Home page Planetmountain.com
John Gill, the American climber and mathematician considered by many the father of modern bouldering
Photo by American Alpine Club archive
The American Alpine Club Legacy Series pays tribute to the visionary American climbers who made the sport what it is today and stands as a commitment to securing their legacies.
Photo by American Alpine Club archive

John Gill, the father of modern bouldering, in American Alpine Club Legacy Series


A video tribute to John Gill, considered by many the father of modern bouldering, by the American Alpine Club Legacy Series.

Born on 16 February 1937, American mathematician John Gill is widely considered the father of modern bouldering and the individual responsible for introducing gymnastic chalk as well as dynamic movement to the sport of climbing. 

Being a gymnast, Gill began to specialise in short, difficult climbing routes in the mid-1950’s, pushing the boundary of what the human body was capable of achieving on rock holds. He emphasised aesthetic form and grace of motion over simple efficiency in climbing, challenging many popular norms held in the sport at the time.

Gill climbed V8(7B/+) in 1957 and V9 (7C) in 1959, while in 1961 he famously made a ground-up, unrehearsed free-solo of the Thimble Overhang in the Needles, a groundbreaking 12m highball graded 5.12a (7a+) that waited for over twenty years to be repeated. All of this was achieved without the benefit of modern climbing shoes and decades prior to the advent of bouldering pads.

While not the first individual to climb on boulders, certainly, he was the first to popularise the idea as a pursuit worthy in itself, before it boomed in popularity. In 1969, Gill published The Art of Bouldering in the American Alpine Journal.

Even today, while doing his pull-up routine, he can still perceive that feeling of lightness, flow and grace. Aged over 80, he remains an undisputed climbing legend.

Info: americanalpineclub.org/legacy-series


NEWS / Related news:
The evolution of free climbing
The evolution of free climbing
Switzerland's Claude Remy provides a chronological analysis of the evolution free climbing (bouldering and difficulty). An article which clearly is not and cannot be definitive, but is merely a stimulus for further analysis and discussion about the evolution of this sport.




Full text search


EXPO / Products
EXPO / Company News
Planetmountain.com logo
Planetmountain.com is updated daily: news, rock climbing, walks, trekking, alpinism, freeride skiing, ski mountaineering, snowboarding and ice climbing on the mountains worldwide. Furthermore, climbing techniques explained, gear & book reviews, expert advice, mountain photography, interviews and competition reports.

Subscriber to receive the weekly newsletter with all the latest news from planetmountain.com

Recent Comments Ice
  • L'uomo Volante
    Il 10 giugno 2017, insieme all'amico Michele, decidiamo di r ...
    2017-07-12 / Enrico Maioni
  • Gallo George
    Il 16 luglio 2016, invogliati dalla relazione, ci siamo avve ...
    2017-07-12 / Enrico Maioni
  • All-in
    Francesco Salvaterra e Filippo Mosca 27 gennaio 2017, probab ...
    2017-02-02 / Francesco Salvaterra
  • Una via per te fatta in tre
    Prima ripetizione effettuata il 3/11. Da rettificare la diff ...
    2015-11-13 / maurizio piller%20hoffer