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American Alpine Club Legacy Series, Episode 4: John Gill

Author(s): American Alpine Club
Video Release Date: January 17, 2020
Video Source: YouTube

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 specialize 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 emphasized 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 in 1957, V9 in 1959, and onsight free-soloed 5.12a in 1961, all this achieved without the benefit of modern climbing shoes. While not the first individual to climb on boulders, certainly, he was the first to popularize the idea as a pursuit worthy in itself. In 1969, Gill published The Art of Bouldering in the American Alpine Journal.

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