Climbing Gyms and Social Transformation
Climbing gyms are innovative. Here we create our landscapes, we design our lines, we mould our holds and we unleash a new freedom to explore and invent a way of climbing bounded only by our imagination. The considerable spread of indoor facilities particularly within urban areas has brought the world of climbing to a wider community, giving access to increasingly diverse populations. Especially for people discovering climbing indoors, gyms are colourful and playful spaces inviting a demanding and scary engagement with themselves and their bodies. Not devoid of risks, climbing gyms are an opportunity for self-education reminiscent of the playgrounds of our youth. Offering such close proximity to one another, climbing gyms are powerful places where we learn by watching others fail and succeed, try and abandon, in delight and in despair, in grace or in agony, vulnerable or empowered, prestigious or unknown, joyful or reserved. Often acting as a door to nature, climbing gyms are an opportunity for raising environmental awareness. They raise an obligation to learn that natural holds are not man-made, that outdoor risks are distinct from indoor risks, or that the natural environment shall not be misconceived as a commercial space. Climbing gyms have a special responsibility for the transmission of climbing values, for the future of climbing and for the contribution of climbing to social transformation.