History of rock climbing

Although the practice of rock climbing was an important component of Victorian mountaineering in the Alps, it is generally thought that the sport of rock climbing began in the last quarter of the 19th century in at least three areas: Elbe Sandstone Mountains in Saxony near Dresden,[1] the Lake District of England,[2] and the Dolomites in Italy.[3] Rock climbing evolved gradually from an alpine necessity to an athletic sport in its own right, making it imprudent to cite a primogenitor of the latter in each of these three locales. Nevertheless, there is some general agreement on the following:

As rock climbing matured, a variety of grading systems were created in order to more accurately compare relative difficulties of climbs. Over the years both climbing techniques and the equipment climbers use to advance the sport have evolved in a steady fashion.

Some historical benchmarks

19th century

Napes Needle, first climbed by W P Haskett Smith in 1886

20th century












See also


  1. 1 2 Goldammer, Albert & Wächtler, Martin (1936). "Bergsteigen in Sachsen", Dresden
  2. Jones, Owen Glynne (1900). "Rock Climbing in the English Lake District", G. P. Abraham & Sons, Keswick
  3. 1 2 "Bergakrobaten: Die Dolomiten und die Erfindung des Kletterns", Città di Bolzano, Bolzano 2006
  4. Hankinson, Alan (1972). "The First Tigers", J. M. Dent & Sons, London
  5. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 Middendorf, John (1999). "The Mechanical Advantage". Ascent. Retrieved 19 March 2013.
  6. Martin, Martin (1703) "A Voyage to St. Kilda" in A Description of The Western Islands of Scotland. Retrieved 3 March 2007.
  7. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 A History of Free Climbing in America, Wizards of Rock by Pat Ament
  8. 1 2 3 4 Climbing in North America by Chris Jones
  9. Muir, John (1912). "The Yosemite".
  10. National Park Service. "Devils Tower Study".
  11. Craggs, Chris (2009). "Western Grit", Rockfax, Sheffield
  12. 1 2 Stone Crusade A Historical Guide to Bouldering In America by John Sherman
  13. 1 2 3 Hard rock climbs
  14. 1 2 3 Spirit of the Age by Pat Ament
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