The first climbing competition was held in Europe in the 1970s, and it was based on how fast a climber could get to the top of a climbing wall. While these events were held on natural rocks outdoors, they were seasonal because climbers could not safely climb during the winter.

Indoor climbing has rapidly gained popularity because of its diversity concerning terrain and weather and today there are over 500 indoor climbing competitions held every year around the world. The different types of competitions held are explained below in details.


wall17This type of competition involves short but difficult routes but require you to use a lot of strength to get to the top. A standard climbing wall used for bouldering is roughly 4 meters high, so there is no need for ropes when doing the climb.

The climber is timed and the speed that he or she reaches the top of the climbing wall is what is recorded. This creates excitement and adds to the thrill that climbers feel for this type of competition. One of the key aspects that climbers of this type of competition focus on during training is how to build their endurance and strength.


wall18In this type of climbing competition, competitors have different route alternatives to access the top of the wall. For every possible route, there is a point allocation system that is used to award points on completion. At the start of a climb, a climber is required to select which route they feel they will manage.

Even if the route selected proves to be more difficult than initially thought, a climber must use strategy to avoid dropping out of the race. The outcome of selecting an unmanageable route is burn-out and eventual fatigue before completing the climb. What many climbers do to earn points is to select an easy route and do the route twice. If they have extra time, they can try to attempt a more difficult route.


wall19This competing is popular for national and world championships. The event involves a two-step series:

  • Preview: competitors get to see a preview of how to maneuver the route placed before them.
  • Actual climb: climbing in this type of competition is done by a single climber at a time. The points they get after attempting the climb is determined by how fast they reach a certain height.

Speed Climbing

For any competitive sport to be worth watching, it is important that the element of speed is involved. In speed climbing, it does not matter how a climber manages the route, just that they are the first to reach the top. Even for climbing sports that have other types of climbing competitions, this is the most widely used for media coverage because it is bound to cause more excitement for the spectators.

To win in any climbing competition is it important to have invested time and effort in building endurance and practicing. Watching other people do the climb is a good way of borrowing techniques and perfecting that which you already know.