History Of Climbing Walls


History Of Climbing Walls

If someone intends to evolve in the activity of climbing walls, sportingly speaking, it is imperative that he trains hard. There is no magic formula. Even those “touched by God”, if they are based only on the born abilities they possess, will not progress in the sport. About 15 or 20 years ago, many practitioners believed that climbing walls only on the rock would be enough to evolve.

History Of Climbing Walls
History Of Climbing Walls

The Origin Of Climbing Walls

The goal of a gym or climbing wall is simple: allow your assistants to train their skills in sports. Therefore, socially speaking, where there is a restless climber because he cannot climb, there is potential to open a gym.

For an establishment to be considered a climbing gym, it must necessarily have a wall. In history, the first climbing walls of which we have news were built with concrete surfaces. In the secured stones were placed in various positions. It is believed that the first climbing wall in history was mounted in the United States in 1939 in the city of Seattle.

The Arrival Of Climbing Walls

Now, the first artificial climbing wall structure took place in 1960 at The Ullswater School in Penrith, England. The wall was in a new climbing gym, and bricks and stones found usage as grips. In addition, there was a bar at the top of the wall to train top-rope.

One of the most famous climbing walls, which bears the myth of being the first, dates from 1964 and is located in the British city of Leeds. The structure was assembled by physical education professor Mr. Robinson in a corridor at the University of Leeds. This “myth” was created and propagated by Robinson with the aim of being recognized as the “father of matter.”

Alternative Natural Options

But long before Mr. Robinson’s wall, two other walls had openings in England: Royal Wolverhampton School in West Midlands (1961) and The Meadow Boys Club in Nottingham (1962). Both structures followed the logic of the Ullswater School. The Nottingham wall was the first to use a metal structure that mimicked the design of a roof.

Artificial walls quickly became popular, showing itself as a good business niche to explore. Later, in 1975, the Briton, Mr. Robinson, founded the DR International Climbing Walls. Around the same year, another company specializing in climbing walls took formation, which was Bendcrete Climbing Walls Ltd.

Innovation In Artificial Walls

One of the greatest inventions of climbing walls, resin grips (holds), arrived in 1983 by the French company Entre Prises. A short time later, the American company Metolius also began to produce grips more industrially. The molds were made of clay and then filled with resin.

What the Eighties Brought

In the early ’80s, some companies explored various types of methodologies to design the shapes of the grips. Some inspired directly by natural rock, but these formats ended up injuring climbers. Over time, the main companies used the system until today: the grip mold is of foam for latter reproduction in a polyester resin. However, one of the great dangers of these first climbing grips were polyester resin vapors that are highly toxic and polluting. Currently, with the evolution of building materials, companies use polyurethane.

Straight Up Holds

The Straight Up Holds company created a construction system implemented by a student at the Rhode Island School of Design. The student introduced the use of high density expanded foam modeling. But the big change in the manufacturing of climbing handles was not just about the type of material.

Over time, grip designers also began to worry about ergonomics. This is how the number of injuries decreased and provided greater athletic development in climbers. Currently, the main concern of shapers (designers of climbing handles) is to provide the minimum of pain with the greatest degree of fun.

Dynamics In Climbing Walls

Another great evolution of indoor climbing was the possibility of assembling, that is, changing the positions of the grips on the wall. When the first resin grips appeared, the possibility of screwing them into the wall was born. In this way, you could play with the entire surface of the wall, allowing an infinity of variations. This is how the “ route setters ” or shipowners emerged.

History Of Climbing Walls
History Of Climbing Walls

Almost 15 years after the rise of the first climbing walls, the first climbing academy in history make its apparition. The opening also took place in England, in the city of Sheffield in 1975. People consider it one of the capitals where the greatest amount of rock climbing in England has taken place.

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