Sport Climbing

Australia and Sport Climbing

There are over 300,000 Australians climbing at indoor sport climbing gyms around the country. The total number of competitive climbers registered with Sport Climbing Australia has tripled in the past seven years, and there are now approximately 1,200 competition climbing members, with the sport steadily growing at competitive and amateur levels.

Australia has had a few World Cup finalists over the years in the boulder discipline. The first to make this level was Samantha Berry. Berry was the Australian Champion for six years, the Asian X Games winner three times, and a four-time Oceania Cup title holder. James Kassay, the current National Boulder Champion, and Chris Webb-Parsons have also made World Cup finals.

Other athletes making their mark on the climbing scene include 18-year-old Campbell Harrison, the current national Open and Junior Men’s Lead Champion, Claire Langmore, the Female National Lead and Boulder Champion, Lucy Stirling, the reigning Oceania Lead Champion since 2013 and two-time World Cup participant and Roxy Perry, the current National Speed and Lead Champion

Olympic History

Tokyo 2020 is the first time Sports Climbing will be included in the Olympic programme.

Sport Format

In sport climbing, athletes compete in three disciplines: lead climbing, bouldering and speed climbing. At the Olympic Games each climber is required to compete in all three disciplines and the final ranking is determined by the combined results of the three disciplines.

Lead climbing is a height and distance competition within an eight-minute time frame. Athletes climb a fixed course on an overhanging wall. The further along the wall they travel, the more difficult the course becomes and therefore the aim is to cover the longest distance without falling off, or in the specific time frame.

In bouldering, athletes climb fixed routes on a wall of 5 metres or less. A round includes four or five sets of boulder problems/walls and climbers have a fixed amount of time to attempt each wall. Competitors are ranked by the number of walls they complete within the timeframe, with ties settled by the total number of attempts taken to solve the walls. Therefore, since climbers may keep trying to climb each route as long as it is within the time frame, it is important to climb in the least number of attempts as possible.

Speed climbing is a sprint race where athletes climb a fixed route on a 15-metre wall with holds. Climbers are informed in advance about the arrangement of the holds, and the climber with the fastest time wins.

Olympic History