Ever heard of speed climbing? Well, you have now! Find out more about this unusual sport and everything it entails.
Speed Climbing: The Sport You Never Knew Existed
This up-and-coming sport has its roots deep in Russian competitive rock climbing. Climbing, like hiking, is typically a slow and contemplative practice. In speed climbing, it is not about the journey; it’s about the destination and how quickly you get there. Due to the fast-paced and thrilling nature of the sport, it has been attracting a sizeable audience from across the globe.
The sport’s popularity can also be attributed to its simplicity. If you have no experience in bouldering or sport climbing you are unlikely to appreciate the technical difficulty and physical exertion behind these forms of climbing but in speed climbing, you can understand that the fastest man wins and that is, in and of itself, an impressive and entertaining feat.
Is it Overtaking Other Forms of Climbing?
Speed climbing is becoming increasingly popular because it sates the modern generation’s desire for something that is electrifying, adrenaline-releasing, and most importantly, fast. Speed climbing’s appeal to compete at the next Olympic Games was approved. This speaks volumes to its legitimacy as an emerging sporting spectacle.
It might take a few years for speed climbing to become popular amongst casual climbers purely due to the fact that speed climbing gyms remain uncommon. It is not something that can be safely practiced at a bouldering or sport climbing gym and furthermore, a specific route is required for speed climbing so you could not train there even if you tried.
How Does it Work?
The rules of speed climbing are highly regulated by the International Federation of Sport Climbing (IFSC). A route is 15m high and is comprised of 11 foot holds and 20 hand holds. The overhang of the wall is 5 degrees, and it would take a professional speed climber about 10 seconds to reach the top. The rating of the route is 5.10 and for an experienced climber, it would take approximately 30 seconds.
As has been previously mentioned, there is a set, globally uniform route for speed climbing. It was designed by Jacky Godoffe, a French climber, in the early 2000s. You do not typically breath when speed climbing as the movements are so explosive that the act of breathing would only serve to slow you down. This contrasts sport climbing as here, controlling your breath is essential for every move. Most of the power comes from the legs which are trained to instinctively know where all the holds are.
It is interesting to note that since the same route has been used for many years, climbers have developed a beta that is more efficient and as a result, hold 16 is almost always skipped. It’s a winning formula, much like you may find in the casino slots Argentina offers. The world record is held by Iranian climber, Reza Alipour Shenazandifar, who completed the 15m climb in an impressive 5.48 seconds in 2017.
His strategy involved skipping hold number 4 and launching himself to number 5– a move that requires immense amounts of precision and power – and since, many professionals have adopted what is now known as ‘The Reza’.
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