indoor & youth competition climbing

As with many sports, a major factor in climbing performance is the athlete’s mentality. Too much pressure, and the climber may crack. Too little, and the climber may lose focus and motivation. As a parent of a young climber, I struggle between encouraging my 10-year old son to his potential versus pushing him too hard. Given that my husband and I also climb, we easily fall into the trap of fixating on grades.

A 2007 literature review published in a sports medicine journal analyzed 50 scientific studies on common growth variables in young climbers. Based on injury data and existing published scientific evidence, the researchers recommended that climbers younger than 16 should not undertake intensive finger strength training (campus board training, closed crimps), and should not participate in international bouldering competitions.

Mental Aspects of Climbing

We may assume that climbing “accidents” should occur more often in beginners, but researchers found that about 17% of the accidents occurred with beginners (experience of <20 climbing days) while 53% climbing accidents were with climbers with “intermediate experience”, climbing about once a week. The "serious" climbers, logging 2-3 climbing days each week, experienced 20% of the injuries, and climbing “professionals” who teach belay and climbing skills had 10%

One of the key reasons why these researchers chose bouldering as a potential exercise-based intervention for depression is that bouldering focuses on many mental aspects in a climber. I personally attest to the benefits that climbing has had on my own mental health. Climbing allows me to focus on the “problem” I am working on, and as I began climbing harder problems, I have learned that failing and falling are a very common experiences. Rock climbing teaches me all the ways I can fail and fall every time I get on the wall.

2020-2022 USA Climbing Medical Committee: Member Expertise

As 2020-2022 chair for USAC Medical Committee, I want to highlight our committee members' expertise as they contribute their time and effort toward USAC's medical science priorities.

An original, debut documentary by Caroline Treadway. LIGHT reveals the hidden world of eating disorders in professional rock climbing as the filmmaker follows two best friends on their harrowing journey in a courageous narrative that breaks the silence about the sport’s darkest secret.

CREW: Director, Writer and Producer: Caroline Treadway @carolinelovesphotos Editor, Cinematographer and Producer: Chelsea Walsh @chelsea.wastaken Illustrator: Sarah Nicholson @petitepress Animation and Post Production Supervisor: Ted Distel @digitalstokemedia Original Music: Sorcha Cribben-Merrill @sorchacm Producer and Cinematographer: Colette McInerney @etteloc Trailer: Stav Halabe @stavlevyhalabe