In this event the competitors climbed a suspended vertical rope, using only their hands. How quick you can climb a rope sounds like a great test of upper body strength, and it has been part of the Olympic gymnastics program on several occasions. Rope Climbing was held as part of the official gymnastics program in 1896, 1904, 1906, 1924 and 1932. In 1912, a gymnastics demonstration included some rope climbing.
Competitors raced to the top of the rope in the shortest time possible. They started in a seated position on the floor, and used only the hands and arms. In 1896 the rope was 14 or 15 meters long, and style was also incorporated in the scoring. At all other Olympics, the rope was only 25 ft (7.62m) or 8m (26.3 ft).
The winner of the first event in 1896 was Greek athlete Nikolaus Andriakopoulos. In that year, only two of the competitors reached the top of the rope, both of them Greek.