Is Climbing Getting More Popular? – (2022 Study)

In the past 3 months, we did a lot of public interviews and researched many sources that will let us decide if climbing is getting more popular. Because that is the question that makes us all confused, and no one can give a certain answer to this question.

So we as a team of climbing enthusiasts that are involved in bouldering since we were little, would like to give you all the proper answers that are related to this topic. But let’s get back to the beginning to help you understand what drives us to make this case study.

Our team recently decided to do something that will make us all proud of our work, so we spend a few days thinking about what should we write about to make our audience more informed about the topic that we all here love which is climbing.

So we decided to ask people who are involved in this sport because they are most likely going to help us create a great case study based on a certain question which is “Is climbing getting more popular?”. We even decided to visit a few popular climbing gyms in New York, we even asked people who we have met many climbers in the woods who were climbing local outdoor spots.

That’s why here in this article, we will gather all of the information that we were able to find all over the internet about climbing’s popularity, and also, involved some minor climbing communities to make our statistics more clear, so we are all set and let’s decide once and for all if climbing is getting more popular. We will get into the details later down in the text.

What do people say about climbing’s popularity?

A lot of people involved in climbing or bouldering think that it is growing in popularity and here are some most frequent reasons that people provide when answering the question “What do people say about climbing’s popularity“:

  • Climbing builds self-esteem.
  • Climbing is a great way to stay active and build a healthy-looking body.
  • You can climb in outdoor spots
  • Climbing can let you lose some body fat.
  • You can overcome your own limits by climbing.
  • It’s a perfect sport if you do it with your friends.

Those answers above are mainly right because those positives are great, but sometimes they miss something important that is often not enough to make this sport globally famous. Of course, there are a lot of climbing competitions worldwide, but there are a large group of people who don’t know that climbing even is a sport. And to understand this we will have to jump into the history of climbing.

What is the origin of climbing?

One theory is that humans began climbing to get closer to wildlife, in order to hunt them more effectively. Some say that it began as a way to get up to high places in order to collect food or shelter, while others believe that it originated from military training exercises.

Another theory suggests that early humans climbed trees to escape danger, such as lions or other predators. It’s also possible that humans began climbing simply because it was enjoyable, and provided a challenge.

Over the years, climbing has evolved into a popular sport, enjoyed by people from all over the world. It is an activity that has been around for centuries and is enjoyed by people all over the world right now in 2022.

Do people use Google to search for climbing?

How can we decide if something is getting popular without checking it on Google? It is the fastest way to get the most relevant data about what’s currently trending worldwide. In 2022 Google is one of the best sources of information, and that’s why we decided to check out first.

So just typing into Google “is climbing popular” can give you mixed opinions about this, that’s why the Google team created something called Google trends where you can check how popular a certain term was in the past, and here we will compare it with our data.

Unfortunately but data was gathered only from 2004 up to the day where this article is created and we have no further data about the exact term “climbing”. Internet is a great thing but the data from search engines was collected not that long ago. Also, you have to be aware that the internet is still a pretty new invention. Here below we put a graph from Google trends that show you how the exact term “climbing” was searched by people in the past 18 years.

Climbing getting more popular - Google Trends
Climbing getting more popular – Google Trends

This graph is based not only on a single term “climbing” but on every search term that involves this single word, so for example when any user types in the term “Is climbing scary for women?” it also counts as a single hit for the term “climbing”.

We can see on the graph that the trendline is slowly going upwards, but that upwards trend is barely visible, so we can even speak in this case about a flat line. We could even see the highest historical peak in 2004, but unfortunately, the chart can’t go back further.

The trend has had its lowest point in 2009 but also this year it started to rebound from the bottom. The growth is not increasing very fast, but we can notice small peaks in the summer of each year. If we would be able to look more at the past then this could be even higher.

We can expect the trendline to continue going upwards, which means that climbing is slowly getting more attention from people. It is worth mentioning that this chart is based on worldwide searches and not only in the US.

One thing is certain according to Google’s trendline, the climbing term is getting more searches than it was in 2009 and years onwards.

Bouldering - Google Trends
Bouldering – Google Trends

Here is also a graph that represents the term “bouldering” which is often used as a synonym for climbing, but in reality, those are totally separated things. As you can see both graphs are a bit similar because people use both “climbing” and “bouldering” to ask search engines the same questions. Bouldering trendline is way more curved which proves that in recent years it has been getting popular quickly, and we have a theory about that.

We suspect that people have been more interested in the past years in bouldering than climbing because most indoor gyms that are designed for climbers are in fact bouldering gyms. It also looks way safer than typical climbing, and that’s why normal people start with bouldering.

The above charts are based on the whole world searches and not only to the US, but they look very similar, even when we look at the whole 18 years of data.

Climbing United States – Google Trends
Climbing United States – Google Trends

Here is also a trend line based on only the US searches and as we can see it is very different from the charts above this one. This graph looks like the connection between those two above, but for most of us reading this article it is great that people from the US are starting to see something positive about climbing which makes it more popular in all of the United States.

What do people say online about climbing popularity?

We spend a lot of hours recently on popular forums like Reddit, Quora, and many more, where you can find a lot of people who are interested in bouldering and Climbing, and those places are great for looking for opinions about the popularity of our beloved outdoor and indoor activity. 

People are generally positive about climbing and its future popularity, and it is strictly related to how our modern society works. We tend to spend a lot of time in urban environments where our senses are getting blurry, and that is the biggest positive aspect of climbing and bouldering because it lets us feel that adrenaline.

Also, both of those sports give us a good dose of adrenaline, which is necessary for some people to stay calm for the next few hours. Climbing also let us overcome our own physical limits.

People tend to say that bouldering and climbing are recognizable all over the world but it is not practiced by many. The important fact is that people often don’t know that it is called “bouldering”, so they think that it has no name whatsoever, and call it simply “Climbing that rock” or something similar.

Do people think that climbing is getting less attention in 2022?

We did not limit ourselves to the work of other people and that’s why we also added a poll with specific questions to the sidebar of our site for a couple of weeks, and we did that to ask our audience about this topic. Here we will put specific questions that we have asked and percentages of specific answers to compare them.

Unfortunately, the poll is no longer available because we gathered data that we needed for this article, and instead, we have placed a new poll for another study, so if you would like to help us out then check out the current poll in the meantime, but more on that in the future. Let’s get back to “popularity” questions about climbing.

At first, we have to say that almost all of our website’s audience has made many climbing outdoor trips in their lives, which means that our audience is at least a bit experienced so the data can be a bit skewed by that, but it makes it a great place for those types of polls. We did ask 4 questions. The first question was “How old are you?“, to let ourselves compare it with others.

The second question was “Do you think that climbing is getting more popular?“. A simple question to get us the information about a person’s opinion about the popularity of this sport.

The third and fourth questions are connected with each other because they provide us with information about people who joined climbing and people who dropped out of climbing, so they were as follows “How many people have you been climbing with?“, and “How many people do you know who have lost interest in climbing?“. Those questions will let us decide if the climbing community is growing or decreasing.

Here is the table with comparisons of our data, we have split it based on the experience of a certain group of climbers. And also we have rounded the numbers in it to don’t get our audience too confused while they were answering those questions.

How old are you?Opinions about climbing’s popularityHow many people have you been climbing with?How many people do you know who have lost interest in climbing?
Less than 18 years oldClimbing is gaining popularityAround 20 peopleAround 10 people
18 – 24 years oldClimbing is gaining popularityAround 10 peopleAround 5 people
25 – 34 years oldClimbing is losing popularityAround 10 peopleAround 5 people
35 – 44 years oldClimbing is losing popularityAround 5 peopleAround 3 people
45 – 54 years oldClimbing is gaining popularityAround 20 peopleAround 20 people
55 years old and moreClimbing is gaining popularityAround 20 peopleAround 20 people
Climbing popularity poll

As you can see in the table above we have the data gathered from people with rounded answers. After many hours of diagnosing the data, we have come to the following conclusions.

The first thing that is very clear is that people in the middle age said that climbing is losing popularity, on the other hand, young people and also people above 45 years old said that it is gaining popularity. We suspect that people in middle age are less positive about the future of this sport because they had a lot more partners to climb with than people in middle age.

This is also proven by the number of people they have climbed with. The middle age group has the least number of people who have climbed with them. There is also a common belief that we have the least friends when we are in middle age, so this is another proof that those people don’t have many friends to climb with.

Another important thing that we have noticed is that the oldest group has the most friends to climb with and that’s because they have the most amount of experience in climbing so far. Also, Kids below 18 years old also have a lot of partners to climb with and that’s most likely because they joined some sort of group climbing sessions with other kids to train basics.

Also when we are younger we tend to visit climbing gyms with bigger groups of friends. The number of people who we have climbed with and people who dropped out of climbing is very similar after 55 years old, and that’s because as we grow older we don’t need new people to climb with, because we have experienced and are always ready people for that.

Should I be worried about climbing’s decreasing popularity?

Even if your conclusions are that climbing is decreasing in popularity, and you are involved in this sport then you should stay positive to make this even more popular in the future. Every single social media account about climbing is going to increase climbing’s popularity. Also, any viral video on platforms like TikTok and Instagram is going to help our favorite activity grow its fan base.

Climbing is one of the oldest sports in the world, and while it has been enjoyed by many over the years, its popularity may be on the decline. This could be due to a number of reasons, such as the high cost of equipment, the amount of time it takes to learn how to climb properly, or the dangers associated with the sport.

However, this does not mean that climbing is no longer a viable option for those looking for outdoor activities. In fact, there are many climbers who believe that climbing is more popular now than ever before. So should you be worried about climbing’s decreasing popularity? Probably not, but you should keep an open mind and be prepared for potential changes in the future.

Let’s summarize this up – Is climbing getting more popular?

The answer is not that simple but let’s draw some conclusions at the end, by connecting the dots that we have pointed out above, which are:

  • What people tend to say on the internet
  • What Google Trends have shown us for the past 18 years
  • Our personal climbing and bouldering poll

The most important here is Google’s data in our opinion because it is based on the largest group of people from all over the internet. But overall climbing getting more popular each year is a fact. The speed of the uptrend looks very healthy, especially in the US, and it doesn’t seem to stop growing in the next year. No one can be 100% sure what the future will show us, but climbing has been with us technically forever, so it is definitely going to stay with us until there will be beautiful and natural places to discover.

Note that there are still a lot of possible chances of climbing getting a big boost to its popularity and rising even higher than that peak from 2004 because we who are involved in this activity can help our beloved sport to grow in the eyes of people from all over the world. Maybe one of the future influencers will make it even more famous than it is today, and maybe one of those future influencers is you who are reading this article right now.

It’s important to acknowledge that many people prefer to climb alone, and there is nothing wrong with it, so if you are one of those people then you should check out our new article about it here “Can You Go To A Climbing Gym Alone? – (Is That Possible?)“.

We hope that now you are able to answer the question from the article’s topic “Is climbing getting more popular?” based on our study.

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