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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

In climbing, a first ascent (FA) is the first successful, documented attainment of the top of a mountain, or the first to follow a particular climbing route. First ascents are notable because they entail genuine exploration, with greater risks, challenges, and recognition than climbs which follow.



Due to the vagaries of history, the details of a first ascents of even many prominent mountains are scanty or unknown; sometimes the only evidence of prior summiting is a cairn, artifacts, or inscriptions discovered at the top. Today, first ascents are generally carefully recorded and usually mentioned in guidebooks. Increasingly, however, some guidebooks consciously choose to omit this information to discourage disputes over priority and excessive bolting of faces by climbers driven to achieve "first ascent" status.

Related Terms

Many of the earlier first ascents, particularly for difficult routes, involved a mix of free and aid climbing. As a result, purist free climbers have developed the designation first free ascent (FFA) to acknowledge ascents intentionally made more challenging by using equipment for protection only.

Second ascents are also noteworthy in climbing circles, frequently involving improving on a pioneering route through lessons learned from it, experience which may span from technical improvements to having a better understanding of how much gear and provisions to take.

The term "last ascent" has been used facetiously to refer to a climb that is so unpleasant or unaesthetic (due to loose rock, excessive brush, poor route selection, etc) that no one would ever willingly repeat the first ascent party's ordeal.

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Simple English

In climbing, the first climb to reach the top of a mountain is called first ascent. The risks for the climbers are often very high, because the way to the top is not known. That is why first ascents are often carefully recorded as part of the history of a mountain and usually mentioned in books about that mountain.

Some use the words "last ascent" as a joke for a way that was no pleasure and no one wants to do it like the first climbers.

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