Climbing is an ancient activity that many people were doing in the mountainous regions of the Earth. Archeologists have found cliffside civilizations that belong to native tribes of the American Southwest, and the only way they could have gotten there was by climbing!
Three places get credited for being the birthplace of modern day climbing. These are the Dolomites of Northern Italy, Elbe Sandstone of Germany, and the Peak and Lake Districts of England. Here, free climbing and bouldering were practiced.
Free climbing is when you just use your body to get to the top of your objective. Ropes and different safety systems such as pads just in case you fall. This often gets mixed up with free soloing, which is going up an objective of great height without any equipment whatsoever.
Bouldering, on the other hand, is where you climb small boulders or cliffs and you are able to land safely. Climbers often use bouldering as a way to practice techniques that would be more dangerous to practice during free climbing.
This pursuit to test human potential eventually turned into sport climbing. There are three main disciplines of sport climbing: speed, bouldering, and lead.
In speed climbing, you and another competitor try to climb a 15 meter wall, that have identical routes, faster than each other. You must wait for the timer to go off or else you will be given a false start and be instantly disqualified.
In bouldering, you have 4 minutes to climb up a fixed route of a 4 meter wall as fast as you can.
Lead involves you climbing as high as you can up a 15 meter wall within 6 minutes. In this competition you will use a rope and there will be mats for safety precautions.
The sport continues to grow to this day and it will be added as an event for the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo!