Types of Rock Climbing

Updated: Mar 9

Aided Climbing

Aided climbing is a style of climbing in which in order to move upwards, you use fixation gadgets or devices to provide maximum protection while climbing.

The term contrasts with free climbing in which progress is made without the use of any gadgets or devices. A free climber ascends only by grasping and stepping on the cracks that occur naturally on the rocks, using ropes and equipment for support in the event of a fall and provide safety.

In general, aided techniques are preferred when free climbing is not sort as an option when there are steep climbs and routes that are too long that demand great endurance both with your body and mind. While assisted climbing uses the support of gadgets and devices and does not rely much on the athleticity of the climbers body, the physical demands of assisted climbing should not be underestimated.

Aided climbing is sometimes erroneously referred to as class 6 climbing since it is performed using tools and devices and it does not fall under the traditional classifications of the Yosemite Decimal System of Classes 1-5 which are based on advancing with the hands and feet connecting with the rock. There is a totally different rating system for the aided climbing of A0 to A5.

Big Wall Climbing

(Picture by Bikram Bezbaruah)

Big wall climbing is a type of rock climbing in which a climber climbs a long multi-pitch route that usually takes more than a day to complete the climb. With large wall routes, the climbing team often has to live with deployable hanging tents and means of transport on the route. It is practiced on tall or more vertical surfaces with few protrusions and small cracks.

Climbers routinely began preparing for days and days of uninterrupted climbing on very long, hard, steep stretches that could easily weigh up to hundreds of pounds. Transportation systems have been developed to handle these large loads.

Over the past few decades, techniques for large wall climbing have evolved due to the increased use of free climbing and advances in speed climbing routes that used to routinely take days can be completed in less than 24 hours to be climbed. Nevertheless, many climbers are still making multi-day climbs on classic "trade routes" which have recently been largely free and very fast. Only a small handful of elite and exceptionally well-prepared climbers are able to free-climb most of the classic Class VI routes or accelerate such routes in a matter of hours.


(Photo by Allan Mas from Pexels)

Bouldering is a form of free climbing that is performed on small rock formations or artificial rock walls without the use of ropes or belts. While bouldering can be done without equipment, most climbers use climbing shoes to secure footing, chalk to keep their hands dry and provide a firmer grip, and bouldering mats to prevent fall injuries. Unlike free solo climbing, which is also done without ropes, bouldering issues (the sequence of movements a climber makes to complete the climb) are typically less than 6 meters. Traverses, which are one form of the bouldering problem, the climber must climb horizontally from one end to the other. Artificial climbing walls allow bouldering to climb indoors in areas without natural boulders. In addition, bouldering competitions take place both indoors and outdoors. The port was originally a training method for rope climbing tours and mountaineering, so that climbers could train specifically moving at a safe distance from the ground. In addition, the sport served to build endurance and increase finger strength. In the course of the 20th century, bouldering developed into a separate discipline. Individual issues are rated based on difficulty. Although various rating systems have been used throughout the history of bouldering, modern problems usually use either the V scale or the Fontainebleau scale.

The growing popularity of bouldering has caused several environmental problems, leading some landowners to restrict access or to ban bouldering altogether , including soil erosion and trampled vegetation, as climbers often hike off-trail to reach bouldering.


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