The Victorian era was an important springboard for rock climbing that became a major constituent of Victorian mountaineering in the Alps. Although rock climbing featured for most of the 1800s, it is believed that sport climbing only became more popular during the latter stages. The three areas that were the most popular were the Elbe Sandstone Mountains in Germany, the Peak District in England, and the Dolomites in Italy. Through the pioneering efforts of rock climbing, it meant that by the early stages of the 1900s, there were over 500 active climbers operating in the Elbe Sandstone region. The Dolomites in Italy were still a new frontier, but this quickly changed with the successful solo climb by 17-year-old Georg Winkler of Germany who conquered Die Vajolettürme. Throughout the following years a grading system was introduced to accurately compare the difficulty of climbs, including ever-improving equipment and clothing.

Climbing evolved to another level with the advent of sport climbing. For participants, the requirements are strength, gymnastic ability, endurance and excellent technique. Competitions for sport climbing will generally always feature on artificial structures rather than on natural rock surfaces. The International Federation of Sport Climbing (IFSC) was created in January 2007 and is the highest sanctioning authority and world governing body for the sport of sport climbing. The federation is non-governmental and non-profit with their headquarters based in Torino, Italy. Some of the main objectives for IFSC is to encourage and promote the sport worldwide, including supervising competitions. One of the major breakthroughs for the sport was the admission to the Olympic program. IFSC ensures the Olympic Charter is followed by all its members, including keeping the sport free of performance enhancing drugs. IFSC decides which international competitions are officially recognised. Some of these major competitions include World Climbing Championships, and World and Continental Cups. The World Cup competitions form part of a world tour with a ranking system. Paraclimbing also features as a major part of the annual calendar. With new climbing venues being built all over the world, sport climbing continues to grow into one of the biggest in popularity today.  

International Federation of Sport Climbing

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