A Pilot Descriptive Investigation of University Climbing Walls Sanitation Practices and Procedures


  • Erik Rabinowitz Appalachian State University


There are no uniform, national standards governing the design, construction, operation, and maintenance of climbing walls and climbing facilities (CWA, 2007), and there appear to be no studies or research on cleanliness policies, procedures or protocol for indoor climbing wall facilities. Although no exact figures on participation rates of climbing walls exist, approximately one million Americans age 18-24 participated in bouldering/indoor/sport climbing in 2010 representing a 22.3% increase from 2009 (OIA, 2010). Although participation rates in 2010 are similar to years 2006-2008, it follows that a significant percentage of the one million participants ages 18-24 are using university climbing walls. Recognizing that there may be a real increase in indoor climbing on university campuses and with it related concerns associated with wall sanitation, the primary purpose of this study was to examine sanitation practices, procedures, and  policies presently being used at University climbing wall facilities in the United States.