How to Climb – The Different Types of Rock Climbing

Climbing brings joy to many people. The exhilaration of pulling yourself to higher heights or traversing a bed of rocks is a hobby owned by the adventurous alone! When learning to climb, these are the most common styles or types of rock climbing.

Bouldering

Bouldering involves climbing low routes that are relatively safe without the use of ropes. Safety components may include a pad of some kind at the base of the climb and/or someone on the ground to direct a climber away from potentially dangerous areas. This is one of my favourite types of rock climbing. Hopping from rock to rock makes me feel alive.

Top-Roping

For top-roping, you use an anchor at the top of a route which provides a point for running the rope through which to tie from the climber to the crosier. The belayer is then responsible for making sure that the climber does not fall too far. This is considered the safest type of rock climbing and is ideal for the newcomer. Generally, the belayer should be somewhat experienced or at least have a strong build in order to fully support the climber. If you plan to switch places then the same should be said of both belayer and climber.

Traditional Climbing

The climber or climbers place all the necessary safety equipment as they climb and remove it as they progress. When they have completed the climbing, nothing is left behind. This form of climbing does not disfigure the natural rock and leaves no trace after the climbers have left, so ecologically it is the best form of climbing, though perhaps not the safest. The reason it isn’t so safe is that while you’re setting up equipment for your next maneuver, you’re technically unprotected. Any mistake made at this point could be dangerous as you’re not tied to any part of the cliff. Ever experienced climbers have to be very careful with traditional climbing. Too many lives have been lost already due to simple mistakes. Never let your guard down and watch out for any loose rock in the cliff-face that may cause you to fall. Most especially, don’t attempt traditional climbing alone. If someone is with you, then each of you can help the other out by finding the safest means of passing.

Sport Climbing

In sport climbing, all safety equipment is permanently attached to the rock along the particular section(s) or route(s).

Scrambling

In scrambling, the climber basically uses his hands and feet to perform a route. Cycling is generally a freestyle, however, protection and rope are used in advanced routes that are “technically”, usually bicycle routes.

Free Climbing

Free climbing is a form of climbing in which the climber can use safety equipment as a backup to prevent injury, but only uses his or her strength, balance, and ability to perform the climbing. This contrasts with climbing where the climber uses the equipment to help reach the top.

Lead Climbing

The leader will climb up from the starting point with his rope as the second climber ties him up. Establish or use intermediate safety points as they progress through the climb. The second climber reaches the leading climber at each point, and they, therefore, tie each other as they go.

Climbing Aid

As the climber ascends the route, he places the equipment at intervals to aid or “help” the climbing. In this type of climbing the equipment and rope can be used to directly help the climber reach each point of the climb.

Only Free

The climber climbs alone and without the use of any safety equipment. This type of climbing is probably the most dangerous and potentially lethal.

Only With Ropes

This one is a form of climbing in which the climber begins a route with the rope tied, allowing him to cling to himself as he goes along. This can be done as free or helpful climbing or even a combination of the two.

Self-Help Climbing

This type of climbing usually involves a harness and at least some safety or protective equipment, but not a rope. The climber will climb freely as much as possible and will only use the safety equipment required by the circumstance. The climber may or may not use the equipment to “assist” in the ascent.

Deep-Water Solitaire

This is a form of free solitaire where a climber’s route on the rock wall is over a body of water deep enough to protect the climber from serious injury in the event of a fall.

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