New Report Details Climbing’s Community and Impacts

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AAC State of Climbing Report
AAC State of Climbing Report
Photo: Ken Etzel / American Alpine Club.

The American Alpine Club recently released an extensive analysis of the entire climbing industry, known as the Climbing Report. The detailed chronicle, which can be accessed online at the link below, explores not only demographics of the climbing community, but the community—and the industry’s—impact on the larger American economy and the environment. Statistics included in the report range from the average ages of climbers (65 percent of which are between 18-35 years old) to the portion of outdoor climbing areas that exist on land managed by the federal government (57 percent). Climbing, on the whole, pumped $12,450,000,000 into the economy in 2017.

Of particular note to the indoor industry, specifically, is that indoor climbers make up more than half of the entire climbing population, and more than four percent of Americans climbed indoors last year. Also, the Climbing Report presents statistically less than one injury incident per 1,000 hours of participation at climbing gyms—which is less than the average injury rate for other facility-based fitness activities such as CrossFit.

To gather data and create the report, the American Alpine Club had help from a number of other non-profit organizations: The Access Fund, Climbing Wall Association, American Mountain Guides Association, USA Climbing, USA Ice Climbing, United States Ski Mountaineering Association, Outdoor Industry Association, The NPD Group, The Colorado Fourteeners Initiative, Brown Girls Climb, Latino Outdoors, Colorado Mountain Club, and Paradox Sports. The full report can be downloaded here from the American Alpine Club.