A Historical Association

Page 1.7

Climbing Walls & Bottle Balancing

More Military Gymnastics & Training . . .  

And now, the most interesting of this collection of engravings as far as climbing is concerned: military gymnastic exercises from the early 1800s incorporating a very early version of an  artificial climbing wall.  

Military climbing wall - early 1800s

Documented prior to 1850 - probably ca. 1820 

Here is an enlargement of the (left) climbing wall:

Climbing Wall

The hand and footholds might be anchored metal loops, or they could be protruding or incut holds of some sort.

Early Acrobats . . .

Early 1800s

What makes this interesting is the performer on the left, balancing on two upright bottles.  In the 1960s, the great Yosemite climber, Chuck Pratt, would line up a row of empty beer bottles on a flat surface and delicately walk them. Just one more precurser to slacklining!  

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