Feature Article - April 2007
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Altitude with Attitude

Building Your Climbing Business by Catering to Kids

By Stacy St. Clair

Discipline Definition

In the United States, competitive climbing competitions are governed by USA Climbing. The national governed body, which is sanctioned by the International Olympic Committee, promotes three disciplines: bouldering, sport and speed climbing.

Here's a quick look at the trio and what makes each of them unique—and challenging:


This style is like traditional rock climbing in many respects, except that it relies on permanent anchors affixed to the wall for protection. The discipline emphasizes gymnastic ability, strength and endurance.


An increasingly popular discipline, the sport pits climbers against one another in a race to the top. Climbers must be quick, smart and continuously thinking of their next move. Efficiency is essential, as the most proficient climbers often finish their route first.


Bouldering is undertaken without a rope. The height is usually limited to minimize the risk of injury. It's a higher-impact activity than other disciplines and relies more on individual moves than endurance. Because the climbs are usually shorter, boulder routes are referred to as "problems."

For more information on forming a team or how to enter patrons in competitions, contact USA Climbing at (888) 944-4244 or info@usaclimbing.org. Additional information can be found at www.usaclimbing.org