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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

This article uses climbing terms to describe the sport of rock climbing.
Rock climbing
Climbers on "Valkyrie" at the Roaches, UK

Rock climbing is a sport in which participants climb up or across natural rock formations or man-made rock walls. The goal is to reach the summit of a formation or the endpoint of a pre-defined route. Rock climbing is similar to scrambling (another activity involving the scaling of hills and similar formations), but climbing is generally differentiated because of the use of hands to support the climber's weight as well as to provide balance.

Rock climbing is a physically and mentally demanding sport, one that often tests a climber's strength, endurance, agility, and balance along with his or her mental control. It can be a dangerous sport and knowledge of proper climbing techniques and usage of specialized climbing equipment is crucial for the safe completion of routes. Because of the wide range and variety of rock formations around the world rock climbing has been separated into several different styles and sub-disciplines that are described below.[1] While not an olympic event, rock climbing is recognised by the IOC as a sport.



Climbing in Germany in ca. 1965

Although rock climbing was an important component of Victorian mountaineering in the Alps, it is generally thought that the sport of rock climbing began in the last quarter of the nineteenth century in various parts of Europe. Rock climbing evolved gradually from an alpine necessity to a distinct athletic activity.

Rock Climbing ,Nagarjun National Park ,NEPAL

Aid climbing (climbing using equipment that act as artificial hand- or footholds) became popular during the period 1920 - 1960, leading to ascents in the Alps and in Yosemite Valley that were considered impossible without such means. However, climbing techniques, equipment, and ethical considerations have evolved steadily, and today, free climbing (climbing on holds made entirely of natural rock, using gear solely for protection and not for upward movement) is the most popular form of the sport. Free climbing has since been divided into several sub-styles of climbing dependent on belay configuration (described below).

Over time, grading systems have also been created in order to more accurately compare the relative difficulties of climbs.

Rock climbing basics

At its most basic, rock climbing involves climbing a route with one's own hands and feet and little more than a cushioned bouldering pad in the way of protection. This style of climbing is referred to as bouldering, since the relevant routes are usually found on boulders no more than 10 to 15 feet tall.

As routes get higher off the ground, the increased risk of life-threatening injuries necessitates additional safety measures. A variety of specialized climbing techniques and climbing equipment exists to provide that safety, and climbers will usually work in pairs and utilize a system of ropes and anchors designed to catch falls. Ropes and anchors can be configured differently to suit many styles of climbing, and roped climbing is thus divided into further sub-types that vary based on how their belay systems are set up. The different styles are described in more detail below, but, generally speaking, beginners will start with top roping and/or easy bouldering, and work their way up to lead climbing and beyond.



In top-roping, an anchor is set up at the summit of a route prior to the start of a climb. Rope is run through the anchor; one end attaches to the climber and the other to the belayer, who keeps the rope taut during the climb and prevents long falls. This type of climbing is widely regarded as the safest type of climbing, with the lowest chance of injury. It is also the first type of climbing most people do when learning to climb, as it allows the climber to climb freely and the belayer to learn how to belay more proficiently.

Lead climbing

Leader belays the second on Illusion Dweller in Joshua Tree National Park, USA

In lead climbing, one person, called the "leader", will climb from the ground up with rope directly attached (and not through a top anchor) while the other, called the "second", belays the leader. Because the climbing rope is of a fixed length, the leader can only climb a certain distance. Thus longer routes are broken up into several "pitches". At the top of a pitch, the leader sets up an anchor, and then belays the "second" up to the anchor. Once both are at the anchor, the leader begins climbing the next pitch and so on until they reach the top.

In either case, upon completion of a route, climbers can walk back down (if an alternate descent path exists) or rappel (abseil) down with the rope.

Grading systems

Climbing communities in many countries and regions have developed their own rating systems for routes. Ratings (or "grades") record and communicate consensus appraisals of difficulty. (Hence, there may be occasional disagreements arising from physiological or stylistic differences among climbers.) The ratings take into account multiple factors affecting a route, such as the slope of the ascent, the quantity and quality of available handholds, the distance between holds, and whether advanced technical maneuvers are required. Though acrophobia (the fear of heights) may affect certain climbers, the height of a route is generally not considered a factor in its difficulty rating.

Climbing environments

Climbs can occur either outdoors on varying types of rock or indoors on specialized climbing walls. Outdoors, climbs usually take place on sunny days when the holds are dry and provide the best grip, but climbers can also attempt to climb at night or in adverse weather conditions if they have the proper training and equipment. However, night climbing or climbing in adverse weather conditions will increase the difficulty and danger on any climbing route.

Styles of rock climbing

Top roping Balthazar (12), in the Morialta Conservation Park near Adelaide, South Australia. Top roping is the most accessible style of climbing for beginners.

Most of the climbing done in modern times is considered free climbing---climbing using one's own physical strength with equipment used solely as protection and not as support -- as opposed to aid climbing, the gear-dependent form of climbing that was dominant in the sport's earlier days. Free climbing is typically divided into several styles that differ from one another depending on the equipment used and the configurations of their belay, rope, and anchor systems (or the lack thereof).

  • Aid Climbing - Still the most popular method of climbing big walls. Progress is accomplished by repeatedly placing and weighting gear which is used directly to aid ascent and enhance safety.
  • Traditional climbing - Traditional or Trad Climbing involves rock climbing routes that do not have permanent anchors placed to protect climbers from falls while ascending. Gear is used to protect against falls but not to aid the ascent directly.
  • Sport Climbing - Unlike Traditional Rock Climbing, Sport Climbing involves the use of protection or permanent anchors which are attached to the rock walls.
  • Bouldering - Climbing on short, low routes without the use of the safety rope that is typical of most other styles. Protection, if used at all, typically consists of a cushioned bouldering pad below the route and/or a spotter, a person that watches from below and directs the fall of the climber away from hazardous areas. Bouldering may be an arena for intense and relatively safe competition, resulting in exceptionally high difficulty standards.
  • Free climbing - The most commonly used method to ascend climbs refers to climbs where the climber's own physical strength and skill are relied on to accomplish the climb. Free climbing may rely on top rope belay systems, or on lead climbing to establish protection and the belay stations. Anchors, ropes, and protection are used to back up the climber and are passive as opposed to active ascending aids. Subtypes of free climbing are trad climbing and sport climbing. Free climbing is generally done as "clean lead" meaning no pitons or pins are used as protection.[2]
  • Free soloing (not to be confused with free climbing) is single-person climbing without the use of any rope or protection system whatsoever. If a fall occurs and the climber is not over water (as in the case of deep water soloing), the climber is likely to be killed or seriously injured. Though technically similar to bouldering, free solo climbing typically refers to routes that are far taller and/or far more lethal than bouldering. The term "highball" is used to refer to climbing on the boundary between soloing and bouldering, where what is usually climbed as a boulder problem may be high enough for a fall to cause serious injury and hence could also be considered to be a free solo.
  • Solo aid - Free soloing in which the climber wears a harness and a carries limited protection but doesn't use a rope. The climber may free solo or scramble much of the route but use protection only where safety demands it. Doing so involves placing gear overhead which is then attached to the climber via a short length of cord to his or her harness. The climber then climbs above the protection and reaches down to remove the gear before proceeding- possibly after placing another protection point and attaching to it via a second loop of cord. This "leap frogging" or "boot strapping" technique is akin to gear conservation techniques that may be used in traditional climbing. Solo aid may or may not use gear to directly assist ascent.
Indoor Climbing
  • Indoor Climbing - With indoor rock climbing you can train year round and improve your climbing skills and techniques. Indoor climbing is great for beginners because it gives you an idea of what it's like to climb actual rocks outdoors.
  • Scrambling - Scrambling basically uses hands and feet when going up ridges, rock faces, or buttresses. Scrambling differs from "technical" climbing in terms of the terrain grade in the Yosemite decimal system scrambling is possible on anything less than fifth class. Most scrambling is done in a "free solo" style. However, it is not uncommon for climbers to use ropes and protection on an exposed climb that is technically considered a scramble.
  • Deep Water Soloing - Similar to free soloing in that the climber is unprotected and without a rope, but different in that if the climber falls, it is into deep water instead of on to the ground.
  • Mixed climbing - A combination of ice and rock climbing, often involving specialized ice climbing slippers and specialized ice tools.
  • Rope soloing - Solo climbing with a rope secured at the beginning of the climb allowing a climber to self-belay as they advance. Once the pitch is completed the soloist must descend their rope to clean their gear and reclimb the pitch. This form of climbing can be conducted free or as a form of aid climbing.
  • Simul climbing - When two climbers move at the same time. The pseudo-lead climber places gear that the pseudo-follower collects. When the leader runs low on gear they construct a belay station where the follower can join them to exchange gear. The stronger climber is often the pseudo-follower since a fall by the follower would pull the leader from below towards the last piece of gear. A potential devastating fall for the leader. In contrast the a fall from the leader would pull the follower from above, resulting in a less serious fall. Most speed ascents involve some form of simul climbing but may also include sections of standard free climbing and the use of placed gear for advancement (i.e. partial aid or pulling on gear).
Top roping
  • Top roping - Climbing with the protection of a rope that's already suspended through an anchor (or also known as a "Top Rope System") at the top of a route. A belayer controls the rope, keeping it taut, and prevents long falls. Most Indoor climbing or "gym climbing" is top roping on indoor purpose-made climbing walls although it's also common to boulder and sport climb indoors. Gym climbing is used as training for outside climbing, but some climb indoors exclusively. Due to its simplicity and reduced risk, most beginners are introduced to climbing through top-roping.

Criticism of rock climbing


Some areas that are popular for climbing are also sacred places for indigenous peoples. Many such indigenous people would prefer that climbers not climb these sacred places and have made this information well known to climbers. A well known example is the rock formation that Americans have named Devils Tower National Monument[3]. Native American cultural concerns also led to complete climbing closures at Cave Rock at Lake Tahoe[4], Monument Valley, Shiprock & Canyon de Chelly[5].

In Australia, the well known monolith Uluru is sacred to local indigenous communities and climbing is banned on anything but the established ascent route (and even then climbing is discouraged).

Climbing activities can sometimes encroach on rock art sites created by various Native American cultures and early European explorers and settlers. The potential threat to these resources has led to climbing restrictions and closures in places like Hueco Tanks, Texas[6] and portions of City of Rocks, Idaho[7].


Although many climbers adhere to "minimal impact" and "leave no trace" practices, rock climbing is sometimes damaging to the environment. Common environmental damages include: soil erosion, chalk accumulation, litter, abandoned bolts and ropes, human excrement, introduction of foreign plants through seeds on shoes and clothing, and damage to native plant species, especially those growing in cracks and on ledges as these are often intentionally removed during new route development through a process commonly referred to as cleaning.

Clean climbing is a style of rock climbing which seeks to minimize some of the aesthetically damaging side effects of some techniques used in trad climbing and more often, aid climbing by avoiding using equipment such as pitons, which damage rock.

Climbing can also interfere with raptor nesting, since the two activities often take place on the same precipitous cliffs. Many climbing area land managers institute nesting season closures of cliffs known to be used by protected birds of prey like eagles, falcons and osprey[8].

Many non-climbers also object to the appearance of climbing chalk marks, anchors, bolts and slings on visible cliffs. Since these features are small, visual impacts can be mitigated through the selection of neutral, rock-matching colors for bolt hangers, webbing and chalk.


Vandalism created by non-climbers is often mistakenly attributed to the climbing population, driving the implementation of new climbing restrictions[9].

The most significant form of vandalism directly attributable to rock climbers is alteration of the climbing surface to render it more climber-friendly and/or safe.

With the advent of hard, bolted sport climbing in the 1980s, many routes were "chipped" and "glued" to provide additional features, allowing them to be climbed at the standard of the day. This attitude quickly changed as the safer sport climbing technique allowed climbers to push hard without much risk, causing the formerly more-or-less fixed grades to steadily rise. Altering routes began to be seen as limiting and pointless.

Unlike trad climbing which generally uses protection only as a back up in case of falls, some forms of climbing--like sport climbing, canyoneering or, especially, aid climbing--rely heavily on artificial protection to advance, either by frequent falls or by directly pulling on the gear. Often these types of climbing involve multiple drilled holes in which to place bolts, but in recent years an emphasis on clean techniques has grown.

Today, the charge of vandalism in climbing is more often a disagreement about the appropriateness of drilling and placing permanent bolts and other anchors. Typically in America, the first ascensionists decide where to place protection on a new route, and later climbers are supposed to live with these choices. This can cause friction and retro-bolting when the route is perceived to be dangerous to climbers who actually lead at the grade of the climb, since the first ascensionists often lead at a higher grade and therefore don't require as much protection. Failing to properly design a new route at its grade is considered arrogant and very poor form. Even in strongholds of rock-climbing tradition like Yosemite National Park, many routes are being gradually upgraded to safer standards of protection.

Another form of vandalism in rock climbing is pulling existing bolts and anchors. This often happens after retro-bolting occurs. Many climbers feel that if the route has been done without the benefit of protection, it should stay that way. However this argument only holds water when the first ascensionists were climbing at the limit of their skill--as in Yosemite's infamous test-piece, the Bachar-Yerian. In the case of first ascensionists failing to install adequate protection because the new route is below their leading standard and they didn't require it themselves, this attitude is harder to justify.


Many significant rock outcrops exist on private land. Some people within the rock climbing community have been guilty of trespassing in many cases, often after land ownership transfers and previous access permission is withdrawn. In response to access closures, the climbing community organized.

The Access Fund is an "advocacy organization that keeps U.S. climbing areas open and conserves the climbing environment. Five core programs support the mission on national and local levels: public policy, stewardship and conservation (including grants), grassroots activism, climber education, and land acquisition."[10]

BASE Jumping

A few climbers are experimenting with taking small parachutes on long climbs. This allows the climber to abandon the route without using a rope to abseil - essentially turning the rock climb into a BASE jump. BASE jumping is generally banned in areas known for their rock climbing, notably Yosemite National Park.

See also


Further reading

  • Long, John (1998). How to Rock Climb! (How to Rock Climb Series). Helena, Mont: Falcon. ISBN 1-57540-114-2. 

External links

Travel guide

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikitravel

Care free days on the rock.
Care free days on the rock.

This article is a travel topic.

Rock climbing, although often considered by non-climbers to be a reckless, dangerous, "thrill-seeking" sport, is not only a safe and fun way to push oneself to one's physical and mental limits; climbing also presents an excellent incentive to seek out some of the most beautiful places in the world in search of some fresh rock.



There are many different forms of climbing that are segmented mostly by the type of equipment used when climbing. The two main categories are aid climbing and free climbing.

  • Aid climbing is a style in which equipment, such as pitons, cams, nuts and/or screws, are placed allowing the climber to pull on them and haul himself upward.
  • Free climbing, the style typically referred to by the general term "rock climbing," is a style in which the climber moves forward and upward solely by gripping, squeezing, smearing, pinching -- with whatever natural strength he can muster -- the available natural features of the rock. Ropes and other equipment are used solely for protection in the case of an accidental fall, not to aid in the ascent. Free climbing is further categorized by the type of protection used.
Climber & belayer: the basic climbing team.
Climber & belayer: the basic climbing team.
  • Trad climbing (short for "traditional") involves the placement of temporary protection such as cams, nuts, and hexes, into the rock's natural features while ascending. This method is appropriate for nearly every type of rock, but requires a significant amount of safety equipment.
  • Sport climbing involves the use of pre-set protection, often metal rings (known as bolts) drilled into the rock, while climbing upward. These fixtures are permanent and used when the climber runs his rope through one end of a quickdraw and attaches the other end to the bolt. This method requires less equipment than trad climbing, but requires protection devices already to be set into the route.
  • Top roping involves climbing using a rope that is anchored at the top of the route as protection. This method uses the least equipment, but requires the area to have access to the top of the face (for instance, many cliffs have walkable paths to the top) or for a climber to first ascend using some other method, then to set the anchor and lower the rope. This method frees the climber of the need to set protection while climbing, making it the safest and easiest method for beginner and intermediate climbers (provided someone experienced is present to set a proper anchor).
  • Free soloing is the act of climbing without any rope or protective equipment. Without a rope, the climber has no need of a partner to "belay" (the act of a partner maintaining the proper tension on the rope to keep the climber safe in the case of a fall). The name can be misleading, however; any of the above climbing methods can be done without a partner with some additional equipment and techniques (simply called "soloing"). (Free soloing is a very high-risk activity and should not be performed except by very experienced climbers.)
  • Bouldering is centered around climbing shorter and more difficult routes, known as problems, that are not high enough to require a rope. Bouldering does not use any protection either aside from foam pads occasionally placed at the bottom to protect against rough landings.


The availability of rock climbing courses depends on your location. Indoor climbing gyms invariably offer courses. If your area includes any natural formations appealing to rock climbers, chances are good there is also a nearby climbing or mountaineering organization that will offer (or know of) opportunities to learn more.

  • Rock climbing shoes are made to fit extremly tightly. They have rubbery soles which help grip the rock walls and are often curved.
  • A harness wraps around the waist and upper thighs of a climber and protects the climber in the event of a fall--assuming he's tied into a properly protected rope. Harnesses usually have several hooks to carry other pieces of gear. Bouldering does not require a harness.
  • A helmet is recommended both for climbers and belayers. It is not uncommon for a person climbing to flip or swing during a fall, potentially hitting his/her head on nearby rock. Nor is it impossible for rocks, cams, carabiners, or other objects to be knocked loose from the wall or dropped while climbing, posing a danger to unprotected climbers and belayers below.
  • Ropes vary in thickness, length, weight, impact force and elongation. A thinner or shorter rope would generally be used when it is necessary to carry less of a load. An example would be multi-pitch climbs where a climber is always bearing the weight of the rope, making it more difficult. The elongation of a rope determines how much it stretches if at all. During a fall, a rope that stretches will absorb much of the impact force caused by the fall. A rope that does not stretch will cause the climber to absorb the fall. This makes the rope weigh less but increases the chances of back injuries
  • Webbing and Cords are used in slings, runners, harnesses, anchor extensions and quickdraws.
  • Slings are used to set up top ropes and to prevent rope abrasion.
  • Carabiners are metal loops with spring-loaded gates (openings), used as connectors to provide protection in many different ways
  • Quickdraws are used to attach ropes to bolted anchors for protection
  • Cams are devices used for protection when placed in cracks. It acts in a way simular to a bolt and quickdraw using a crack.


The cost of climbing in many cases is free. Some locations charge day rates that are generally associated with the entrance fee and not for the sport of climbing.

The cost of gear vary widely based on quality, brand, purpose and weight:

  • Shoes - $40 to $150 pair
  • Harness - $30 to $140 each
  • Helmets - $40 to $100 each
  • Ropes - $60 to $250 each
  • Webbing and Cords - $5 to $40(or appx. 32 cents per foot for custom items)
  • Slings - $5 to $40 each
  • Carabiners - $8 to $30 each
  • Quickdraws - $14 to $25 each
  • Cams - $25 to $120 each


Great rock climbing can be found worldwide; not surprisingly, you'll often find great places to climb in some of the most beautiful and scenic places on Earth.


South Africa

The Mountain Club of South Africa, [1], +27 (0)11 807-1310 between 8AM and 10AM or +27 (0)21 465-3412 10AM to 2PM, [2] can provide you with guidance and additional information about mountaineering and rock climbing in South Africa. The club consists of 14 sections throughout the country. WikiClimb is an online rock climbing guide for South Africa.

Eastern Cape, [3]

  • Lady's Slipper. 30km from PE  edit
  • Van Stadens Gorge.  edit
  • GRIPS.  edit
  • Morgan's Bay - Over 400 routes on sea cliffs approx 60 metres high.

Western Cape

Gauteng and Mpumalanga, [4]



  • Tasmania is a lovely island with lots of coastal climbs. Because its so far south, it stays a lot cooler than the mainland.
  • Mt Arapiles in Victoria is one of the best crags in the world for traditional climbing. 3-4 hours drive from Melbourne
  • Grampians NP in Victoria is very popular
  • Blue Mountains mostly sports climbing in NSW near Sydney
  • Nowra sports climbing in NSW
  • Moonarie in South Australia
  • Frog Buttress in Queensland
  • Kangaroo Point Not many people know of this climbing area in Brisbane next to the river, right in the middle of the city.

New Zealand

  • Mount Eden Quarry
  • Wharepapa South
  • Mangaokewa
  • Waipapa
  • Blowhard Bush
  • Kawakawa Bay
  • Kinloch crags
  • Whanganui Bay
  • Whakapapa
  • Turakirae Head
  • Payne's Ford
  • Castle Hill
  • Charleston
  • Port Hills
  • Wye Creek
  • Wanaka
  • Mount Somers
  • The Darrans
  • Lover's Leap



  • This Himalayan kingdom offers numerous sites suitable for rock climbing, but a popular site place near the capital, Thimphu is called 'the Nose'. The Bhutan Rock Climbing Club holds regular meetings.


  • Yangshuo, and more generally the Guilin area, in Guangxi Province, China has extensive karst limestone formations and an active climbing scene. Equipment rental and guides are readily available.

There is also some climbing in Tibet and regions bordering it such as Northern Yunnan and Western Sichuan.


  • Rock climbing on Mt Kinabalu located on Borneo Malaysia and the second highest mountain in South East Asia , pristine rock climbing in unspoilt beauty
  • Batu Cave - 13 km north of Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia — Rai Leh's little brother to the south, Batu Cave features over two hundred bolted limestone routes on powerful overhanging rock that features stalactites and caves.


Pakistan has thousands of beautiful and extreme routes & rocks but unfortunately they are unexplored. A few location are given below.

  • Trango Towers - This is considered to be the most difficult and dangerous Rock climb in the world there are thousands of routes just in this huge rock mountain. Location: Baltistan, Pakistan.
  • Naran & Kaghan- Huge rocky Mountains with a lot of new unexplored beaty.
  • Chillas After crossing Rai Qote Bridge (the rocky track to fairy meadows) one can see an ocean of Boulders from small to really huge and even over hanging rocks.
  • Khanpur Near Khanpur Dam one will will find the most beautfull rocks from easy of extreme level. The rocks are cool and are opposite to the sun which makes in very pleasant in all seasons.


  • Rai Leh and neighbouring Ton Sai - Krabi province — the preeminent location for rock climbing in Asia and possibly the world. Easy access to superb limestone climbing, beautiful scenery and ground level activities are good reasons why this area is so popular. Climbing is possible all year but November - April is the driest and least humid. Koh Tao in the Gulf of Thailand has an up and coming climbing scene with huge granite boulders dotting the island.
  • Those looking for cooler temperatures, a different backdrop, or just another destination for superb, steep, limestone climbing are increasingly heading north to Crazy Horse Buttress, located just 35 kilometers east of downtown Chiang Mai. Boasting more than 130 bolted routes between (French system) 5 and 8a, with some up to three pitches high, Crazy Horse is the perfect destination for experienced and novice climbers alike. Discovered in 1998 by Kraisak Boonthip, Crazy Horse is the primary subject of the book A Guide to Rock Climbing in Northern Thailand[5]. Guide services and additional information for the area can be found at Chiang Mai Rock Climbing Adventures[6] and The Peak[7].



  • Rovinj - has a huge climbing area nearby and is a great starting point for journeys to other climbing areas in the region.
  • Paklenica - a national park with bolted routes up to 350 m high at Croatian coast.


  • Ceuse, SE France
  • Buoux, SE France
  • Fontainebleau - Fontainebleau is a world famous bouldering spot.
  • Verdon, SE France


  • Kalymnos — the scene of frenetic climbing activity over the past five years. Kalymnos is a popular climbing destination not just because of its island location but because of the walls and walls of featured limestone that feature over one thousand bolted routes. Everything from slabby technical routes to overhanging tuffa and stalactite routes can be found within walking distance of your ocean front accommodation. Climbing is possible year round but the best times to visit are spring (March-May) and fall (September-November)


  • Arco (Northern Italy) - One of the most popular climbing spots in Europe.
  • Sardinia — offers a splendid variety of climbing: from limestone to granite, sport to trad, beach-side to inland, bouldering to long multipitch; Sardinia has something to offer the beginner to the expert climbing and everyone in between. Check out Cala Gonone, Isili and Dumosnovas among the hundred areas to climb on the island.
  • Liguria:
    • Castelbianco - A new and developing area with hundreds of graded routes in the beautiful maritime Alps
    • Finale Ligure - famous climbing area with over 2000 routes in a small area, most with stunning views of the Mediterranean.


  • Romsdalen - Famous for the Trollveggen (aid climbing). You can find all types of climbing here.
  • Lofoten - Straght from the water, spectacular view! Granite.
  • Hell - Near Trondheim. Conglomerate, not very tall (10-20 m), but will give anyone a real challenge.
  • Innerdalen - Norway's most beautiful valley. Mostly trad ~10 pitch. May-Oct.


  • El Chorro - Southern Spain, near Malaga
  • Siurana - Northern Spain, near Barcelona
  • Montserrat - Situated 35 km north west of Barcelona, Montserrat quite simply offers some of the best multi-pitch sports climbing in Spain
  • Batzola - Northern Spain
  • Costa Blanca - A region on the East coast of Spain with many fine limestone cliffs.
  • Costa Dorada - Northern Spain
  • Los Mallos


  • Kjugekull - Kjugekull is a beautiful nature reserve offering hundreds of very good boulder problems.


  • Sanetsch - famous spot between Bern and Valais.
  • Grimsel - 450 m high granite slabs above a green mountain lake.
  • Ponte Brolla - fun sport climbing in a beatiful area near Locarno.
  • Basel Jura - loads of single pitch sports climbs on good quality limstone.

North America


  • Squamish, BC - Multipitch traditional (gear) climbing on bullet-proof granite cracks, flakes and slab. May through October is a fine time for climbing. July through early October are your best chances for superb dry and warm days.
  • Whistler, BC - Predominantly single pitch sport routes on solid featured rock that is mostly vertical or slightly overhanging. Late May through early October is your best bet for good weather. Access to the local crags is by car and the approaches are usually short and easy (2 - 20 minutes).
  • Skaha - Penticton, BC - Primarily single pitch climbing on gneiss stone featuring small edges and crimps. The routes are divided almost evenly between traditional and sport climbing on everything from overhanging jug-fests to vertical cracks to delicate less-than-vertical routes. Climbing is possible during a good portion of the year (April - October) though the summer months (July & August) can become uncomfortably hot requiring you to climb in the available shade.
  • Kamloops, BC - Kamloops has enough climbing to keep you busy for a weekend. As the area can become extremely hot in the summer, spring and fall are the best times to visit to check out the vertical climbing on solid featured rock.
  • Canmore, Alberta - Canmore offers a wide range of limestone sport routes and is considered by some to be the best sport climbing area in Canada. Some of Canada's most difficult routes are located here, and most of the climbing is within 10 minutes of downtown. Canmore features lots of single pitch climbing, and a few long multipitch climbs; including Sisyphus Summits on the North face of Ha Ling peak which at 25 pitches is Canada's longest sport route. Climb between May and September.
  • Val David, Quebec - More than 500 routes within the Dufresne Regional Park have been listed and rated. Great climbing challenges are close at hand for all comers, from beginners to experts.

United States

  • Joshua Tree National Park, California
  • Garden of the Gods - Colorado Springs, Colorado
  • Rifle, Colorado
  • Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park, Colorado - A steep, narrow gorge for only the most experienced climbers.
  • Boulder Canyon and Flatirons Boulder, Colorado
  • Yosemite National Park - Yosemite, California
  • Mount Lemmon - Tucson, Arizona — the massive variation in elevation makes this area climbable all year around. Scorching summer temperatures in the city valley can be escaped by moving out of the cactus and into the forest.
  • Red Rock Canyon - Las Vegas, Nevada - Practically limitless climbs. Great for climbers looking to explore cliffs not yet climbed with about 95% climbs have not been climbed. A great variety of sport climbs of all levels including bouldering and multi-pitch (and multi-day) climbs.
  • Red Rock Open Space - Colorado Springs, Colorado
  • Mission Gorge and Mount Woodson San Diego, California
  • Maple Canyon - Central Utah — sport climbing heaven on cobble stone routes. Ideal climbing conditions are late spring through early fall. When the summer heat consumes Utah, the canyon remains cool and the routes steep and pumpy.
  • Logan - Northern Utah
  • City of Rocks National Reserve - Southern Idaho — Gear and sport climbing on massive piles of granite scattered about a scenic valley. Climbing is best in the late spring through early fall.
  • Smith Rock - Bend, Oregon — the birthplace of American sport climbing. Best climbed in the spring and fall.
  • Frenchman Coulee - Central Washington — features row after row of 30 m basalt columns hosting over 400 sport and gear routes. Ideal climbing conditions are in the spring (March - May) and fall (September - November) as summers tend to be hot and windy.
  • Seneca Rocks- Monongahela National Forest - the best trad climbing in the Northeast US. Routes range from 5.2 to 5.13.
  • Sinks Canyon - Lander, Wyoming - hundreds if not thousands of incredible limestone, sandstone, and granite sport climbs for every ability; all within a ~3-5 mile canyon. Incredible boulder band offering easy to the most challenging boulder moves, especially at the sandstone buttress. Great weather pattern makes climbing available throughout most of the year. There can be snow on one side of the half mile wide canyon and be 20 degrees warmer on the other side. A necessary destination for every climber.
  • New River Gorge - West Virginia - months of climbs, nice variety of grades, excellent views of the gorge! Currently seeing lots of new development of routes.
  • Red River Gorge - Kentucky - many well-traveled North American climbers state that the Red is the best crag on the continent. A nice mix of traditional cracks, and power endurance relentlessly overhanging sport routes on bullet-proof sandstone. Can be very humid in the summer months.
  • Sequioa National Park - Near Fresno, California
  • Acadia - Bar Harbor, Maine
  • Austin, Texas - This entire city has tons of sport climbing routes in and around.
  • Enchanted Rock (E-Rock) - Fredericksberg, Texas - Two giant domes with various rock climbing area around. Great for beginners looking for rock climbing lessons. Rock material is granite.


Stay healthy

Any kind of climbing using ropes is a common exclusion from travel insurance policies. Read your policy; if you would like to be insured for medical treatment or other costs associated with rock climbing injuries while traveling internationally, you may need to take out a second insurance policy (or rider) from a company specializing in adventure or sporting insurance.

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Simple English

, Germany]] Rock climbing is a sport where someone uses his hands and feet to climb up a rock or a artificial climbing wall. Rock climbing is a very difficult sport because you need to have a lot of strength. Rock climbers must know how to use ropes, carabiners and harnesses for their own safety.

Different kinds of rock climbing

Because of many different kinds of rocks around the world, many different kinds of climbing started.

is climbing on short, low routes. Because people do not climb very high, they do not need to use safety equipment. Sometimes there are used special pads to cushion a drop.
Top roping 
Here the rope is already anchored at the top of the route. Safety equipment is needed here but many people say this kind is the safest. The person at the bottom must only keep the rope tight by using a knot or a securing device, like a Grigri.
Lead climbing 
This way is used when the rope is not on top yet. The person must tie the rope to their harness and then climb up the wall. On the way the climber puts the rope through a carabiner every few metres. Here the person at the bottom must also use a knot or a securing device.


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