Rapelje, Brandon Wayne (2004-08). Rock climbing sub-worlds: a segmentation study. Master's Thesis.
Rock climbing participation is growing throughout the United States. Information on the participation patterns and preferences of groups of climbers can be used to help mangers make better informed decisions, allowing them to cater to the specific interests of climbing participants, ensure participant satisfaction and encourage continued patronage. This study explores variation in participant characteristics across segments of the climbing population. Because an individual's level of specialization will align him with other like-minded participants, an understanding of a participant's stages of involvement and level of specialization assists in understanding the social world's views and behaviors toward the resource and toward other participants. Information on participants' level of experience, level of commitment, and demographic dimensions can be used to better understand and manage climbers. This study aimed to identify differences among groups of climbers. The study measured across 484 participants. The participants were described by various dependent variables, which included demographic factors, level of specialization, motivations for climbing, types of conflicts and constraints experiences, and setting preferences. Measuring the climbers' participation patterns identified participant sub-world groups. The four groups of climbing participants, as identified by this study, were: infrequent climbers, frequent outdoor climbers, frequent indoor climbers, and avid climbers. While demographics are not significantly descriptive of climbing sub-world affiliations, this study found that there were differences among sub-world affiliates in terms of specialization level, motives, conflicts, constraints, and setting preferences.