Climbing as a Physical Art Form

Source: the New Yorker, Jan 2016


In both sport climbing and bouldering, there are certain somewhat objective standards against which climbers can measure themselves. One is competition, on artificial climbing walls. In August, Ashima won gold medals in bouldering and sport climbing in the world championships, in Arco, Italy, in the fifteen-and-under bracket. She is not allowed to compete against adults in sanctioned competitions until she turns eighteen, but when she has competed against them in other contests she has beaten them. In Arco, she was the only climber, of any age, to top out (i.e., reach the top) on the four bouldering problems—three of them on the first try.


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