Physics of Rock Climbing

Climber on Mt. Arapiles in Australia.

A climber on Mt. Arapiles in Australia. (Image courtesy of, as posted by adski.)


MIT Course Number


As Taught In

Spring 2006



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Course Description

Course Features

Course Description

SP.255 is a lecture, discussion, and project based seminar about the physics of rock climbing. Participants are first exposed to the unsolved problems in the climbing community that could be answered by research and then asked to solve a small part of one of these problems. The seminar provides an introduction to engineering problems, an opportunity to practice communication skills, and a brief stab at doing some research. This seminar explicitly does not include climbing instruction nor is climbing/mountaineering experience a prerequisite.

Related Content

David Custer. ES.255 Physics of Rock Climbing. Spring 2006. Massachusetts Institute of Technology: MIT OpenCourseWare, License: Creative Commons BY-NC-SA.

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