A Summary of Different Types of Climbing

    The history of rock climbing can be long or short depending on your perspective. According to Freud, of course, the desire to grunt to elevated peaks has roots in human nature, itself. Contrary to popular belief, subtle differences between climbing subtypes exist. For many years, climbing tall mountain peaks and huge sheer cliffs was considered the most legitimate form of climbing, and shorter routes were considered practice for these longer endeavors. Gradually, various types of shorter route climbing such as bouldering and sport climbing have gained popularity as independant pursuits.
    Because of the concentrated difficulty of the more compact routes, they emphasize pure athletic difficulty, often with wildly overhanging terrain and gymnastic type movements. Difficulty standards have launched to levels unknown ten years ago, and climbing competitions on changeable indoor walls have become popular. In fact, bouldering and sport climbing have become the fastest growing pockets of rock climbing. With the advent of indoor climbing on artificial walls, these rock climbing pursuits have also become very accessible and safe. Anyone can challenge themselves on a route suited to their own ability, from a ladder to a featureless roof.



    Bouldering may be the simplest of all climbing pursuits. Bouldering describes climbing short climbs low enough to the ground so that getting hurt is improbable. Because of its accessibility, boulderers probably existed before recorded history, but only recently has it gained legitimacy as a pursuit in itself by the climbing "scene". Because these climbs are mostly short, boulder problems often get brutally powerful. Don't be intimidated, however. If you've climbed to the top of a rock while hiking, then you've already bouldered. Today, more and more climbers are finding stimulation exclusively through this pursuit, climbing to the potential of the unhindered body and mind while dust collects on their ropes and gear.

Sport Climbing

   Along with bouldering, sport climbing has become the fastest growing pocket of rock climbing. Sport routes do require rope and other gear for safety, but sport climbing is associated with shorter, safer routes and more difficult movements at the limit of a climbers physical ability. Because the goal of sport climbing involves pushing oneself physically, sport routes sometimes involve rehearsal and specific training. Gym or indoor climbing on artificial walls fall under this category, providing an accessible, dry, social place to climb even when it's dark out.

Big Wall Climbing / Traditional Climbing

    Traditional or "trad" climbing emphasizes the use of removable protection. Spring loaded doo-hickeys and various thing-a-majiggeys are inserted into cracks and constrictions for safety. Because these devices take some effort to place correctly, most climber do not climb traditional climbs with moves as powerful or sustained as they do sport climbs. The challenge, however, often stems from a combination of physical and psychological obstacles, especially when the last protection placement is far below and the next is far above.
    Almost all big wall climbs can be classified as "trad" climbs. As the name suggest, big wall climbs are long, taking multiple rope lengths and sometimes days to climb. For instance, climbs on "El Capitan" in Yosemite are considered big wall climbs. In addition, big wall climbing involves two general techniques. "Aid Climbing" refers to pulling on protection devices and other manmade tools to gain progress up the route. "Free Climbing" uses natural rock features to climb with manmade devices used for protection only.

Mountaineering / Alpine

Modern rock climbing, as commonly practiced by our society, can be traced to mountaineering, the pursuit of reaching the top of any earthly mound by any means necessary. Because the path to the top often involves climbing rock faces, rock climbing is just part of this varied pursuit that might included hiking, snowshoeing, ice climbing, and exploiting cheap native porters. This is arguably the most dangerous and at times unpleasant of climbing pursuits. Even the most seasoned experts are subject to the cruel whims of mother nature and loss of fingers and toes to frost bite are not uncommon. Some more afflicted mountaineers even discuss these lost digits like fond memories or badges of courage.


It is recommended that you buy climbing guide "Paklenica".

By Dubravko Vukmirovic
Scanned by Tamara Dumic
Special thanks to Boris Cujic.

rope.gif (6993 bytes)

News | New Routes | Picture | Gallery | Links | Grades
Go home.gif (888 bytes)home

Copyright 1999 - - D & D All Rights Reserved
This Climbing Site is designed and maintained By Dubravko Vukmirovic.