UKC

Climbing popularity

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 Calum Elliot 24 Nov 2021

I keep hearing people saying climbing (specifically indoor climbing) is the fastest growing sport in the UK. When I've sat down today to find statistics I can't find anything. Is this just a hearsay rather than fact? To give context I'm currently writing an assignment and looking for a (reliable) reference. 

Post edited at 17:17
 PaulJepson 24 Nov 2021
In reply to Calum Elliot:

Have you tried sport england? They were cited in the BMC's article about people engaging in hill-walking and climbing in this article: https://www.thebmc.co.uk/new-figures-show-huge-popularity-of-hill-walking

I remember reading it in a Summit mag and thinking it was mad that hill-walking and climbing were more popular than football. 

In reply to Calum Elliot:

When I first moved to Sheffield 10 or 12 years ago there was 2.5 climbing Walls.  If we went climbing at the edge or foundry during the day we would often be the only people there. 

There is now 5 walls in Sheffield, all busy at any time. I go to the Depot at 6am, three times a week. There are usually between 5-10 others there at that time. Indoor climbing is most definitely becoming more and more popular!!

No discernable change at the crag though (apart from an increase in Night Bouldering now that lamps are much better).

 steve_gibbs 24 Nov 2021
In reply to Calum Elliot:

Increased in popularity in descending order:

  1. Indoor bouldering
  2. Indoor roped 
  3. Outdoor sport 
  4. Outdoor bouldering
  5. Outdoor trad 

Back in 2010, Bristol had one indoor wall, now there’s five (two roped, three bouldering)! Certainly more outdoor sport climbers too, but alas trad might be less popular than 3-4 decades ago. Shame, as most the beautiful locations to climb across the U.K. are trad! Not sure where Alpinism fits in the pecking order.

Post edited at 18:36
 Arms Cliff 24 Nov 2021
In reply to steve_gibbs:

> Shame, as most the beautiful locations to climb across the U.K. are trad! Not sure where Alpinism fits in the pecking order.

Surely it's not a shame if everyone is doing what they want to be, and a bonus as a trad climber as all those beautiful locations are also quieter!

In reply to steve_gibbs:

> Increased in popularity in descending order:

> Indoor bouldering

> Indoor roped 

> Outdoor sport 

> Outdoor bouldering

> Outdoor trad 

> Back in 2010, Bristol had one indoor wall, now there’s five (two roped, three bouldering)! Certainly more outdoor sport climbers too, but alas trad might be less popular than 3-4 decades ago. Shame, as most the beautiful locations to climb across the U.K. are trad! Not sure where Alpinism fits in the pecking order.

My climbing preference is that list in reverse order! For the reasons you already mentioned , the beautiful locations that climbing outside takes you to. We were sat under a climb having a cuppa at Bamford Edge yesterday after a great day of trad and it never ceases to amaze me how lucky we are to have the beautiful mountains and moorland to climb in. 
I don’t mind climbing on plastic when the conditions / time etc. stop me getting outside but it does amaze me how many people at indoor walls seem to have no desire to climb / boulder on rock. 
Each to there own and not at all a criticism, but as a still pretty novice climber I have spent the last 2 years working my way up from leading Diff/VD to VS, Onsighted my first HVS yesterday and I am still buzzing about it!  I have had some amazingly magical times trad climbing, and think everyone should at least give outside climbing a go.

 Calum Elliot 26 Nov 2021
In reply to PaulJepson:

Perfects, the 'Active Lives' survey they quote is exactly what I was looking for. 

Thanks for that.

 Calum Elliot 26 Nov 2021
In reply to deacondeacon:

Thanks for the reply. I've no doubt it's getting more popular, I've seen it myself at the local wall. Guess I was more questioning the idea that it's one of the "fastest growing sport" in the UK. Really interesting that you've not noticed an increase in how busy the crags are.

 Flinticus 26 Nov 2021
In reply to Kryank:

Its not difficult to figure out:

Travel time

Weather

Daylight hours

Indoor bouldering = no need for partner and its casual. Drop in and you'll probably met an acquaintance.

Challenging problems Vs a probable lack of climbs within grade and in condition (during Lockdown I visited several outdoor bouldering spots and most problems are either too easy or too hard, overgrown or surrounded by rubbish (quarries!). I go to two walls which regularly changes c30 problems that give me something to bite into.

Views and the great outdoors - you'll see more walking than climbing! And not freeze your ass off waiting while your partner faffs at a belay etc.

If you don't live close to good quality and extensive outdoor bouldering, the appeal is clear, especially in urban areas are where centres are generally located. They are popular for many reasons.

Post edited at 18:53

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