With some of biggest and baddest mountain ranges on the planet, its no wonder why Europe is the birthplace of modern climbing and the centre of the sport climbing world. Sometimes the weather isn’t great here, so we were the first to go indoors!

The first indoor climbing halls were seen in Italy in the mid 70’s, while the first World Championships and Youth Championships were held in Germany and Switzerland respectively. The world now knows about the first Olympic gold medal climbers of Janja Garnbret from Slovenia and Alberto Ginés López from Spain. So, while Europe embraced indoor climbing a long time ago, the rest of world is still playing catch up.

So what is climbing in Europe like? A recent survey of EU climbers in 2020 from Vertical-Life has revealed some very interesting trends and insights…

Why do so many climbers go indoors?

When surveying both indoor and outdoor climbers it is a surprise to see that over 98% said they do some form of indoor climbing. Nearly a quarter of indoor climbers say they are staying fit for outdoor climbing, while 23% say they indoor climb only.

What about climbing gym memberships?

Nearly 35% of memberships are yearly, while day passes, punch cards and monthly memberships attribute around 20% each.

How do climbers start climbing?

Family and friends is obviously going to be huge, but at 63% we feel it could have been higher. Great to see schools coming in with over 7% leading in to climbing, we hope these numbers continue to rise.

What else do climbers do to stay active?

As expected, 72% of climbers like hiking, but interestingly second is skiing with 43% closely followed by running and mountaineering. A third of respondents like to cycle and mountain bike.

More Climber Stats

Women in climbing is on the increase but males still dominate the sector with nearly three quarters of the group. Its not much of a surprise then that 77% of climbers don’t have any children. Currently 41% hire their shoes and a quarter of climbers say they rent ropes.

Big thanks to for the Vertical-Life.info for the data.