Types of Rock Climbing

Rock Climbing

Meta Description: Do you want to learn rock climbing? Here is everything you need to know about a rock climbing activity.

A rock climbing activity can be done upwards or downwards on natural rock formations or even on artificially created rock walls. The end goal is to reach the summit or the end point of the rock without falling. It is a physical and mental sport that requires a lot of endurance, strength, balance and agility. You need to have the proper knowledge of rock climbing as this activity can be dangerous. You may also need to use special equipment to climb tough terrains. There are different kinds of rocks around the world and different types of rock climbing techniques have been devised accordingly.

Types of Rock Climbing

A man riding on top of a mountain

Here are the different kinds of rock climbing types and techniques:


A man standing on a rocky hill

This is the easiest rock climbing type activity wherein you use ropes. The ropes are secured tightly around your waist and prevents your from falling. It minimizes the risk of injury. In a traditional top-roping activity, another person helps you climb and handles your rope as you descend the route. These use friction devices like Gri-Gri or ATC. Sometimes, an auto-belay is used. It is a device that works like an anchor at the top of the predefined route and catches you in case you fall. Top-roping is a great way to learn rock climbing.

Lead/Sport Climbing

This one is a versatile style that offers many difficult as well as easy route-lengths. In this style, lead climbers focus on the moves and techniques to reach their destination. Fall is expected in this type and hence planned for accordingly. In this type, the climber climbs a difficult route and falls many times before reaching the summit. In this type, the anchors follow the path of the route from the start all along the way. The climber has to loop the rope through the carabiner systems attached to the bolted anchors. In this sport, you will need another partner belaying you.

Traditional Climbing

This sport focuses on physical intensity. Traditionally, rock climbing was taken as a holistic experience and a mental game. The routes did not have any fixed anchors, but the climber was responsible for inserting protection into the cracks in the rock. Traditional climbing also gave an added challenge of carrying all the required gear along with you as you climb.

Big Wall Climbing

This is not the most common type of rock climbing. It is also the most notorious of all types. It requires the climber to ascent at least at 1500 feet. It takes several days to send these routes and so, the climbers may have to spend nights on portledges hanging hundreds of feet above the ground. This style of rock climbing is mostly done in California’s Yosemite Valley. This valley has big wall climbs which are certainly not for the faint hearted.


This form of rock climbing involves no rope and climbing is done using a boulder. It is the safest type of rock climbing. The routes are not more than 15 feet high and this type is a scaled-down version of sport climbing.

These are some of the main types of rock climbing activities you must know about.

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