Born to Climb : From rock climbing pioneers to Olympic athletes

‘A compelling read. Zofia’s fearless approach to climbing history sees them take on the status quo, effortlessly shining a light on under-represented topics – women/gender, elitism, the average climber – and bringing climbing right up to the current day. The perfect addition to any climbing backpack!’ – Sasha DiGiulianClimbing is one of the world’s fastest-growing sports – exciting, addictive and, arguably, much more fun than going to the gym. In 2021 it made its long-awaited Olympic debut, but its journey to Tokyo has been anything but traditional. And the traditionalists would argue that it’s not even a sport at all … In Born to Climb, anthropologist and climber Zofia Reych shares with us the fascinating cultural history of rock and competition climbing. Zofia offers a fresh perspective on some of the pivotal moments and outstanding individuals of the sport, from eighteenth-century exploratory forays on rock, via the rise of climbing legends such as Emilio Comici, Wolfgang Gullich and Lynn Hill, to the limelight of the Olympic arena for the stars of today – Janja Garnbret, Adam Ondra, Shauna Coxsey and more. But Born to Climb is much more than a celebration of the sport’s famous people and places: it is an examination of modern sporting participation and culture, interwoven with the author’s own climbing journey. While the writing is engaging and often funny, Zofia is not afraid to broach sensitive and often overlooked topics, including gender divide, capitalism and the tension between aesthetic and athletic approaches to climbing, in what is a must-read for all climbers.