Feature Article - June 2008
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Helping Build Healthy Communities

Higher and Higher
New Climbing Walls Planned for 20.9 Percent of Y Respondents

While more than a third of respondents from YMCAs, YWCAs and JCCs reported that their facilities currently include climbing walls, an impressive 20.9 percent plan to add climbing walls within the next three years, and many were also planning to add climbing programming at their facilities.

Climbing walls were also the most popular amenity planned for addition over the next few years at health and fitness clubs.

USA Climbing, the national governing body of competition climbing in the United States, has reported steady growth in participation in its three competition disciplines: bouldering, sport and speed climbing. The organization says that participation has more than doubled from 2002-2003 to 2005-2006, with 65 percent of participants between the ages of 12 and 21.

Arising to meet the needs of this growing population of climbers is a certification program offered through the Climbing Wall Association (CWA) and the American Mountain Guides Association (AMGA). The two associations agreed in February of this year to establish a Climbing Wall Instructor (CWI) certification program for climbing instructors throughout North America.

The program has been piloted since April 2007 in Colorado, Massachusetts and North Carolina. The program addresses basic technical skills needed to manage an instructional program at a climbing facility, covering such topics as client orientation and instruction, teaching general climbing skills including movement, teaching top-rope and lead belaying techniques, equipment and facility use, and rescue and emergency procedures.

For more information, visit www.climbingwallindustry.org.