How Hardcore Is Climbing Compared to Mountain Biking, Ultrarunning, and Swimming?

Last Updated on: 31st March 2023, 10:52 am

I just ran across an interesting article on the Outside website. The author takes a look at a handful of “extreme” outdoor sports—nordic skiing, rock climbing, open-water swimming, downhill mountain biking, and ultrarunning—to determine which is the “toughest.”

Each sport is broken down into a few measurable statistics, namely calories burned per hour, injury rate per 1,000 hours, and fatality rate per million participants. There’s also input from experts in the field; for climbing, the experts are Alex Honnold and Steph Davis.

Climbing ranks third out of the five in terms of calories burned per hour at 818. The statistic that really stuck out to me, though, was the number of fatalities per million participants. At 145, it is the most deadly of the sports and nearly thirteen times more likely to result in death than the sport in the #2 spot (mountain biking with 11.2 fatalities per million participants).

At the same time, rock climbing apparently has the lowest overall injury rate out of all five activities. Interesting.

Anyway, it’s an interesting article and worth reading just to see at the end what sports the various experts deem to be the most heinous. Again, you can read the article here.

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