In the late 80’s in Seattle Washington, bars and clubs were crawling with bands that would be members of one of the most influential shifts in popular music. Years later these bands would be hailed as the end of the superficial music of the 80’s and the ushers to a new era in music. At the same time, in what I imagine to be another part of town, there was another genesis. The nation’s first indoor climbing gym, Vertical World, opened its doors, marking the beginning of a new genre of climbing. For better or worse, they opened the world of climbing to untold numbers, irreversibly taking the sport into new directions.
With the advent of gyms, climbing was finally accessible to those who may have never had the chance to edge into the sport. Unfortunately, it would also provide the opportunity to teach new climbers just enough to get them in trouble during the transition to outdoors. Adam has already written a comprehensive and compelling article detailing these dangers. For those already connected to the world of climbing, gyms were an inferior substitute for outdoor routes, but also a singular training tool.