Speed climbing is done on outdoor rocks, indoor walls, and even poles—and fast time is everything.
"Climbing is one of the basic human movements," says Marco Maria Scolaris, president of the International Federation of Sports Climbing. "We climb before we're able to stand up and walk."
Although the sport has existed unofficially for years, the IFSC was not created until 2007. Today, over 50 countries participate in the World Championships. The IFSC is aiming for Olympic consideration in the future.
Several years ago, speed climbing made its mark on YouTube, via a viral video of Dan Osman climbing the technical "Bear's Reach" route on Lover's Leap near Lake Tahoe, California. Osman climbed over 400 feet in 4 minutes, 25 seconds, without the use of ropes or safety gear. He died in 1998 in a failed rope accident during a "controlled free fall" jump in Yosemite National Park.
Earlier this year, John Brosler set the North American record for speed climbing—in a safe, indoor setting. In the video below, Brosler scales a 10-meter wall like a spider in 3.95 seconds.
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