"Why on earth do you climb mountains?"
"Because we're insane!"
Rock climbing as a general sport will be featured in the : "The climbing event will include three disiplines: sport, bouldering, and speed". Climbing is the integration of mental strength, physical strength, and physical technique and coordination. It's a very robust sport that appreciates all body types in that shorter people will have a very different, but just as valid, approach to solving a problem or route in comparison to someone who is much taller. Watching the Olympics in 2020 will be interesting, the winners will be determined by their scores on all three disciples as opposed to each individual disciple so the winner may not be exceptionally good at one discipline in particular, but well-rounded with regards to all three disciples. Speed climbing is the one 'discipline' that a lot of people take issue with, especially that it's being featured in the Olympics.
There are tons of variations of climbing 'flavors' or 'genres' so to speak, the main ones are sport, trad (short for traditional), and bouldering. Sport and trad climbing utilize a rope and a belayer as a means of safety when scaling a wall, whereas in bouldering climbers use a crash pad as a form of safety when scaling a much smaller problem that won't cause injury if they fall. Sport and trad are very similar in terms of athletic movement save for one intricacy being that trad climbers use protection that isn't physically bolted into a wall permanently.
A good resource for finding outdoor climbing routes near you is which is a user-populated resource for finding climbing routes in your area. It's very mobile friendly (it has an app) which lets you download content so that you can view routes and area information while out in the back country where you might not have service. A lot of the routes that populate mountain project come from physical guide books that would be made by locals and kind of distributed in a myriad of ways, but now most of them are becoming well known and accessible through Mountain Project. You'll notice the most popular route on Mountain Project right now is .
Rock climbing has a very rich history in the United States and has its connections to the beat generation. If you read Kerouac's Dharma Bums, Japhy Snyder is a literary parallel to Gary Snyder, the famed poet, activist, lecturer, and most importantly: rock climber. Patagonia, the now famous clothing company, originated as a steel works company making pitons for rock climbing.
is a great pseudo-documentary about the growth and development of rock climbing in Yosemite Valley, where popular climbing developed. And about Yvon Chouinard and Doug Tomkins trip to Patagonia is another great documentary about rock climbing culture in the US.
Rock climbing gyms are becoming very commonplace as well and more likely than not you can find a decent gym within biking/driving distance of where you live. Gyms are a great place to get acquainted with the sport and familiarize yourself with the sport. I spent my first 5-6 months rock climbing in a gym before I felt confident enough to climb outside/to have the gear to climb outside. They are also a great alternative to climbing outside when the weather doesn't allow it.
Last edited by JewTurk
on Wed Dec 14, 2016 5:24 pm, edited 1 time in total.