Friday, March 18, 2011

Has Climbing Peaked?

According to the most recent recreation survey of the U.S., there’s been a decline in the number of young people climbing.

“Looking at this data, which is, of course, incomplete, indicates that climbing has passed its peak, at least for now. The sport grew considerably from 1990 when indoor climbing gyms became popular and served as an introduction to a lot of tyros to climbing. Now it appears there is a lessening of recreational climbers as the ones who came of age in the last 15 to 20 years have begun to settle down to careers and family responsibilities.”

I was a little surprised that the number of people who call themselves climbers was this high. Here’s a more detailed breakdown:

Overall 2009 participation in rock climbing, including bouldering, sport climbing, indoor climbing, traditional climbing, and mountaineering was 6,148,000 Americans or 2.7% of the population six years and older. It broke down to 4,313,000 participants in bouldering, sport climbing, and indoor climbing, and 1,835,000 in trad climbing and mountaineering.”

I wonder how many indoor only vs outdoor climbers are represented in these numbers. It appears as though you won’t find crowds of people trad climbing or mountaineering.

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