The Relationship between Rock Climbers and Climbing Places

  • Author / Creator
    Kulczycki, Cory A
  • Human interactions transform recreation and sport spaces into meaningful places. Textures, sights, and sounds are some of the elements that contribute to place meanings (Tuan, 1975). Beyond these sensory characteristics, a complex range of interconnected factors exist. While place meaning and place attachment have been studied in built and natural environments, there has been little comparative research between these settings in the context of recreation and sport. Therefore, the purpose of this study was to investigate how a group of 21 rock climbers from Western Canada experienced natural outdoor and indoor climbing sites by addressing the question: “What transforms a climbing space into a climbing place?” Insight into rock climbers’ relationships with natural and indoor climbing sites was gained through an interpretive inquiry which helped the researcher understand the meanings, experiences, and behaviours of the climbers from their perspectives (Schwandt, 2001; Tribe, 2004; Williams, 2000). Semi-structured in-depth interviews were digitally recorded, transcribed verbatim and analyzed to identify emergent themes (Patton, 2002). Analysis of the outdoor climbing narratives identified eight place themes which were grouped into three dimensions. This was followed by an analysis of the indoor climbing narratives which distinguished nine themes which were also grouped into three dimensions. Finally, the dissertation concludes with a discussion of the scholarly insights through consideration of the dimensions of place attachment and theories inclusive of suggestions for future place and rock climbing research. Exploring the way rock climbers interact in two very different types of settings (indoor and outdoor) contributes to a better understanding of place meaning and place attachment in the recreation and sport context both in theory and practice. The fundamental implication of the study findings for place theory is despite the similarity in terms of the physical mechanics of climbing in various settings, place meanings will vary depending on whether that activity takes place outdoors or indoors. Practical recommendations are provided for site managers and rock climbers to further enhance the climbing experience and establishment of place meanings.

  • Subjects / Keywords
  • Graduation date
  • Type of Item
  • Degree
    Doctor of Philosophy
  • DOI
  • License
    This thesis is made available by the University of Alberta Libraries with permission of the copyright owner solely for non-commercial purposes. This thesis, or any portion thereof, may not otherwise be copied or reproduced without the written consent of the copyright owner, except to the extent permitted by Canadian copyright law.
  • Language
  • Institution
    University of Alberta
  • Degree level
  • Department
    • Physical Education and Recreation
  • Supervisor / co-supervisor and their department(s)
    • Hinch, Tom (Physical Education and Recreation)
  • Examining committee members and their departments
    • Denison, Jim (Physical Education and Recreation)
    • Thompson, Anna (Tourism)
    • Hvenegaard, Glen (Augustana Campus)
    • Halpenny, Elizabeth (Physical Education and Recreation)