Climbing is going up, or, depending on context, also down. It may refer to aircraft, a land vehicle, and humans and animals. On land, in particular it refers to steep climbs, e.g. on a hill, mountain or stairs, in a pole or tree, etc.
Climbing without a vehicle is often done as a sport or recreation. Often the emphasis is on balance and agility over brute force. Climbing can take place outdoors on real rock faces, or indoors on synthetically constructed climbing walls.
All forms of climbing except some forms of solo climbing use a rope and some way of belaying the climber.
Nearly all climbers follow the known climbing routes in a certain climbing area that are described in guidebookss. The most experienced and adventurous will attempt to establish new routes and make the first ascents of them.
Categories by type of terrain
- Mountaineering is climbing mountains and often involves rock or ice climbing.
- Rock climbing is climbing on steep rocky terrain.
- Bouldering is solo climbing on boulders.
- Indoor climbing is climbing on artificial climbing walls.
- Ice climbing is climbing on frozen water features.
- Buildering (pun on bouldering) is climbing the outside of buildings.
- Recreational tree climbing uses ropes, a saddle and other gear (no spikes or gaffs) to safely scale a tree without causing it harm.
Different ways to ascend
- Aid climbing: any means of gettings yourself and your equipment up the rock face is permitted. You can place gear into cracks and features on the rock and pull on the gear or stand in it in order to achieve ascent. Aid climbing may be the only way (yet!) to climb some very steep terrain.
- Free climbing: the only means of propelling yourself up the rock is your own body. Ropes and other gear are only used to protect the climb, they are not pulled on or weighted in order to actually climb.
Styles of climbing by type of protection
- Traditional climbing where the leader places all protection. The climbing system is used to protect the climber against the consquences of a fall.
- Sport climbing is climbing on routes that are protected mostly or entirely by boltss drilled into the rock. The protection is (generally) reliable, little equipment is needed. Generally people can push themselves more on sport routes.
- Top-rope climbing uses a rope premounted at the top. It is popular for training.
- Solo climbing is climbing without a partner. It can be done with a rope and a self-locking device (roped-solo) or without any form of protection at all (free-solo). Solo climbing is not to be confused with "free climbing".
Competitions are usually held indoors on purpose built climbing walls. There are two main categories.
As an additional handicap, a climber may have to climb a route on sight. This means he is not allowed to see other climbers try to climb the route, and has only a limited amount of time to visually inspect the climb from ground level.
- Rotpunkt: competitors climb the same route one after the other. The highest grip they are able to reach counts. A competition usually consists of 3 routes with ascending difficulty level.
- Race to the top: on two identical routes, competitors race each other to the top. The first to reach the top wins.
There are different ranking systems for competitive climbers.
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).
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Online log book with ability to upload photos and rate climbs. Searchable.
Dark Peak Images
News. Articles. Photos, primary from the Peak District, England and Fontainebleau, France. World Bouldering Cup results and photos.
Articles, tips, and photos with a female slant.
The Climbing Guide
Overview for beginners. Dictionary of terms.
Discussion forum. Basic information about Canadian climbing areas, gyms, and gear shops. Subscription information. Table of contents for the current issue. Some online articles. (Canadian magazine)
Yahoo's Climbing and Expedition News
Links to climbing-related news stories on the net.
News. Discussion forum. Articles. Interviews. Area information with route recommendations for Joshua Tree, California; Paradise Forks, Arizona; and Bishop, California. Trip reports. Video clips.
Discussion forum for mountaineering and general climbing topics.
The Climbing Dictionary
Provides definitions of climbing terminology.
AllExperts Rock Climbing
Questions answered by volunteer experts on all forms of climbing.
Collection of information about safety for clients who retain the services of certified mountain guides. The site also offers comment on the information gathered from an anti-certification point of view.
A collection of images from climbing and mountaineering around the world.
Tom Moyer's Testing Page
Test results for the Euro-Death Knot (overhand knot for rappelling), water knots, high strength cord, and other technical rescue and climbing issues.
Tuan's Mountaineering Page
Information for Yosemite, California and the Mont-Blanc range. North American ice climbing and mountaineering. Trip reports. Photos. Links. Tips. Technical articles.
Discussion forums for rock climbing, bouldering, ice climbing, and access issues. Also includes photo gallery and news.
Original Climbing Video
Video clips in Realplayer format.
British climber, photographer and writer Alastair Lee displays his photographs from around the globe and gives details of his books 'Climbing New Zealand' and 'Eyes Up'.
Great Outdoor Recreation Pages - Climbing
Online guides. Trip reports and photos. Discussion forum. Question and answer forum. Advice and beginner's guides.
News. Information about the current issue. Subscription information. Back issues for sale. Tech tips. Photos. Letters to the editor.
Rock & Ice Magazine
News. Articles. Table of contents for current paper issue. Back issues for sale. Question and answer forum. Some online guides.
News. Articles. Interviews. Photos and video clips.
Articles. Fiction. Information and links, searchable by geographic area.
News. Competition results. World rankings for top climbers plus keep your own score. Articles. Training information. Inteviews.
News. Articles. Photos and videos. Discussion forum. Competition information and results. Wallpaper.
Articles. List of gyms worldwide. Glossary. Route database for certain Canadian crags. Discussion forum. Beginner FAQ.
News, articles, competition results. Gear reviews and test results. Information on climbing in the Dolomites, Italy. (English and Italian)
Includes news, articles, trip reports, and fiction, plus photos and links.
Crag listing by state with beta, directions, photos, and links. Gym listing by state.
Free email and web space for climbers. Classifieds. Searchable link database. eZine. Notice board.
The Online Climbing Guide
Searchable crag database. Searchable gym database.
Articles. Reviews. Site of the week. Searchable link database.
News. Interviews. Articles. Photos. Message board. Reviews of gear, books, videos, and clothing. Online guides to climbing at American Fork, Utah; Big Cottonwood, Utah; Virgin River Gorge, Arizona and bouldering at Little Cottonwood, Utah; and Joes Valley, Utah.
Photos and descriptions of ascenders, descenders, belay devices, and miscellaneous devices used by climbers and cavers historically and currently.
News. Articles. Discussion forums. Book and video reviews. Micro-guides to areas around the world.
News of interest to climbers. Summit panoramas.
Kendal Mountain Film Festival
About the annual festival. Competition rules and entry forms. (Kendal, England)
Articles on training for climbing. Personal training offered. (site in English and Italian, some sections in Italian only)
Answers to frequently asked questions including sections on buying and maintaining gear, top-roping, leading, ice climbing, aid climbing, home gyms, health and training, and safety.
Vertical Jones Magazine
Gear reviews for rock and ice climbing gear. Photos. Online archive of some articles. Table of contents for the current print issue. Subscription information.
Sierra Club Outing, 1934
Vintage movies (QuickTime) of Norman Clyde and others in Yosemite in 1934.
History of women in climbing. Gear for women. Articles. Photos. Discussion forums. Partner listing.