Ahead of India’s first bouldering World Cup in the city, here’s all you need to know about the sport.
Climbing is described as the act of going up a mountain, hill, any steep terrain, or an artificial wall. It is also an international sport with disciplines that include indoor climbing, bouldering, sport climbing, traditional or trad climbing, ice climbing, and mountaineering.
Bouldering (the art of climbing small boulders or blocks of rock, or an artificial wall, usually without a rope) has around eight World Cups held each year in the discipline. It has been proposed as a new sport in the Asian Games 2018 and is shortlisted to feature in the 2020 Olympics.
Know the sport
The sport originated as a method of training for roped climbs and mountaineering. It enabled climbers to practise specific moves at a safe height. “In Mumbai, the sport can be traced back to 1954, when some professors and students of Bombay University began The Inter Collegiate Hikers Club (now Girivihar) to promote climbing to the hills and forts of the Sahyadris,” says Franco Linhares, president of the World Cup organising committee.
In competitions, participants who complete the climb in a stipulated time period are declared winners. “The grade of difficulty increases as you climb higher; holds become smaller and the angle of the wall becomes steep,” he explains.
Bouldering can take place both outdoors indoors. “For indoor climbing, artificial walls that are about 12 to 15 feet high are made of plywood or fibre board with foot and hand holds to climb, and mattresses below to prevent injuries,” he says. He adds that a number schools today are introducing the sport in their curriculum. “It helps increase confidence in students and channelises their energy.”