Quick Intro: History Of Rock Climbing
The history of rock climbing, a sport which typically involves climbing up or across rocks, dates back to approximately 400 BC which was the time period when Chinese first painted men climbing up rocks with watercolors. The next significant event in the history of rock climbing was not until the 1300s. During this century, steps were carved into the Chaco Canyon in the southwestern United States to make it easier for people to climb the steep, rocky cliffs of the canyon. During the next several, rock climbing gained popularity throughout various parts of Europe, with a few notable ascents. Antoine de Ville ascended Mont Aiguille in France in 1492, and three centuries later, in 1786, Mont Blanc was first ascended by Jacque Balmat, and Michel Paccard. This is believed by many to mark the beginning of modern mountaineering. However, the history of rock climbing as we know it today took place in the 19th century, as tools for rock climbing were being developed and used.
In 1869, famous naturalist John Muir took the very first ascent up Cathedral Peak in Yosemite National Park. Just six years later, the Half Dome, also in Yosemite National Park, was first climbed by George Anderson. The history of rock climbing was also developing very much so in England during this time as well, and by the early 1900s, there were several hundred active rock climbers in the Elbsandstein region. By the 1930s, there were approximately 200 different climbing clubs in that area. The history of rock climbing continued during the next several decades, and a grading system was developed to show how difficult a climb was, and the tools and equipment used in rock climbing advanced, as did the techniques used by rock climbers. Many of the components of tools and equipment were developed in the 1940s during World War II.
Walter Bonatti, often considered one of the greatest climbers in history, made many of his famous climbs during the 1950s and 1960s, including difficult climbs in Himalaya, Patagonia, and the Alps. Royal Robbins, a pioneer of rock climbing in America, also made many of his climbs during this time period, many of which were in Yosemite, California. During the next few decades, the history of rock climbing continued as safer equipment was developed as was indoor rock climbing walls that are often safer than climbing natural rock formations. The history of rock climbing is still being formed to this day, as the sport of rock climbing continues to grow in popularity.