Climbing in Germany

Climbing in Germany

Image result for mountaineeringThe interest in rock climbing and bouldering increased strongly in the past years. This development is also reflected in the figures collected by the German Alpine Association (DAV) in various reader surveys and representative studies.

DAV & climbing

With its founding in 1869, the DAV can look back on almost 150 years of history. The DAV is the largest mountain climbing association in the world with currently more than 1.2 million members (as of December 2017). As a leading association for alpinism, the DAV is a member of the German Olympic Sports Confederation (DOSB); He is the responsible professional association for sport and competition climbing in Germany and supervises the national teams in climbing and ski mountaineering.

Climbing species

Climbing was originally an individual sport, today it has become a popular sport:

In the past, rock was the measure of all things; Artificial walls in halls were originally intended solely for training in alpine climbing. Climbing through routes in these artificial structures has only become a discipline over time. Today, the summit is no longer necessarily the goal, but rather climbing as such.

There are four different types of climbing today: indoor climbing and outdoor climbing, alpine climbing and bouldering. More information is available in the article Faszination Klettern .

With regard to the time required, sport climbing (in addition to biking / cycling) is the sport most intensively pursued by DAV members: Climbers enter the climbing gym on an average of 29.2 days per year. For comparison: outdoor sport climbing 15.3 days and alpine climbing 5.4 days. (according to DAV Panorama readers survey 2017)

The current climbing and bouldering scene in Germany

Image result for mountaineeringIn the (latest) reader survey of the DAV member magazine Panorama, 27 percent stated that they practice indoor sports climbing. 21 percent said they went outdoors for sport climbing. About 20 percent of DAV members boulder.

The number of those who run two or more disciplines is high and the intersection is correspondingly large. A previous study (climbing visitor survey of the DAV 2013) has shown that only about 6 percent bouldering exclusively. The DAV therefore assumes that about 1/3 of the members climbs. In other words, around 400,000 climbers and boulderers were organized in the Alpine Club in 2017. From a demand survey in 2013, the DAV knows that 76 percent of all climbers in halls are DAV members. If you take that today as a basis, you can close on over 500,000 sport climbers in Germany.

It can be assumed that the actual number of active boulders will even be significantly higher than indicated by the DAV surveys: Boulderers are certainly less active in the Alpine Club than climbers. In this respect, it may well be that the total number of climbers and boulderers in Germany is even significantly higher than 500,000.

The evolution of the climbing scene in the last 15 years

The DAV carries out reader surveys in the DAV member magazine Panorama at regular intervals. These also show how the activity numbers have developed in recent years:

The trend between the years 2004 and 2017 is clearly upwards – in both percentage and absolute terms: in 2004, about 18 percent of DAV members went climbing in halls; In 2017, it was 27 percent. At the same time, the number of members increased from 686,000 to 1,184,000. Sport climbing outdoor is about 20 percent of the members fairly constant over the years – with only slight fluctuations.

About two-thirds of the climbers (the visitor survey 2013) climb on the UIAA scale between grade V and grade VIII. And thus up to medium difficulty levels. The situation is similar with bouldering, here especially grades 5 to 7 on the Fb scale are achieved.

The same survey revealed that the average age of climbers is 35 years. 77 percent of climbers are 20-49 years old. Among the climbers, the proportion of men at 66 percent is significantly higher than the proportion of women (34 percent).

Around 500 climbing gyms in Germany

Image result for mountaineeringThe fact that climbing today is accessible to so many people and therefore a popular sport can be explained above all by the ever-increasing number of quickly accessible halls:

The DAV estimates the number of climbing gyms (with more than 100 square meters of climbing area) in 2018 to about 500. About 220 facilities are operated by the sections of the DAV, 200 more by commercial providers. The large climbing facilities are complemented by smaller walls, which were built, for example, in fitness centers, schools, universities or rehabilitation centers.

An overview of the DAV climbing facilities and most commercial facilities can be found in the climbing gyms search . Among other things, this overview makes it possible to search for the name of the climbing gym or even a radius search.

Need for climbing gyms multiplied

Just as the number of active people has increased dramatically in the last three decades, so has the number of climbing gyms:

With more than 100 square meters of climbing surface, the number of installations has grown by a factor of 25 compared to 1989. In Germany there were:

  • 20 plants in 1989
  • 180 plants in 2000
  • 440 plants in 2015
  • about 500 plants by the end of 2018

Of these, about 2/3 are (first and foremost) rope climbing halls; about 1/3 are pure Boulderhallen.

Between 2000 and 2010, an average of 18 plants per year were opened across Germany, after 2010 even an average of 24 plants. The number of bouldering halls has been growing faster in recent years than that of the rope climbing gyms.

The world’s largest climbing hall is still the climbing center Thalkirchen in Munich with 7,750 square meters of climbing area. A cozy bistro and a gallery with a direct view of the climbing walls as well as a roof terrace complete the climbing experience in Thalkirchen.