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Legacy Series: John Gill Video

© John Gill/American Alpine Club

John Gill is widely considered to be the father of modern bouldering and responsible for the introduction of dynamic movement to the sport of climbing. Whilst his peers were looking to the big walls of Yosemite and Patagonia, Gill began to look to small, difficult climbs in the mid-1950s. With a background in gymnastics, he was interested in pushing the boundaries of what the human body was capable of on rock.

He placed emphasis on aesthetic form and grace of motion and challenged many of the norms held in the sport at the time. By 1959, he had climbed V9/7C and whilst he wasn't the first person to boulder, he certainly popularised the idea as a pursuit worthy in itself.

The American Alpine Club has taken a retrospective look at Gill's short, but influential bouldering years in this short film:


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23 Sep

Great video!

(& I hope to god I can do a few pull-ups when I'm 82!)

Wonderfully modest and sensible!

24 Sep

One of my true hero's a climbing mathematician specialisng in complex analysis (my favourite area, proper magic). He ruminated that climbing has a special appeal to the human ape as it was a core survival strategy when our species lived in trees on the edges of the savana. So be a good climber together with that wonderfull feeling of being in "the flow" on a climb is a product of evolution.

24 Sep

I'm trying to think if there was a British equivalent to John Gill back in the fifties and can't come up with anyone. It's not until the eighties before I heard of anyone who was primarily a boulderer rather than a route climber.

24 Sep

Al Manson maybe but not until the early 70s.

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