Climbing and mountaineering

Authored by: Christopher Atwater

Routledge Handbook of Global Sport

Print publication date:  January  2020
Online publication date:  January  2020

Print ISBN: 9781138887237
eBook ISBN: 9781315714264
Adobe ISBN:


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If mountaineering is defined as the act of climbing a mountain, the official “beginning” of mountaineering history could be no more than a vague concept, as the scope of early human beings’ ascension up mountains for reasons of survival, exploration or spirituality is immensely broad. However, it is valuable to consider how those in the past managed their way up a mountainside when examining the history and evolution of mountaineering/climbing over time. This book chapter is an exploration of mountaineering/climbing throughout history, not only as a sport, but also as an endeavor undertaken by people from a large variety of backgrounds, in multiple cultural contexts, and whose efforts were motivated by a wide-range of goals. Historical developments in equipment, techniques, disciplines, challenges and competitions are presented and explored along with different perspectives on the purpose and meaning behind engaging in mountaineering/climbing activities.

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