stuff are you? You want to know what the sport of climbing is all about and why everyone is doing it…eh? Well, early climbers were interested primarily in the adventure and the spirituality of the endeavour…and climbing was not considered a sport. This was likely due to the very sketchy odds of living very long if you were a climber!
Rock climbing originated as a way of training for terrain one would encounter on much larger Alpine type climbs. The development of pitons (arrowhead-like pieces of steel pounded into cracks in the rock) broadened the appeal of rock climbing as there was now a way to secure anchors all the way up a climb (decreasing the chances of falling to the ground!). In the early 1980’s French climbers developed bolting (drilling and securing anchor bolts into the rock) and rap bolting (bolting on rappel from the top to the bottom vs. from the bottom up) thus sport climbing was born. These secure bolts allowed the pursuit of much more difficult terrain with much less fear of risking death.
Eventually, these shorter, harder routes, which tend to emphasize pure athletic and gymnastic abilities, grew in popularity. Today, some of the most difficult and popular climbs in the world are less than 50 feet long and with the advent of indoor gyms and the growing popularity of climbing, difficulty standards have increased to levels unheard of only 20 years ago.
Climbing is for everyone.