Key Figures

Sport climbing is booming!

In recent years, climbing has truly become a popular sport: more and more athletes are attracted by vertical challenges, both indoor and outdoor, and the trend continues. For a very good reason: climbing does not only train most of our 656 muscles, it challenges the mind, too.




2,160 licensed athletes in 2019

39% of these licensed athletes are women

Athletes represented the 5 continents 

and 65 countries

Average age of elite athletes: 21

1998 Average Birth Year of the athletes participating in IFSC World Cups and the IFSC World Championships in 2019


  • World Championships - every other year (odd years)
  • Youth World Championships - annually
  • World Cup Series - annually (maximum 18 events, 6 per discipline)
  • Continental Events


2 International Lead events in 2019:
Paraclimbing Master
IFSC Paraclimbing World Championship Briançon (FRA)

158 Athletes enrolled for the 2019 World Championship in Briançon (FRA)

111 Men and  47  Women

competing in 14 categories

9 Men categories and  5  Women categories

24% increase in the number of participants from the 2018 IFSC Paraclimbing World Championship in Innsbruck (AUT)

24 countries represented.

3 disciplines


Height, endurance and strategy

Athletes climb secured by a rope, one at a time, on an overhanging route with a 6-minute time limit. The athlete who reaches the highest point wins.

  • In Lead, the aim for the competitors is to go as high as possible in an individual attempt on a 15m wall.
  • The competitors have a limited amount of time (six (6) minutes) for their attempt.
  • The Lead ranking is set based on the height (hold number) achieved by the competitors. A competitor gets a “+” added to their score if moving in the direction of the next hold.
  • The routes are reset between the Qualification, Semifinals and the Final.
  • Competitors can preview the route during a collective observation time (six (6) minutes), but cannot attempt the route (no observation in the Qualification round).
  • Competitors are kept in an isolation room before they perform their “on sight” attempt (no isolation in the Qualification round).
  • There are different routes for men and women competitors.

Lead gallery


Power and technique

An explosive performance on routes (problems) with a maximum height of 4 metres and safety mats below. The athlete who solves the most problems in the lowest number of attempts wins.

  • The Bouldering competition takes place on 4-metre-high boulders equipped with safety mats.
  • The aim of Bouldering is to solve (complete) the most problems (routes) on four/five (round-dependent) boulders in the lowest number of attempts over a given period of time.
  • Different problems are set for men and women.
  • The problems are reset between the Qualification, Semifinals and the Final.
  • In Finals, competitors can preview the boulder problems during a collective observation time (2 minutes per Boulder) but cannot attempt the problems. In Qualifications and Semifinals, the climbers observe the problems for the first time during their first attempt (no observation prior to the round).
  • Competitors are kept in an isolation room before they perform their “on sight” attempt.
  • The Bouldering ranking is decided by the number of problems solved. The competitor who solves the most problems wins.
  • One zone hold (approximately the halfway point on a problem) is set per problem.
  • The Bouldering ranking is based on: 1. Number of tops reached, 2. Number of zone holds reached 3. Number of attempts to top, 4. Number of attempts to zone.

Bouldering gallery


15 metres in just a few seconds!

Secured from above, climbers run up standardised parallel routes. The fastest climber wins.

  • The aim of Speed is to be the fastest to reach the top of a 15m wall.
  • Men and women compete on identical routes which are not modified between rounds.
  • The competitors compete (race) in pairs on identical routes.
  • The winner is the first to reach the top of the route.

Speed gallery

A sport that
generates revenues:

  • In China, Climbing Walls in Middle and Primary Schools have increased from 30 in 2012 to 120 in 2015 (source: CMA)
  • In Japan, from 2008 to 2015, the number of indoor climbing gyms has grown from 96 to 435 (source: JMSCA)
  • Popularity in largest cities: 350+ in Paris Ile-de-France (source: FFME)
  • Today's number of climbing gyms in Germany: 460+ (source: DAV)

A community with
a unique profile:

  • Climbers are young (39% under 18) but practice until 60 and older
  • Average age of climbers in France: 26 years old in 2015 (source: FFME)
  • The share of female climbers is very high (38% vs. usual maximum 31%). And that is not surprising: this sport is not only about strength, but also about body control and athleticism. And it is also a mind game.
  • Share of female climbers in Austria: 48% men, 52% women (source: KVO) Share of female climbers in France in 2015: 59% men, 41% women (source: FFME) vs. usual maximum 31%.

A large and fast-growing
worldwide climbing community:

  • 44.5 million people are climbing regularly
  • Based on liability waivers, it’s estimated that between 1,000 and 1,500 people are trying climbing for the first time—every single day, in the U.S. alone (source:
  • In Austria, the number of members and member clubs in 2008 was respectively 23.170 members in 141 clubs. In 2016, it has grown to 64.140 members in 176 member clubs (source: KVO)
  • In England, the number of young people taking part in the BMC Youth Climbing Series has risen by 50% in the last five years (source: Active People Survey 9 October 2014 – September 2015)
  • In the last 10 years, since its foundation, the number of IFSC Member Federations has increased by 25% (source: IFSC database on Member Federations)

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