11 Types of Rock Climbing

Rock climbing is an activity in which participants climb up, down or across natural rock formations or artificial rock walls. The goal is to reach the summit of a formation or the endpoint of a usually pre-defined route without falling. Here we’ve listed some of the types of rock climbing/rock climbing styles.

Types of Rock Climbing

  1. Aid Climbing
  2. Free Climbing
  3. Free Soloing
  4. Bouldering
  5. Deep Water Soloing
  6. Roped Solo Climbing
  7. Lead Climbing
  8. Multi Pitch Climbing
  9. Traditional Climbing
  10. Sport Climbing
  11. Top Rope Climbing

1. Aid Climbing

Aid climbing involves the upward progression by the use of gear or other mechanical means. This means the section of cliff you are climbing on just doesn’t have good enough holds to afford climbing with feet and hands like you would if you were free climbing. Aid climbing methods are often used on very long, multi-day routes called big walls.

Aid Climbing

2. Free Climbing

In this types of climbing, the climber uses climbing equipment such as ropes and other means of climbing protection, but only to protect against injury during falls and not to assist progress. Also, called as Free from direct aid.

3. Free Soloing

In Solo Climbing, the climber is climbing without any rope or other forms of protection where a fall would result in serious injury or death. Alex Honnold is the world’s most famous free soloist. Also, called as Soloing.

4. Bouldering

Bouldering is a variant of soloing. Bouldering is performed on large boulders, small rock formations or artificial rock walls, without the use of ropes or harnesses. Bouldering routes, or “problems,” are typically very short, requiring a handful of very powerful moves to complete.

5. Deep Water Soloing

Deep water soloing is another form of ropeless climbing, like bouldering. It is a form of solo rock climbing that relies solely upon the presence of water at the base of a climb to protect against injury from fallings from the generally high difficulty routes. It requires minimal equipment compared to other types of climbing. Also, called as Psicobloc.

6. Roped Solo Climbing

Roped Solo Climbing is a form of soloing without a climbing partner but with the safety of rope protection. Roped soloing is much less dangerous than free soloing but more dangerous than climbing with a partner. One problem is that in a fall, the attachment system is loaded in a way it wasn’t designed for. Also, in case of an accident, sometimes there is no one to go for help. It can also be tedious, as the climber must ascend each section of rock twice: once to add the next belay anchor, then again after descending to remove the previous one, effectively traveling the route three times. Also, called as Rope Soloing.

7. Lead Climbing

Have you ever looked up at a cliff with climbers on it and wondered how a rope got up there? If there’s no way to hike around to the top, then someone had to lead climb the route.

With lead climbing, the rope runs directly from the belayer to the climber. As the climber goes up the cliff, he or she clips the rope into bolts that are fixed to the wall or removable pieces of trad gear.

8. Multi Pitch Climbing

Multi-pitch climbing is the ascent of climbing routes with one or more stops at a belay station. Each section of a climb between stops at belay stations is called a pitch. The leader ascends the pitch, placing gear and stopping to anchor themselves to the belay station.
The general purpose of these stops is to allow the second climber to ascend to the point of the lead climber while collecting the protective gear from the route in the course of the lead climber’s ascent. At the belay station, the protective gear is collected, possibly exchanged to a new leader, and the leader of the next pitch ascends the route.

9. Traditional Climbing

In traditional Climbing, a climber or group of climbers place all gear required to protect against falls, and removes it when a passage is complete. The ethos of this style emphasized risk, adventure, and complex problem solving. Also, called as Trad Climbing.

10. Sport Climbing

Sport Climbing relies on permanent anchors fixed to the rock for protection. This is in contrast to traditional climbing where climbers must place removable protection as they climb.
Sport climbing emphasizes strength, endurance, gymnastic ability, and technique, over adventure, risk and self-sufficiency. For the majority of sport climbers, sport climbing offers an easier, more convenient experience which requires less equipment, less in the way of technical skills required to be safe during the climb, and lower levels of mental stress than traditional climbing.

11. Top Rope Climbing

Top rope climbing is a style of climbing in which the climber is securely attached to a rope which then passes up, through an anchor system at the top of the climb, and down to a belayer at the foot of the climb. The belayer takes in slack rope throughout the climb so that if at any point the climber were to lose their hold, they would not fall more than a short distance.
Top-roping is often done on routes that cannot be lead climbed for one reason or another. Most top-rope anchors can be reached through non-technical means, such as by hiking or scrambling to the top of the cliff. Also, called as Top Roping.

Leave a Reply