A new form of modern sport: the beginnings of Lakeland rock climbing 1880–1914

Huggins, Mike ORCID logo ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0003-2789-4756 (2022) A new form of modern sport: the beginnings of Lakeland rock climbing 1880–1914. Sport History Review, 53 (1). pp. 110-127.

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Official URL: https://doi.org/10.1123/shr.2020-0044


The English Lake District played a key role in British rock climbing and is arguably the place where rock climbing first separated from mountaineering in the 1880s. This article sets its origins in the wider context of Alpinism. It then explains the attractions of the Lake District to early climbers and the ways and locations in which early rock climbing emerged as key participants exploited the landscape to create the innovative rock climbing challenges that were key to their enjoyment. It provides rich detail on how the sport extended body limits, developed new climbing techniques, and used better equipment. Leading climbers there began to record and measure the standard of climbs—another innovation. Although mountaineering clubs elsewhere were exclusively male, relegating leading women mountaineers to a marginal role, in the Lakes, women rock climbers made a notable contribution. The article concludes by evaluating the wider significance of the Lake District for British climbing.

Item Type: Article
Journal / Publication Title: Sport History Review
Publisher: Human Kinetics
ISSN: 1087-1659
Departments: Institute of Arts > Humanities
Depositing User: Insight Administrator
Date Deposited: 05 Jul 2022 13:57
Last Modified: 13 Jan 2024 13:17
URI: https://insight.cumbria.ac.uk/id/eprint/6489


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