Sunday, January 13, 2013

Where have all the climbers gone?

This is to a certain extent a follow up to my post about the climbing scene, that post generated some interesting discussion and I hope this one will too.

Above is a chart I did up of IBL attendances over the last four years. From October '09 up to yesterday. I couldn't find the results for a few so they are missing. The point is that there is certainly no uptick in attendances at IBLs. The IBL is supposed to be the people's competition. Informal and social. 

So where is the bounce caused by the opening of the two new walls in Dublin? I don't think it really has materialised? Has there been an increase in the numbers going bouldering? I haven't seen it but that doesn't mean anything as I'm rarely in Glendo at weekends? Can anyone comment?

The bouldering forum on theshortspan is very quiet, the forum is mostly all lost+found and stuff for sale.

There is a lot of talk about climbing getting into the Olympics and how great this will be. Debatable I would think. In reality, from what I have read, climbing doesn't have a chance in hell of getting in. I have heard a lot of talk - from climbers - assuming it's a certainty. At best it's a 1 in 7 shot but in reality the odds are longer than that.

I don't see a lot of new routes been done. I was in the quarry a bit over the summer and it never seemed that busy.

Is Irish climbing in hibernation? Does anyone care? Do I have a point? No. 

EDIT added chronological chart.



  1. Does the righthand most column (12/13) represent the last IBL held, i.e. at Awesome, and if so, from the reults there were far more than 40-45 competitors?

    Also, I think that there are other forums out there now - Facebook for instance - that people post information on.

  2. No it doesn't. Awesome is the 4th from the right.

    I have seen the Irish climbers page on Facebook, is there any others?

  3. Ok, as the graph is not chronological, it's kindda hard to see the trend. Assuming that the peaks are Dublin-based rounds, I am not surprised that people don't travel to Middleton and Kerry for the rounds considering the costs associated with travel, entry etc.

    There are a lot of people reporting on their own facebook pages. I also don't think that people are necessarily posting to Irish Climbers either as most Irish climbers using FB are also friends with other using FB and I do see a lot of posts regarding 'Going climbing here or there if people are around' and the like.

    Personally, I don't think Irish Climbing is in hibernation. I think that it is a very hard thing to guage and there are national and local aspects to it. For me, and in Cork, I think that climbing is on the up, people climbing harder etc. The other side of this is the 'Bouldercise' element, i.e. people climbing at walls but not outside on the rocks.

  4. IBL attendance numbers are very much driven by the level of promotion and publicity and not necessarily a reflection of the general activity of climbers. You could perhaps say the same about I haven't being posting up as much as in other years and when someone is driving the content (or starting rows) then you will get a response. Perhaps with fuel costs in the €1.60-€1.70 a litre range there isn't as much appetite to drive all over the country every weekend like we used to (I remember 3 weekends out of 4 anyway). New routes have always been sparse. There's a constant small stream out of Donegal and I'm sure the likes of Gerry Moss and his mates are going strong and I'm sure Bell & Co are far from idle. Same as its been for a good while I'd reckon. In summary I'd like to think that Irish climbers are just doing their own thing and not necessarily making a big fuss over it. Maybe they are done with talking on forums. The Facebook group seems quite popular. Maybe not a huge amount of (interesting) content but there are a couple of people signing up every week, most weeks.

  5. There hasn't been the bounce, how many do these walls get to rhere in house comps.
    I would exspect at least an 18 month turn around to outside climbing.
    I think without the access to sport climbing it will always stay a minority sport in a small population.
    I also kinda like it that way. It was one of the draws ireland held for me. A small friendly climbing community very little ego.

  6. Everyone's comments makes sense. Apart from mine. The chart is shit Barry I'm sorry.

    I'm a nob.

  7. It would be interesting to see that graph in chronological order.

  8. Barry I have updated the post with a chart in chronological order, it's not that differnt. The previous chart was in order of season but reverse order within that season.

  9. Maybe this has something to do with it (courtesy of Danny O'Neil):

  10. Hardly the weather there was a stretch of roughly 6-8 weeks before Christmas where every weekend was climbable, most take the easy option and stay indoors.........

  11. Don't forget ex pat activity...I'm sure I'm not the only person who's left for economic reasons, and there are definitely folks who have been up to interesting things abroad. Though you're probably just referring to the domestic situation.

  12. Good point Paul. It sounds like you and other have been doing some good stuff over in North America.

  13. Cheers, its been good fun. I'm sure there have been folks on the inevitable Ryanair winter sun trips too. Don't forget the abberent species that is the Irish sport climber.

    I'm back for the first 2 weeks in march if anyone fancies a pint? It's a while away yet though.

  14. You might be home for the meet so, have provisionally booked the hut for the first weekend.

    1. Good stuff, that would be fantastic. Looking forward to it