Artificial climbing facility

from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Artificial climbing wall in a climbing hall in Voiron , France
Artificial outdoor climbing tower in Berlin-Spandau, Germany

An artificial climbing facility ( KKA ) is a piece of sports equipment in the form of a climbing facility built for this purpose, on which sport climbing is practiced and which is not reserved for any specific age group. The KKA can be located outdoors or in a climbing or bouldering hall and includes one or more climbing walls .

Climbing is done on an artificial climbing wall with securing points for hanging ropes or on a boulder wall , where there is no rope at jump height via fall protection devices, e.g. B. sports mats or gravel is climbed. Two different forms of securing are used in climbing , the top rope and the lead climb .

The growing popularity of climbing as a leisure activity is partly due to the fact that many climbers find artificial climbing facilities closer to their place of residence or work than natural climbing areas, and with the halls there are no restrictions due to the time of day and weather.

climbing hall

Home to a climbing gym CCA, this is also called indoor climbing or indoor climbing referred. The elimination of weather influences and the monitoring of such halls by the operators increase safety compared to climbing in nature.

The halls themselves are usually 5 to 20 meters high. The individual climbing routes can be considerably longer.

The facility with the world's largest indoor climbing area has been offering the DAV climbing and bouldering center Munich-South since its expansion in spring 2011 . It consists of a total of 7,800 m² climbing area, 3,750 m² of which are indoors.

Another large climbing hall (the largest in Europe until 2010) is the gas works in Schlieren near Zurich / Switzerland . It consists of four halls and has more than 250 routes. This hall used to be a gas works, which was then converted into today's hall. The first "climbing church" in Germany is the former parish church of St. Peter in Mönchengladbach- Waldhausen, it was converted into a climbing hall (1,300 m²).

Climbing wall

A climbing wall is an artificial construction modeled on natural rock , in a hall or outdoors, which is used for climbing . Correspondingly developed areas of natural origin, on the other hand, are called climbing gardens .

There are various construction options for a climbing wall:

  • The vast majority of the walls are wooden structures, the surface of which typically multiplex plates form, often with a sand-containing coating are provided to the friction to increase. Chipboard of all kinds is unsuitable because it cannot withstand the stress of impact and handle fastening; Softwood panels are too soft. The plates have bores at regular intervals into which M10 drive -in nuts are inserted from the rear .
  • With glass fiber plastics, rock surfaces can be modeled close to nature. There are prefabricated modular elements with grid dimensions and free-form walls.
  • Shotcrete enables any structure to be formed outdoors.
  • Occasionally there are also climbing walls that are based on parts of buildings and structures (e.g. walls , old bunkers or bridge piers ).

Climbing routes of various degrees of difficulty are set on the climbing wall with colored handles . The individual handles are connected to the wall with screws and can therefore be regularly combined into new routes. Exceptions are isolated systems made of concrete, on which structures were only modeled in the material.

Climbing walls can be purchased completely or made by yourself. There are also many climbers who build a small climbing wall at home.

Climbing holds

Modern climbing holds

Climbing holds are nowadays made almost exclusively from plastics ( polyester resin , polyurethane ), as this allows the breaking strengths required by standardization to be achieved. Wire inlays or reverse side coatings can protect possible fragments from falling. Most handles are fastened with Allen screws (M10) with a cylinder or countersunk head.

The handles are available in a large variety of shapes, colors and sizes in thematic assortments. The color is mostly used to mark the routes. By attaching different shapes in different orientations, the degree of difficulty on one and the same wall can be changed immensely, and the grip of the material also plays a role.

Climbing on artificial structures

Types of climbing

On artificial systems, one either climbs to jump height without a safety rope ( bouldering ) or is secured with a rope on higher routes . Climbing walls are set up at angles of less than 90 ° ("lying"), vertically or overhanging with angles of more than 90 °.

There are usually several climbing routes with different levels of difficulty that can be climbed at the facilities , so that beginners and professionals can climb side by side. The individual routes can typically be recognized by the uniform color of the handles screwed on by the route planner, the shape, size and arrangement of which determine the level of difficulty. At the start of the route or in a centrally located list, the climber can then find out what level of difficulty the "blue route" has, for example.

The aim of bouldering is to master a certain sequence of grips (called a "problem") without falling. The two to five meter high bouldering areas are equipped with fall protection devices ( sports mats , gravel or crash pads ) that reduce the risk of injury if you fall down.

The aim of free climbing in the higher routes is to climb a route marked out and usually marked by colored handles without straining the safety rope. Is climbed either top rope , that is secured by the suspended at the upper point of the wall rope or lead climbing . In the lead, the climber takes the safety rope with him and attaches it successively to intermediate safety devices with express sets .


You usually bring your own climbing equipment , but the necessary material can often be borrowed from the climbing gyms. The basic equipment includes: climbing shoes (also called climbing finches in Switzerland) and often a magnesia bag ; On systems with belay points, a climbing harness , a belay device and screw carabiner , depending on the climbing hall and your own abilities, also climbing rope and express sets .


Climbing is a health-promoting sport with relatively low injury risk , far below that of football . However, accidents can have serious consequences.

At a KKA there are no risks associated with natural rock, e.g. B. rockfall or questionable securing points, and the technical condition of the system must be monitored. Accidents are therefore mainly due to the misconduct of those involved, mostly that of the backup partner.

Playground equipment

Climbing device in a playground
Climbing frame on a playground in Elmshorn

Artificial climbing facilities (KKA), which are open to all age groups, are differentiated from playground equipment . The latter are subject to the European playground standard DIN / EN 1176.

Standardization of safety requirements

The safety requirements for artificial climbing facilities have been specified in the EU since 1999 in the European standard EN 12572. In Germany, they are subject to the Product Safety Act (formerly Equipment and Product Safety Act, still cited as such in the standard) and can be marked with the GS mark if the requirements are met.

Requirements for artificial climbing facilities with belay points

Part 1 of the standard, EN 12572-1: 2007, regulates KKA with safety points. In particular, the distances between the securing points (first a maximum of 3.10 m high, then up to 5 m high every 1 m, above that every 2 m), the dimensions of the securing points themselves, the design of the deflectors and the requirements for the fall area and the climbing areas are specified . A nameplate with the manufacturer and supplier, the relevant standard and dates of assembly and the next main inspection is required as identification. Furthermore, loads are defined by climbing operations, in particular a test load of 8.0 kN (obliquely downwards) for a securing point with a breaking load of 20 kN; for the strength test of the screw holes for handles 5 kN with axial load. Processes for the verification of the structural strength by calculation or load test, for the impact test of the surface as well as the verification test of the first three securing points as well as the deflection points with a test load of 8.0 kN in the direction of fall are relevant for production.

The draft version of prEN 12572-1: 2015 provides for finer gradations of the distances between the securing points between 3 and 8 m high and a distance of 1.5 m above this. The test load of the securing points is reduced to the “characteristic load” of 6.6 kN, while that of the handle fastenings is increased to 7.2 kN. The requirements for the drop space, the handle fastening and the impact test of the surface have been revised.

Requirements for bouldering walls

The requirements for bouldering walls are regulated by Part 2, EN 12572-2: 2008. As in Part 1, there are regulations for structural strength and impact testing of the surface, the handle fastening (5 kN) and the labeling requirements. The height must not exceed 4.5 m, or 4.0 m if it is possible to stand on top of the construction. Fall protection devices consist of impact absorption, typically foam mats indoors , and fall protection gravel outdoors , although other suitable materials are also permitted. The impact area must have a fixed overhang of 2–2.5 m around the basic projection of the boulder wall. Mats must reach up to the boulder wall or be supplemented by thin, wedge-shaped constructions in the seat start areas. Gaps between mats must be covered.

The draft version prEN 12572-2: 2015 revised as in Part 1 details on panel fastening, impact and strength testing, and increases the load-bearing capacity of the handle fastenings to 7.2 kN. Specific additions concern the damping properties of foam mats including a test method and finer gradations in the size of the impact surface.

Requirements for climbing holds

The requirements for climbing holds are dealt with in Part 3. Particular attention should be paid to the danger posed by falling fragments of defective handles. Large "volumes" are included in this part unless additional handles are attached to them; otherwise Part 1 of the standard applies.

Normal climbing holds must not be used as securing points (unless they are also designed as such according to Part 1). The characteristic is the mobility, i. H. a handle can be screwed on with bolts in different places.

The standard does not specify any specific materials, but prohibits the use of dangerous substances in production (e.g. formaldehyde , PCB ). The handles must not have any freely accessible sharp edges (radius less than 0.5 mm), protruding tips (diameter less than 15 mm and more than 40 mm protruding) or catch points.

In order to avoid that the load of the climber (1.5 kN) at the outer end of a grip exceeds the permissible load at the fastening point (5 kN, see Part 2) due to leverage, the height and depth of the grip may be three times the wall support length below do not exceed the fastening point.

After the handle has been screwed on with the maximum torque recommended by the manufacturer, it must not twist on the wall at the most unfavorable usable point with a load of 1.5 kN. It must not break in the most unfavorable position and direction of action under this force.

Handles over 50 mm in diameter must bear the manufacturer or supplier logo and be supplied with the corresponding technical information.

The draft version prEN 12572-3: 2015 specifies the definition of "volume", introduces a tabular designation of the climbing hold sizes (XS ≤ 50 mm, S, M, L, XL, XXL, macro> 550 mm), and limited the break test on handles heavier than 100 g.

The breaking test is tightened to 2.4 kN, which arises from a more realistic consideration of the dynamic foot strength of a climber weighing 80 kg (twice the weight and 50% safety factor), and volumes must withstand the tearing attempt of 2.4 kN. The check for twisting is not applicable. What is new, however, is a bending test in the case of a hollow position on the wall; test forces of 2, 5 or 8 kN at the bolt hole are prescribed depending on the handle size. The manufacturing quarter is added to the labeling, now from 100 g.

Common requirements

In all three parts of the EN 12572 standard, finger traps are prohibited; these would be openings between 8 and 25 mm that are deeper than 15 mm and that can become trapping points. Exceptions are the holes for the handle attachment and elements that are specially designed for climbing.

Liability issues in Germany

In addition to the cited standards, the owner must also consider liability issues. A strict liability , i.e. from the permitted operation of a dangerous facility - here a climbing facility - through no fault of the operator, does not arise in the opinion of the German Alpine Club . Traffic safety obligations are not regulated by law and must be determined on a case-by-case basis, in particular through the user contract between operator and user as well as tortious liability.

Common measures to restrict access for unauthorized persons, especially in the case of outdoor facilities, are a 2 m high fence around the facility, removable handles in the lower area and increased climbing difficulties; or maintenance of the system.


Number of climbing halls in different countries

The following number of (publicly accessible) halls exist in these countries:

Web links

Wiktionary: climbing wall  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations
Commons : Indoor climbing  - collection of pictures, videos and audio files
Commons : climbing wall  - collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. a b prEN 12572-1: 2015 Artificial climbing systems - Part 1: Safety requirements and test methods for KKA with securing points . Beuth Verlag , Berlin 2015 (57 pages).
  2. The largest climbing hall in the world - Munich expanded ( Memento of the original from November 28, 2011 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. . Retrieved October 11, 2011. @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot /
  3. AZ climbing series: 6450 square meters, 555 routes . In: Munich evening newspaper. Retrieved October 11, 2011.
  4. KletterKirche MG , Hindenburger Stadtzeitschrift, 2012 ( Memento of the original from November 22, 2016 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link has been inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot /
  5. a b c d German Alpine Club (ed.): Climbing hall manual of the German Alpine Club . Beuth Verlag , Munich 2011 (316 pages).
  6. Chris Semmel: Climbing - Safety and Equipment. Alpine curriculum 5th - BLV-Verlag, Munich, 3rd revised edition, 2013, ISBN 978-3-8354-1120-3 , p. 12
  7. How do accidents happen in climbing gyms? - German Alpine Club , DAV, 2014
  8. a b c DIN EN 12572-1: 2007 Artificial climbing systems - Part 1: Safety requirements and test methods for KKA with safety points . Beuth Verlag , Berlin 2007 (31 pages).
  9. Product Safety Act (ProdSG, 2011) §21 Obligations of the GS body
  10. a b DIN EN 12572-2: 2008 Artificial climbing systems - Part 2: Safety requirements and test methods for bouldering walls . Beuth Verlag , Berlin 2009 (24 pages).
  11. prEN 12572-2: 2015 Artificial climbing systems - Part 2: Safety requirements and test methods for bouldering walls . Beuth Verlag , Berlin 2015 (55 pages).
  12. a b DIN EN 12572-3: 2009 Artificial climbing systems - Part 3: Safety requirements and test methods for climbing holds . Beuth Verlag , Berlin 2009 (11 pages).
  13. prEN 12572-3: 2015 Artificial climbing systems - Part 3: Safety requirements and test methods for climbing holds . Beuth Verlag , Berlin 2015 (26 pages).
  14. a b
  15. Special supplement "Halls & Walls" of the magazine kleben , October / November 2011, p. 5, interview with Elias Hitthaler, clerk for climbing systems at DAV
  16. a b Climbmate - List of all climbing facilities in Germany, Austria, Switzerland . As of July 3, 2012.