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In climbing competitions there are usually the familiar competitor categories of beginner, intermediate, and advanced. Sometimes there are categories for youth or older climbers too. At bigger competitions there will be an "open" category which has routes harder than some found in the advanced category.

Does anyone know why that category was originally called "open"?

P.S. Sorry if this is not outdoorsy enough, it's just that climbing questions end up at this stackexchange site.

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Disclaimer: My Answer is based off Canada's Tour de Bloc structure.

My understanding for the use of the term Open is that it is "Open" to anyone who wants to give it a go. If you are not vying for a spot on the Canadian team you would go Recreational or Experienced.

The Open category is for the top climbers who are serious about competing.

Open competitors vie for points based on their ranking at each comp, and the total points over the entire season determines the selection of Canada’s national climbing team. At each comp the open competitors first do a Qualifying round; the top 6-8 men and women then advance to a final round where they face 4 or 5 new problems that they have not seen before (called “isolation format”). The finals are always an exciting spectacle for all the other climbers to watch.

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Beginner, Intermediate, and Advanced are similarly "open" to anyone. So I'm not convinced that is the origin of the term. A friend had an interesting suggestion: all the other categories have bounds on the difficulty (e.g. 5.9 to 5.11+), whereas Open may be "open"-ended on the difficulty. – Anssssss Apr 7 '14 at 14:26

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