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(Redirected from Rock climbing)
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Climbers on "Valkyrie" at the Roaches.

Climbing is going up, or, depending on context, also down. It may refer to aircraft, a land vehicle, and humans and other animals. On land, in particular it refers to steep climbs, e.g. on a hill, mountain or stairs, in a pole or tree, etc. This article covers climbing without a vehicle.


Types of climbing

By terrain:

By method of ascent:

  • In aid climbing, all means of ascent are used, from pulling on gear to climbing rope ladders attached to drilled bolts.
  • In free climbing, climbers use only their hands, feet and other body parts to make progress. Ropes and other gear are only used for protection.

By type of protection:

  • In traditional climbing the leader places all protection. The climbing system is used to protect the climber against the consequences of a fall.
  • Sport climbing is climbing on routes that are protected mostly or entirely by bolts drilled into the rock.
  • Top-rope climbing uses a rope attached to an anchor at the top. It is often used to introduce beginners to climbing but is frowned on by some in the climbing community who consider it an unpure form of ascent. It is also used to let climbers Red point difficult trad routes.
  • Solo climbing is climbing without a partner. It can be done with a rope for protection ("roped solo") or without any form of protection at all ("free solo"). Deep-water soloing relies on water at the base of the climb to protect against injury.
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Short (one-pitch) climbs on the Calico Hills, west of Las Vegas, Nevada


Competitions are usually held indoors on purpose built climbing walls. There are two main categories.

  • Difficulty: competitors climb the same route one after the other. The winner is the one who reaches the highest point on the climb; if several competitors reach the top (or the same high point) the time taken may be used to determine the winner.
  • Speed: on two identical routes, competitors race each other to the top. The first to reach the top wins.

Typically climbers must climb the route on sight. This means that they are not allowed to see other climbers on the route, and have only a limited amount of time to visually inspect the climb from ground level. (Otherwise later climbers would be able to learn from previous competitors' mistakes, giving them a considerable advantage.)


Climbers grade the difficulty of the routes they climb. The grading system used varies from country to country (and region) and according to the style of climb. See also grade (bouldering). Grade opinions can vary from person to person. This phenomenon can be seen frequently in climbing gyms where grading will vary vastly between gyms.

different forms of grading is also used for mountaineering, and bouldering. There is no common buildering grading technique yet.

Climbing and the Law

Rock climbing is not necessarily allowed on any given rock formation. The regulations vary from place to place but trespass laws are the most common impediment to climbing. Even where physical access is not an issue, climbing might not be allowed due to public liability concerns. Land owners often ban climbing during particular seasons to protect, for example, nesting birds. There are several organisations devoted to opening up new areas, or protecting access to existing areas, for rock climbing. One of the largest of these is The Access Fund[1] (

Climbing on buildings and structures without the owner's consent is illegal in most cases.

Climbing in popular culture

Climbing also has importance in some festivals. The best known festivals in which climbing plays an important role are technoparades, especially loveparade. In these parades, it is very common to climb on trees, street lamps, portable restrooms and other large objects. Climbing is also common during streetparade in Zurich and reincarnation in Hannover, although security staff and policemen pay close attention to climbers, since injuries and property damage have occurred in the past.

See also

de:Klettern eo:Grimpado fr:Escalade lt:Laipiojimas nl:Klimsport pl:Wspinaczka no:Klatring sv:Klättring zh:攀岩


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