Sport climbing is a form of free climbing , the modern form of which arose in the USA in the late 1960s and early 1970s and has since spread internationally with great growth rates. The roots of sport climbing lie in the idea of free climbing, which developed through Viennese climbers, in Great Britain and in Saxon Switzerland and also spread in the USA from the 1930s. Climbing was revolutionized worldwide. In the western part of Germany and the Alpine countries sport climbing enforced in 1977, after the first ascent of the route " pumping cracks " by Helmut Kiene, the unlimited opening of the UIAA - difficulty scale up.
In sport climbing, in contrast to classic mountaineering , the focus is less on mountaineering and more on sporty motifs; instead of reaching a summit, sport climbing is about the climbing route itself, i. H. mostly high technical difficulties over short distances. The term not only refers to climbing on natural rock, but also to climbing on artificial facilities such as in the climbing hall .
In sport climbing, the rope and hook usually only serve as a backup and are not used for movement. Climbing is usually done in two- person rope teams , with one person on the ground or fixed in a stand and securing while the other person climbs. Techniques with which a single person secures himself while climbing (solo climbing) are used less often. If you do not use a safety device, it is called free solo climbing.
Sport climbing is practiced both as a popular sport and as a competitive sport. As a movement, modern sport climbing does not only include purely technical or sporting aspects, but a whole attitude towards life in which values such as "coolness", spontaneity, creativity, hedonism or lived freedom are often expressed.
Differentiation from alpine climbing
While conquering a mountain is often in the foreground in classic alpine climbing , sport climbing is largely about mastering routes (often at one's own performance limit) in the sense of free climbing . Sport climbing routes are usually much shorter (mostly: 10–30 m, sometimes up to 100 m) and often only extend over a single rock. The routes are usually with fixed and mounted in short intervals bolts secured. Due to the narrow spacing between the hooks and the optimally fixed securing points, the risk of injury in the event of a fall is lower compared to falls in alpine terrain, which makes it possible to climb to the limit of the fall and thus to the limit of performance. In some cases, however, as in the Alpine style, mobile securing devices such as friends or clamping wedges must be attached. If only mobile securing devices are used, then this type of climbing is called “clean climbing”, as the route is brought back to its natural state after climbing, ie “cleaned”. In climbing gardens, the dangers of natural forces such as avalanches or falling rocks are also lower than under alpine conditions.
The boundary between sport climbing and alpine climbing is now fluid due to the development of safety equipment. The game form of alpine sport climbing moves in this vaguely defined border area to traditional alpine climbing. There were formerly alpine routes that are now well secured and have become easy sport climbing routes. On the other hand, today's top climbers conquer difficulties even in alpine conditions with, depending on the route, poor protection or without any fixed safety equipment, as are typical for sport climbing. So exist now and alpine climbing routes of several hundred meters in length and technical difficulty to the eleventh UIAA - Difficulty .
Sport climbing is a sport in which the height of the rocks can cause the climber to fall . For this reason it is necessary to use a climbing rope and a securing climbing partner. There are different forms of securing and being secured. Basically, a distinction can be made between lead climbing , top-rope climbing , follow-up climbing and unsecured climbing.
Ascent styles in sport climbing
Sport climbing routes can be climbed in different ways. These types of climbing are known as climbing styles. Not all styles of ascent have the same sporting value. What has which sporting value is always the generally recognized result of an ongoing discussion among all climbers. Only the on-sight, flash and red point ascent are considered fully-fledged today - with decreasing value. The Red Cross ascent is still recognized as an incomplete ascent. Climbing a route with other styles such as AF or A0 is not recognized as an inspection and is only used to practice in preparation for a style-recognized ascent of the route.
With the red point ascent, the goal is to climb a route or rope length "in one go" with your own strength, in the sense of free climbing. The intermediate safety devices and the rope must not be loaded at any time during the inspection (e.g. to rest in the middle of a route). The only thing that counts as a classic red point ascent is mastering a route in the lead, with all intermediate belayings attached from the climbing position. When on-sight climbing the same rules apply as for Rotpunktklettern, in addition, however, demanded that the commission of the first attempt must succeed. The climber must not have any prior information that arose from previous attempts of his own, from explanations by other climbers or previous observation of other climbers on the route. Even while climbing, the actor must not receive tips from other climbers. On the other hand, a precise optical analysis from the ground is permitted. In contrast to the red dot ascent, you only have one chance to walk the route on-sight in each route. If you have observed a climber on the route or received tips on this route before the ascent, an ascent is only considered a flash ascent . The same applies here: there is only a flash chance on the first attempt.
The Red Cross ascent is a red point ascent without a lead and with rope protection from above. Since the psychological component (fear of falling) is less demanding in this form compared to the red point climbing, this style is not considered to be fully adequate. For example, you cannot start a new tour in terms of sport climbing. Nevertheless, it is still barely recognized as a style with which a route can be walked. This is shown, for example, by the fact that points are still awarded for it on the international ranking page 8a.nu. AF stands for all free and means the ascent of a route in which all movements (all) were carried out with their own strength in the sense of free climbing. In contrast to the styles above, you can take a break depending on the material. You have to continue climbing from the last climbing position you took before the break. It is therefore not allowed to use the rest break to resolve a position from which it is not possible to continue climbing. The A0 ascent style belongs to technical climbing . A stands for artificiel ( French for "artificial"), A0 is the first level of difficulty. Such an inspection allows holding and moving with the help of rope and bolts or other intermediate safeguards. In sport climbing, this style is used exclusively to prepare for a later ascent in a recognized style. A0 climbing is not recognized as an ascent style.
Game forms of sport climbing
Sport climbing can be practiced in different ways. These forms of play partially overlap. The average sport climber always practices several forms of play. Differentiation criteria can be the motivation, the location, the nature of the walls, the security and others. What all forms of play have in common is the requirement for the recognized inspection style.
In contrast to plaisir climbing, climbing in medium and high levels of difficulty - mostly at the personal performance and fall limit - is in the foreground. Falls are consciously accepted until the climbing success is achieved. This type of climbing is sometimes undifferentiated as extreme climbing by laypeople.
If the climber decides to attempt the route on-sight or flash, he has only one attempt. If no on-sight ascent is attempted or it fails, the route becomes a personal climbing project, the goal of which is a successful red point ascent. Different work steps can be undertaken:
- Preparing the route with the aim of attaching the quickdraws and a rope for subsequent top rope ascents. This step is often mastered in the form of technical climbing.
- Bouldering out the route with the aim of learning the movements for the individual route sections. Since the AF ascent style is used to rest on the hook or hanging in the rope, the climbing passages are reduced to short sequences, as is otherwise the case with bouldering.
- The red point attempts, in which the climber tries to climb the route red point. Here you can climb until you fall or give up by holding or resting on the bolt.
- The passage where the climber climbs the route rotpunkt.
- The dismantling, in which the personal material is removed from the route.
Depending on how difficult the route is compared to personal performance, the climber can also start directly with bouldering or with red point attempts.
Bouldering is sport climbing at jump height. Therefore there is no safety rope and climbing harness . Essential pieces of equipment are climbing shoes, a magnesia bag , a toothbrush (to clean the handles for better friction), a carpet to clean the shoes and a boulder mat ( crash pad to catch falls and avoid foot injuries). So-called bouldering problems can only consist of a few vertical moves, but they can reach as far as you want horizontally or across.
Boulderers are excited to use all climbing skills in a particularly concentrated form for a relatively short climbing route.
In most cases, individual passages have to be tried several times or even practiced frequently in order to optimally solve a bouldering problem. Since bouldering problems often require complex movement patterns, the first creative step is to find out how the movements work. The aim is to solve the riddle, the problem, mentally.
In terms of physical condition, bouldering usually requires a very high level of force (" maximum force ").
Bouldering difficulties are expressed in the Fontainebleau scale (Fb).
Alpine sport climbing
Since the beginning of sport climbing, sport climbers have not limited themselves to the climbing gardens. Even in alpine and high alpine terrain, multi-pitch routes and their individual pitches are freely climbed in red dot style. The transfer of the achievements of difficult climbing to high alpine walls was described by Wolfgang Güllich as a logical and compelling development.
The main difference to classic alpine climbing is in a broad sense - regardless of the quality of the protection - the climbing style, which is recognized in terms of sport climbing, with which the route is climbed. In a narrow sense, alpine sport climbing can only be summarized as those routes that, in addition to the red point ascent, also have solid rock and good, permanently installed securing equipment - usually bolts. In contrast to climbing in the climbing garden, alpine sport climbing routes are always multi-pitch routes.
Alpine sport climbing requires the climber to have additional mountaineering knowledge, for example meteorology , orientation, alpine dangers and rescue techniques. These additional requirements mean that on alpine sport climbing routes the pure degree of difficulty loses its significance.
Outdoor climbing is climbing outdoors on natural rocks and walls.
Indoor climbing / indoor climbing
The term indoor climbing or indoor climbing refers to climbing in the climbing hall or on private training walls at home. Due to the constantly growing range of climbing halls, the number of indoor climbers is also increasing. Most indoor climbers sooner or later also go outdoor climbing. However, there are also a growing number of sport climbers who stay in the climbing hall for a longer period of time in the interests of pure fitness. Conversely, the acceptance of the climbing hall as winter training for committed outdoor climbers is also growing. The climbing halls, together with plaisir climbing, are essential carriers of the development of sport climbing into a popular sport.
Under Buildering or urban climbing is meant climbing on buildings and artificial walls. In cities such as Berlin, where there are hardly any natural rocks to be found, people can legally climb old bunkers and similar buildings. Higher tours are secured with fixed bolts, like normal climbing routes.
Traditional climbing (trad climbing)
As clean-climbing is called the secured only with clamping wedges and clamping devices climbing on rock walls with the intention to leave in the commission of possible no permanent effect on the rock. Clean climbing is part of traditional climbing, but in contrast it prohibits the use of normal hooks, as these often damage the rock when hammering in or cannot be removed again after the ascent. The safety of the clamping wedges also depends largely on the stone in which they are used. While clamping wedges in granite usually hold securely after they have been correctly placed, they are a special, difficult-to-calculate risk factor in limestone and dolomite rock. This is one of the reasons why clean climbing has always remained a marginal phenomenon in European sport climbing.
Saxon climbing is similar to clean climbing , as only slings and rings hammered in by the bidder may be used. Chalk must also not be used because it damages the very porous sandstone. In Saxon climbing, the protection and preservation of the peaks is paramount.
Free solo climbing
Free solo climbing means climbing without a rope above the jump height.
Deep water soloing
Deep water soloing is free solo climbing over deep water so that in the event of a fall, the climber falls into the water.
The term Plaisir climbing (or enjoy climbing ) was 1992 by Jürg von Känel with the title of guidebook introduced called "Switzerland Plaisir". Plaisir climbers are those who mainly climb for pleasure ( French : plaisir ) in lower and medium levels of difficulty .
In order to classify a route as a plaisir route, it needs a correspondingly easy to moderate level of difficulty, solid rock and the lowest possible risk of falling rocks, a protection with bolts that enable safe climbing for everyone, and a rather short, low-risk ascent and descent. The limit to difficulty climbing, in the sense of Känels, is roughly 7+ (UIAA) or 6c (French). Often such climbing opportunities are equally suitable for adults and children and therefore suitable for the entire family. The disadvantage of Plaisir climbing areas or routes, however, is the large number of climbers and the sometimes heavily worn (“slimmed down”) rock.
All in all, plaisir climbing is the most widespread form of sport climbing, alongside indoor climbing, and an important component in the development of popular sport that is not primarily performance and difficulty-oriented.
As with every type of climbing sport, there is a residual risk, which, in contrast to traditionally secured free climbing routes, is comparatively low and calculable with plaisir climbing. In no case should alpine plaisir routes be underestimated, as potential hazards that are independent of the route protection, such as rockfall or weather changes, are possible here.
Climbing competitions today take place almost exclusively on artificial climbing walls . Internationally, the International Federation of Sport Climbing (IFSC) organizes world championships , world cups and continental championships in the categories men, women, youth and juniors (with various sub-categories). In top international sport, climbing is done in three disciplines: Difficulty or lead climbing , bouldering and speed climbing .
In addition to these official competitions, there are also various master competitions on an international level, such as the Rockmaster in Arco (Italy), which have a high status and often have a longer tradition than the official competitions. These competitions also include other disciplines such as after-work , in which climbers have the opportunity to practice on the route for a certain time, or duel climbing, a mixture of speed and lead climbing. There are also national competitions in lead, speed and bouldering, which are sometimes carried out according to slightly changed national regulations. In addition to the competitions carried out according to official regulations, there are numerous regional competitions with partly completely new disciplines such as marathon climbing or bouldering nights, in which the fun of climbing is often in the foreground and the placement is rather secondary.
The IOC decided on August 4, 2016 that sport climbing would be an Olympic sport from 2020 . The three disciplines of speed climbing, bouldering and difficult climbing are combined in an Olympic combination , with 20 athletes of each gender.
On May 7, 2020, the first day of issue, Deutsche Post AG issued a special surcharge postage stamp with a face value of 80 + 40 euro cents in the series For sport for the new Olympic sport of sport climbing . The design comes from the graphic artist Thomas Serres from Hattingen .
Difficulty or lead climbing
When difficulty climbing according to the rules of the IFSC, the climbers must try in lead climbing in as far as possible to climb them hitherto unknown climbing route onsight at best, to the upper end (top). The routes for international competitions are at least 15 m long and are built by the route setters especially for this competition. The qualification, semi-final and final round are each climbed on three different routes, which become more difficult from round to round. If two or more climbers can climb the final route to the end in the final and if these climbers have also reached the same height in the previous laps, they have to compete against each other in an even more difficult super-final route.
Before the competition, all climbers are allowed to visit the route from the ground for five minutes. During the competition, all participants who have not yet climbed must be in an isolation zone from which they cannot see the wall. This prevents them from observing the participants who start before them in their experiments and learning from their mistakes. Every climber has a generous time limit for his attempt, which he must not exceed, otherwise the time he needs for the ascent does not play a role in the placement.
In bouldering, the climber has to climb around three to four meters high boulder problems, which, like lead climbing, are specially constructed for competition. In official national and international competitions, four to six bouldering problems have to be solved in the qualification. The fewer attempts are required, the better the rating. In some cases, the number of maximum permitted attempts is specified. The athletes have two to three hours to find a solution and can observe each other. In the semifinals and in the final there are four bouldering problems to be solved. The climbers can no longer observe each other and have an unlimited number of attempts, but the time that is available for each boulder is predetermined. A boulder is considered mastered when it has been climbed from the start grip and kick to the top grip. The top handle must be held in a controlled manner with both hands for two seconds. The bonus grip is located roughly in the middle of the boulder; if this is reached, the problem is considered "halfway solved". The fewer attempts are necessary to cope with the problem or at least to achieve the bonus hold, the more points the climber receives. The climber gets a six (more in the final) minute break between the individual boulders.
Speed climbing is about climbing a route in top rope, i.e. secured from above, as quickly as possible. In the competition, two climbers always compete against each other in the knockout system on two routes that are as identical as possible and that are next to each other. They climb once on each side with a short break. The two times are added together and the faster one moves into the next round.
Since the summer of 2007, an exactly identical 15 or 10 meter high standard wall has been used in international speed climbing competitions. Since then, world records over fifteen meters have been set through the standardized wall . (See the current and historical world record times under speed climbing # records .)
Social significance of sport climbing
The following statements refer mainly to Central Europe and the German-speaking area.
Development and educational aspects
At the beginning of the 1980s, sport climbing was still a movement of breaking out of the existing conventions and thus also had a revolutionary coating, which was also noticeable in the appearance of the actors, which was strongly different from the classic alpinists. Today, however, sport climbing is an established sport. After initial irritation, sport climbing was quickly integrated into the alpine clubs, but has also shown itself to be an effective educational tool - from experiential education to school sports , health promotion, social rehabilitation and integrative nature sports beyond the alpine clubs. Climbing itself, and in particular the more accessible sport climbing, is said to have a variety of positive aspects for personal development, preventive health care and attachment to nature, which makes it very suitable for the youth work of the alpine associations.
A special feature of sport climbing is that every practitioner can set his own challenges in self-determination, that is, the level of difficulty is not specified by an external organization, but is chosen by himself. The sporting component represents dealing with this self-imposed challenge and is primarily not a competition against a competitor. This also gives it a special suitability as a socio-educational tool.
Another beneficial aspect is the highest concentration on the here and now. The risk and fear experience with an objectively low risk promotes the weighing of risks, overcoming unfounded fears is trained, borderline and flow experiences are made possible. The constantly changing movement tasks require physical and mental creativity, the cooperation in the rope team trains responsibility and trust (individuality and community experience). In addition, the value of experiencing nature is emphasized.
Organization, environment and social integration
Although the alpine associations have quickly taken up sport climbing and offer appropriate groups in their club activities, a large number of sport climbers practice the sport in a disorganized manner. The acceptance of sport climbing by nature conservation associations and the general public varies greatly from region to region. For example, while sport climbing is advertised and promoted in Tyrol as a form of gentle tourism, it is severely restricted elsewhere, e.g. B. in neighboring Vorarlberg .
In the sport climbing areas of the German low mountain range, the pressure to block is greater, here to preserve the climbing opportunities, interest groups of climbers have been created - so-called IG climbing , as the climbers sometimes did not see their interests sufficiently represented by the alpine association DAV . At the same time, in some regions of Italy, France, Austria and Switzerland there are projects that are established and funded by the region or the country, which are dedicated to the development of the rocks and the improvement of the climbing infrastructure, so that the positive effects of climbing can be used for their own population to do as well as to promote tourism. In Germany, however, state subsidies are usually given for the construction of climbing halls and artificial climbing facilities.
Exercise - number of sport climbers
Sport climbing has meanwhile developed from a niche sport to a popular sport. Because of the possibility of practicing sport in a disorganized manner, there are difficulties in collecting reliable figures. In addition, there are different forms of play with flowing transitions, which makes an exact definition of the term sport climbing unclear. The number of people who climb at least sporadically has certainly increased significantly due to the increase in the number of artificial climbing facilities available in recent years. In 2010, the German Alpine Club names 300,000 people in Germany, 2 million in Europe, and around 40,000 climbers for Switzerland.
Risk of injury
In contrast to alpine climbing, sport climbing does not focus on the risk of injury from falling, but rather because of overload. Climbing is extremely stressful for the skin, tendons and ligaments . Due to the slightly concave shape of the palm , both the small groups of muscles in the hand and the tendon sheaths are overstrained in the event of large or long-lasting loads. In the area of the fingers, it is important to prevent injuries to the metacarpophalangeal joint, the phalanx and the joint as well as the support of the ring ligaments. Tape is therefore often used in bouldering , for example, to support the endangered ring ligaments. Depending on the route profile, especially on sharp-edged cracks and ridges, a tape can also be used to protect against cuts and cracks in the skin. A stretchable tape on the elbow is often used as a prophylaxis for tendinitis , but doubts are expressed about the effectiveness of this method. A protective bandage is used on the wrist to prevent strains when reaching under or from the side.
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