Body composition and somatotype of experienced mountain climbers

High Alt Med Biol. 2012 Mar;13(1):46-50. doi: 10.1089/ham.2011.1062.


Aims: In order to evaluate body composition and somatotype, 10 Italian experienced mountain climbers were assessed from an anthropometric point of view, before a high altitude ascent. Body mass, height, girths, skinfolds, and bone breadths were gathered and used to calculate body composition and somatotype of each subject.

Results: Means and standard deviations of the subjects' anthropometric characteristics were calculated. Mesomorphism (5.28±1.10) is the dominant somatotype component in all but one the participants, endomorphism (1.55±0.49) is low, and body fat percentage (11.76%±2.93) is low. Comparisons with athletes involved in other climbing subdisciplines highlight the specificity of elite mountain climbers anthropometry.

Conclusions: The elite mountain climbers in our sample were predominantly mesomorphic with somatotype attitudinal mean values lower than reported for male athletes participating in free-climbing, volleyball, gymnastics, and soccer. Anthropometric characteristics may therefore play a role in mountain climbing, even though the trainable components may be more relevant than the nontrainable ones.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Altitude
  • Anthropometry
  • Body Composition*
  • Body Height
  • Body Mass Index
  • Body Weight
  • Bone and Bones / anatomy & histology*
  • Humans
  • Italy
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Mountaineering / physiology*
  • Organ Size
  • Skinfold Thickness
  • Somatotypes*