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From: Boulder, CO
Feb 5, 2009
I do not know the exact history of the artificial wall, especially in Europe, but it appears that it started with the use of natural rock, cemented together to form the climbing wall. Of course people climbed on building and bridge walls made of similar material, but as far as specific walls cemented together for climbing, this was how it was done. Europe was ahead in the artificial wall fashion and technology compared to other places. This wall commissioned by a multi story sports store, and designed by Rienhold Messner was built in Munich, Germany and stretched ceiling-ward and was surrounded by the staircase. This is only an example of the walls built at the time, and I'm sure other Alpine centers had theirs. The real advancement that I could see and what happening in Europe, particularly France was the invention of plastic, fiber glass structures, with holds, panels and even sculptures. Entreprise was really pushing in this direction and their artificial walls would soon hit the US. Meanwhile, in the US the walls were being made of mostly wood. To be continued.