Climbing is an exciting, adventurous and challenging recreational sports and this is because of the variety of natural formations around the world, climbing has been separated into several different sub disciplines. You must get bored by same type of climbing, right? Well no worries there are different types of climbing. Now you may ask about the different types of climbing. In this article, we are going to talk about the different types of climbing.
How many types of climbing are there?
Now, the very first question that will come to your mind is, ” How many types of climbing are there? “. There is a great variety of climbing, but today in this article we are going to talk about some basic types of climbing. The list of different types of climbing are:-
- Lead Climbing
- Sport Climbing
- Traditional Climbing
- Top Rope Climbing
- Aid Climbing
- Free Climbing
- Solo Roping
- Multi Pitch Climbing
- Ice Climbing
Bouldering is a type of climbing which doesn’t require any rope and is a solo activity. Unlike lead climbing there is no one else, such as a belayer, on the wall helping you through your climb in any way . Duo bouldering problems can be quit fun, but are rare to find.
If you look out, you can find that there are both indoor bouldering gyms and outdoor bouldering areas all around the world. In bouldering the maximum height of your usual bouldering wall is around 4 meters high whereas the average height is usually around 3 meters approximately. Indoor bouldering gyms offer different graded climbs and have a massive safety mat for the protection of the boulder climbers. Outdoor bouldering will usually require the climber brings crash pads for their own protection against the falls.
Some shoes are specifically designed for bouldering because of their speciality for short and steep routes, or precision on overhangs and you may not know it but bouldering is considered one of the most commonly practised forms of climbing as people of any age and gender can do bouldering.
Highballing is quite similar to bouldering. But highballing can be a lot more riskier than bouldering because of the fact that the maximum height of a bouldering wall is considered to be around 15 feet, which is 4 meters. You might think that, Bouldering also has walls of 4 meter then why isn’t it risky? Well our answer to that will climbing a wall or rock that is between 15 and 40 feet high without a rope can be really risky because there is no mat down there to protect you if you fall. This type of rock or wall climbing is known as Highballing.
In some cases, there are artificial highball climbing walls set above a large net or mat for your protection, but highball climbing is rare to find until and unless it is done on rock. Mats aren’t generally used due to the fact that at a large height they’re pretty much useless, this is why highballing is considered to be quite dangerous.
Just like highballing and bouldering, free-soloing also doesn’t require any ropes and is probably considered as the most dangerous type of climbing. There are quite a handful amount of people who have actually died from free-soloing.
Bouldering or bouldering turns to free-soloing when the climber is climbing without ropes at a height which is above 40 feet. Even at times it is considered as a highball climb, which is between 15 and 40 feet and is quite difficult. Sometimes it is more dangerous due to the route used and techniques that have to be administered.
Alex Honnold, probably the most well-known climber in the world as a free-soloist. Honnold has set the record for climbing the Bear’s Reach route of Lover’s Leap, a granite cliff in California, in just 4 minutes and 15 seconds without using any ropes. The Bear’s Reach route on Lover’s Leap is almost 400 feet high.
The requirements of lead climbing come straight from its name, which means that Lead climbing requires a leader to set the route by clipping the rope into bolts and hooks which are actually set firmly into the wall or rock. Trad climbing or traditional climbing gear can also be used in lead climbing which is removable and therefore not fixed into the rock. There are different types of lead climbing, which are sport climbing and trad climbing.
Here is a video for lead climbing:
As the leader climbs the route, another person at the bottom of the wall called the belayer, will help you to climb up the rope. The leader or the lead climber will then clip the rope into the hooks to allow other climbers below him to climb with less risk to their lives and the rope, which actually, stops the climber from falling to his or her death.
Mountaineering, the most dangerous type of rock climbing, has quite a few names, as it is known as alpinism in Europe and it is also called as mountain climbing throughout the world. It is quite similar to hiking, except from the part that it is more physically demanding due to the different techniques which needs to be used in certain situations so that the climber can actually get through a route safe and sond.
Mountain climbing is often done in a group of people because team work and support is usually the most important factor in safety and progression and it can be considered as an activity activity that lasts a few hours at a time, or it can be done as an expedition that lasts days, weeks, or even months. To climb mountains like Mount Everest, it takes around 2 months to get from the bottom of the mountain and up to the summit.
Mountains give different types of problems due to the different terrains , and the different conditions overall compared to a normal straight up climbing route. While mountaineering, you may stumble across snow, ice, and different types of rock and for these reasons different techniques and technical equipment may need to be used. Ice climbing, glacier travel, scrambling, along with the normal lead climbing and maybe even a bit of bouldering maybe used to get from one place to another .
Mountaineering is quite dangerous when a climber attempts different challenges and this happens due to different characteristics of the terrain that may be discovered such as glaciers, rock falls, avalanches, and crevasses all provide different problems. As you ascend up a mountain, the air becomes thinner due to the high altitude, and the weather conditions may become more unfriendly and you may also face high altitude sickness.
Sport climbing is also a type of lead climbing. Just like, lead climbing there are fixed bolts with rings into the rock on wall to protect the climber from falling and these bolts and rings will have been set by the leader, and are usually between 10 and 15 feet apart from each other. The climber will use a quickdraw or an extender to clip the rope attached to them onto the bolt attached to the rock. A quickdraw is two carabiners, a looped spring-loaded shackle, that are connected by a thick piece of nylon and at the end of the route, a belay anchor will be waiting for the climber which that has been decided by the leader. A belay anchor mostly consists of two or three bolts and rappel rings.
Sometimes sport climbs can be “rap-bolted”, which is a way to bolt into the rock, but instead of bolting as they climb upwards, the leader will bolt as they rappel down the wall.
The main aim of sport climbing is to focus on technique, strength, cardiovascular activity, and gymnastics rather than some climbing methods which focus only on adventure and risk as their major factors, for example, mountaineering and free-soloing. Most of the people who starts lead climbing are quite inclined to go for sport climbing instead of trad climbing due to convenience and less equipment is needed in sport climbing, there isn’t as much to remember regarding the anchors into the wall, even it is quite easier than trad climbing but it is still decntly challenging, and it is more of a workout for the whole body than the mind.
As we’ve already stated that trad climbing or traditional climbing is another type of lead climbing. The only difference is that, in a traditional climbing the anchors that are set into the wall are removed once the route has been climbed.
8. Top Rope Climbing
Top rope climbing or top roping is probably one of the safest forms of roped climbing, where a type of anchor is created or used at the top of the climb. This anchor could be made from bolts, a tree, or some form of boulder or rock and the rope is fed up to the anchor from the climber and then down to the belayer, which is called “sling shot top roping”. Another form of top roping is called “top belaying” where the belayer is actually at the top of the cliff or climb, almost all the time they would be at the same point as the anchor. In top roping you would have to have access to the top of the cliff or climb, usually without climbing to it and typically the top of the climb can be reached by hiking so that someone can set the anchor for the climbers. In top roping the climber should not fall much of a distance if they were to make an error because the belayer and the anchor would always be there to protect them.
9. Aid Climbing
Aid climbing is any type of climbing that requires equipment or objects to be used into the rock which will help the climber to ascend up the wall or rock and the point of aid climbing is for the climber to use this equipment to help assist them up the climb as much as possible without it being used specifically just for safety. Highballing, bouldering, and free-soloing do not require any special equipment such as bolts, rings, or anchors set into the wall and so they are not classified as a type of aid climbing.
10. Free Climbing
Free climbing, which is also known as free from direct aid climbing and describes any type of climbing that does not use climbing equipment to help the climber progress in their climb. But with free climbing, equipment is allowed only for safety reasons. So bouldering, sport climbing, free-solo climbing, highballing and trad climbing are all types of free climbing and free climbing is completely opposite of aid climbing.
11. Rope Soloing
Rope soloing which is also known as roped solo climbing. Rope soloing is a form of climbing which is done without a partner but a rope is used for protection. Other equipment that can be used to protect the climber if they wish to do so , therefore rope soloing can either be a type of free climbing or aid climbing.
Rope soloing is quite similar to free-soloing, however this is less risky due to the protection from the rope. There are still a lot more risks involved in this type of climbing than roped climbing involving a partner or a group, for example, if someone who’s rope soloing is in a bad spot or has a potentially life threatening problem, then there may not be anyone to help them.
Although it’s safer than free-soloing and it is also considered as a lot more annoying than most other types of climbing and this is because a section of the route must be climbed twice due to the fact that you have to add the next belay anchor and then remove the previous one which means the amount of times you have to ascend the same section of each route is at least thrice.
12. Multi Pitch Climbing
Multi pitch climbing is a form of climbing which has belay stations for the climber to stop at on different areas of the climbing route. This type of climbing is called “Multi Pitch” because every belay station where a climber can stop is called a “pitch”. Mostly, the leader of the group will attach themselves to the belay station and load equipment at each pitch for the climbers below to use if those are needed.
The purpose of multi pitch climbing is so that each pitch lets other climbers collect equipment such as safety gear while ascending up to the lead climber.
14. Ice Climbing
Ice climbing is the most exciting one amongst the all, which usually uses picks, crampons, ropes and protective gear while the climber climbs frozen water falls, cliffs, frozen slabs and other similar terrains. Ice climbing is another form of lead climbing which can be done in pairs with a rope and the other one is an anchor. In ice climbing a climbers’ form of ice pick is used to help the climber advance up the ice, which is why ice climbing is a type of aid climbing and it is considered an extreme sport and is used in another type of climbing, which is mountaineering.
There are two different types of ice climbing:
The reason that these types of ice are considered different is because alpine ice is frozen precipitation and water ice is frozen water flow and the climbing styles on each type of ice varies. Even the ice climbing grading is separate to both.
Alpine ice is found on mountains, usually climbed because the climber wants to reach the summit of a mountain and it is a type of climbing used in mountaineering. Alpine ice is easier to climb compared to the water ice but is usually a longer route than with most water ice areas.
Water Ice climbing is climbed by people looking to test their technique and is usually some form of frozen waterfall or similar.
What are the 3 basic forms of climbing?
The three basics types forms of climbing are : lead climbing, bouldering or boulder climbing, and mountaineering. For all the other climbing you need to read this article.
What are the two types of climbers?
The two types of climbers are indoor climbers and out door climbers. Indoor climbers climbs in climbing gyms or walls. Whereas, out door climbers climb on rocks and mountains.
What is the most typical style or types of climbing?
Sport Climbing is the typical type of of rock climbing, generally practiced outdoors but sharing some similarities with gym climbing and the routes for sport climbing are much higher so you need to have safety equipment and mostly the climber wears a harness attached to a rope.
What is Cragging?
Cragging is undoubtedly the most popular form of roped climbing which is used to describe climbing routes that are only a short walk from the car.
What are the 6 types of climbs?
6 different types of cling are:
Mountaineering (alpine climbing):
Top Rope Climbing:
Free Solo Climbing:
What is used to climb?
Carabiners are used to climb up a mountain, as a carabiner, in simple terms, is a device to which you can attach things without fear of them becoming detached. Therefore in climbing, they’re used for all sorts of purposes, such as connecting climbing rope with other pieces of climbing protection such as camming devices, nuts and bolts.
Which type of climbing does not require ropes or harnesses?
In bouldering, there is no use of a rope or harness, instead of relying on ropes for protection, they usually relies on crash pads or mats to protect climbers when they fall.
What is ice climbing called?
Ice climbing is called as vertical ice climbing, alpine ice climbing and water ice climbing.
How many free climbers die each year?
If we extrapolate 30 climbing-related deaths per 5,000,000 North American climbers to the estimated global total of 25,000,000 climbers, we could see 150 climbing-related deaths every year. There were 38 climbing-related deaths in North America in 2017, according to a 2017 report.
What is free climbing called?
Free climbing is a term that was used to describe any style of climbing that does not involve aids. Free soloing is also a type of free climbingwhich involves climbing routes with no aids or protection , like no trad gear, no bolts, no rope, nothing to catch a fall.
How many carabiners do I need for climbing?
For starters, you will need about ten express quickdraws and at least two carabiners for climbing.