Types Of Climbing



There are a number of different styles of rock climbing.

Free Climbing

The ethics of free climbing requires the climber complete the route without using artificial means and that the safety equipment is only ever used to arrest a fall.

 Some quite unethical practices have emerged, these include the cutting or chipping holds into the rock. Thankfully this form of vandalism is not widespread, thanks mostly to the efforts of climbers committed to the preservation of this scarce and valuable resource.

The ethics extend further within the category of free climbing depending on whether the climber studies and plans the climb. If a climber simply walks up to a route, quickly examines it before successfully completing the climb, this is considered an “On Sight” attempt. However, if the climber used a telescope, watched another climber or discussed the climb before completing it, then this would be a “Red Point” attempt. These categories were defined to differentiate the abilities of the “On Sight” climber to spontaneously and independently choreograph their moves.

Aid Climbing

For those climbs that are simply too difficult to be climbed free, climber places equipment to form an anchor and then climbs use the equipment to advance. This technique is known as Aid Climbing or Aiding, it is surpassingly complicated and progress is slow with the climber using a rope or webbing ladder to attach to their protection. Some members of the climbing  community consider Aiding as unethical especially when destructive pitons are hammered into cracks, damaging the rock.

Solo Climbing

As the name suggests this form of climbing is an individual activity where the climber chooses not to use safety equipment. As you might imagine solo climbers are a special and very confident bread, who typically don’t live past their first fall. For this reason Soloing is not recommended.


Bouldering is an excellent way to practice your climbing technique with minimal equipment. Due to the risk of injury from a fall, bouldering is normally limited to a maximum height of 2 metres.



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Ó Copyright Steven Riddell 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002 & 2003.