World Library  
Flag as Inappropriate
Email this Article

Indoor climbing

Article Id: WHEBN0001194688
Reproduction Date:

Title: Indoor climbing  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: Climbing wall, Bouldering, Climbing shoe, Grade (climbing), List of climbing knots
Collection: Indoor Climbing, Types of Climbing
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia

Indoor climbing

Indoor climbing is an increasingly popular form of rock climbing performed on artificial structures that attempt to mimic the experience of outdoor rock. The first indoor climbing gym in the U.S. and Canada was established in Seattle in 1987 under the name of Vertical Club, Inc. It is now known as Vertical World, Inc., which has three gyms in the Puget Sound Area - Seattle, Redmond and Everett.

The proliferation of indoor climbing gyms has increased the accessibility, and thus the popularity, of the sport of climbing. Since environmental conditions (ranging from the structural integrity of the climbing surfaces, to equipment wear, to proper use of equipment) can be more controlled in such a setting, indoor climbing is perhaps a safer and more friendly introduction to the sport. Many rock gyms are settings for birthday parties and youth teams.

The first indoor walls tended to be made primarily of brick leaving little scope for interesting routes, as the steepness of the wall and variety of the hand holds were somewhat limited.[1] More recently, indoor climbing terrain is constructed of plywood over a metal frame, spray-coated with texture to simulate a rock face.

Indoor climbing has also seen an increase in popularity in areas with rainy climates where climbing outdoors is sometimes difficult. Besides offering an alternative during inclement weather, many working adults find that they can get to the gym after work and still climb even though it is too dark outside. In order to improve in any sport, consistent practice is crucial. With the advent of indoor climbing, weather, seasonal difficulties, and busy schedules are less of an obstacle to consistent improvement, and enjoyment of the sport.

Most climbing competitions are held in climbing gyms, making them a part of indoor climbing.


  • Compared to outdoor climbing 1
  • Climbing wall construction 2
  • Equipment 3
  • Route Setting 4
  • Setting Routes 5
  • See also 6
  • References 7
  • External links 8

Compared to outdoor climbing

There are a few differences in techniques, style and equipment between sport climbing outdoors and indoors. Climbing artificial climbing walls, especially indoors is much safer because of controlled environmental conditions. During indoor climbing, holds are easily visible in contrast with natural walls where finding a good hold or foothold may be a challenge. Climbers on artificial walls are somewhat restricted to the holds prepared by the route setter whereas on natural walls they can use every slope or crack in the surface of the wall. Some typical rock formations can be difficult to emulate on climbing walls.[2]

Climbing wall construction

The most common construction method involves screwing resin hand holds on to wooden boards. The boards can be of varying height & steepness (from completely horizontal 'roofs' to not even vertical 'slabs') and have a large variety of holds (such as very small 'crimps,' slanted-surfaced 'slopers,' and 'jugs,' which are often large and easy to hold) attached. This variety, coupled with the ability for the climbs to be changed by attaching the holds onto the wall differently, has resulted in indoor climbing becoming a very successful sport.


Proper climbing equipment must be used during indoor climbing.[3] Most climbing gyms lend harnesses, ropes and belay devices. Some also lend climbing shoes and chalk bags. Some climbing gyms require use of chalk balls (as opposed to loose chalk) to reduce chalk dust in the air and chalk spills when a chalk bag is tipped over or stepped on. Reducing chalk in the air helps to avoid clogging ventilation systems and reduces the dust that accumulates on less-than-vertical surfaces.

Route Setting

Each gym has a "designated" path to climb known as the "route". Each route is distinguished either by an indicated piece of tape or a monochromatic system of climbing holds. If the route is taped, each hold on your designated route will have the same color tape, indicating which holds to grab or step on. Some newer gyms have converted to the monochromatic system: instead of using colored tape as route indicators, this system uses the climbing holds. Each monochromatic route is set using holds of a corresponding color; thus, climbers follow the holds of a single color throughout the route.

Route-setting is the involvement and placement of climbing holds in a strategic, technical, and fun way that indicates how the route will flow. There are many different techniques involved with setting, and up to 5 levels of certifications are awarded to those qualified. Route setting can be defined as the back bone of indoor climbing; without a great set of routes, a gym cannot easily hope to keep a good hoard of climbers.

Setting Routes

There are various websites that allow you to access both your local gym's new and old set routes. You can then make a profile and monitor your own climbing success as well as watch others succeed in their climbs. Gym setters can update current wall sets, add various grades and allow climbers to leave comments. This allows gyms to maintain in close correspondence with the current routes and also receive feedback. Providing setters with feedback is one of the best methods of having styles change periodically to your liking.[4]

See also


  1. ^ "Scottish Climbing Wall History". Retrieved 2013-02-03. 
  2. ^ "What is Indoor Climbing?". 2011-06-02. Retrieved 2013-02-03. 
  3. ^ "Equipment". Retrieved 2013-02-03. 
  4. ^


External links

  • Climbing Wall Association - a 501(c)(06), non-profit, industry trade association
  • UBT Escalada - an indoor climbing gym in Brasília, Brazil
This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.

Copyright © World Library Foundation. All rights reserved. eBooks from Project Gutenberg are sponsored by the World Library Foundation,
a 501c(4) Member's Support Non-Profit Organization, and is NOT affiliated with any governmental agency or department.