Designers, Engineers, Welders, Routers, Painters, and Sculptors - I never imagined all of the different skill sets it takes to create a climbing wall!  Not only that, the building of the wall requires materials from steel, concrete, fiberglass, lumber and elastomer companies, thus creating a positive impact to those industry economics.    Learn more from the Eldorado Climbing Walls video above. 

Below is a film from Louder Than Eleven, which provides an insider's look at rock climbing development.  It's a whopping 45 minutes long, but is very well done, has some great scenery and climbing shots.  Even if you can't watch the whole thing get in a few snippets now and then.  Enjoy!


Evolve shares their experience in creating a rock climbing shoe.

I decided to look up rock climbing on Wikipedia while reviewing this piece and wow, I was very surprized to learn what a varied sport climbing is.  There is Aid climbing, Free climbing, Bouldering, Solo climbing, Deep-water soloing, Free soloing, Roped solo climbing, and the list went on.  For the purposes here we are concentrating on Bouldering and Free climbing, Top-Rope climbing, and Lead climbing all of which can be done indoors and outdoors.  

Bouldering is a type of climbing where the climber does not use ropes or a harness because normally the climb is below 25 feet in height (and usually lower).  The routes are usually short and low.  Bouldering involves shorter sequence moves emphasizing  a handful of hard moves.  The climber must combine power with technique to conquer the difficult routes.  Boulderers usually use crash pads or padded mats to jump down on or to break the impact on landing for a fall.  The only equipment really needed for Bouldering are proper shoes, a chalk bag and padded mat.

Free climbing is the most common method to climb which does not mean "without a rope".  Free climbing certainly requires a rope but the equipment is used solely as protection from a fall, not as an aid to ascending the wall or rock.

Top Rope climbing is where a climber is attached to one end of a rope running from their harness, up to an anchor at the top of the cliff back down to a beylayer.  As the climber ascends, the belayer takes in the rope through the belay device.  In the case of a fall, the belayer locks off his or her belay device minimizing the climbers fall.  This is one of the safest forms of climbing and is seen generally in the gym.

Lead climbing is when the leader climbs up first to get the "rope up there".  The leader drags a rope up that is tied to the harness and is being handed out from beneath.  As the leader works his way up a wall he will put in protection.  If the leader falls, he will be caught by the belayer device of the follower (the person below him).  Lead climbing is different from Top Rope since the leader does not have an anchor above him while climbing.