What are the Different Types of Climbing?

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Types of Climbing

Types of Climbing

If you have decided to practice climbing, you have to take into account the types of climbing that you can find in this exciting discipline, since there are many followers who choose according to their personal interest.

If you have decided to practice climbing, you have to take into account the types of climbing that you can find in this exciting discipline, many are the adepts they choose according to their personal interest.

There are a variety of types of climbing, these are determined by the type of medium you start climbing and the climbing equipment and equipment you use.

In this article we will describe each and every one of the types of rock climbing currently being practiced . Climbing has a variety of disciplines so large that they often mix with each other and even get confused.

Even so, the difference between some styles is so great, that some practitioners have even come to claim that it is about different sports. The objective is to try to clarify doubts about all the types of climbing that exist, let’s see if we get it.

Types of climbing:


Free Climbing:

Sometimes free climbing has been confused with the single integral (ropeless climbing). Actually it is not exactly the same since the term does not specify the use of the rope. It is called free climbing when the climber climb with the help of his hands and feet.

In this type of rock climbing, if necessary, insurance can be used as points to be sure, but not to progress. The opposite of free climbing is the “artificial.”

Artificial Climbing:

The artificial one is a type of climbing where insurance help is used, not only as safety points, but also as progression points. The climber grabs his hands on the locks and usually some steps, called stirrups, are also used to support the feet.

The term artificial can be confused with indoor climbing (types of climbing walls), but it really has nothing to do with it. Artificial climbing is practiced in natural rock.

In this type of climbing the route can be less or more equipped. When it is equipped, it is indicated how Ae and when it is unpacked or semi-equipped it is indicated with a scale of degrees that goes from A1 to A6 depending on the quality of the insurance used.

Traditional Climbing:

The UIAA (International Union of Mountaineering Associations) defines as traditional climbing the style adopted by the pioneers of climbing.

And it continues: in this style the first of the rope places all the insurances to prevent a fall. This material is later removed by the rest of the group members.

The ideal of traditional climbing is not to abandon material on the mountain.

Some climbers believe that the name “traditional” should not be used, because traditional climbing is simply climbing.

The way to make sure has evolved in a different way in each country: in some countries nails have been used to make sure, in others only tapes and cords. Nowadays, friends, fissures or tricams protections are usually used.

Clean climbing , or clean climbing, is a type of traditional climbing that seeks maximum purity. It is usually done in freestyle and its objective is not to leave any trace on the rock after the passage of the rope.

Only assurance with recessed type anchors (friends, fissures, etc.) and ribbons for rock bridges, horns or recessed knots are accepted. The use of nails and hammer is not accepted as it leaves very visible marks on the rock.


The term classical climbing can be interpreted in different ways:

Normally, worldwide, when climbing is classic, it means that over time it has become typical. They are famous and very repeated routes. The classic term (as long as it meets the requirement of being typical) is used regardless of whether it is a sport climb or a traditional climb.

In Spain the expression “classic” is also often used to talk about multi-track routes in adventure terrain. They can be open roads in artificial, free or combined and usually with little equipment.


Climbing, the orientation on the wall, the art of knowing how to make sure, the good management of the available protective parts, the control of fear and of course physical abilities.

Sport climbing seeks to maximize safety and comfort to focus exclusively on the development of physical skills.

The objective of this type of climbing is to reach very high levels of sports difficulty.

In sport climbing the anchors are previously installed from above by a team. Subsequently the climbers climb in freestyle following the line of anchors. These anchors are fixed and remain permanently installed in the rock.

Of all types of climbing, the sports one, is the one that uses the most amount of fixed equipment.

Sports climbing usually takes place on low-rise walls, between 10 and 30 meters, although it is also practiced on taller walls and even on tracks of several lengths. In this case it is called wall climbing.


It is called only integral to refer to climbing without rope and without any means of safety. This style is also known as “Free Solo.” Of all the types of climbing, the single integral is the most dangerous with difference for obvious reasons.

The practitioner usually uses only a few feet of cat and a bag of magnesium to dry the hands of sweat. In isolated cases, some very purist climbers have performed single integral climbing barefoot and / or without magnesium.


When climbing takes place in high mountain areas, in many cases, being, one of the most committed types of climbing that exist. In the expeditions this term is also used to define an ascension style.


The Alpine style is born in the Alps and is based on ascending quickly, simply and lightly: the climber reaches the mountain, climbs with his means and descends as soon as possible.

The use of large infrastructures such as fixed ropes, camp systems, hammocks, any type of provision of planned or logistics supplies with external support is not accepted.


As the name implies, it refers to the type of climbing that is practiced on large rock walls. In the collective imagination, big walls are usually complicated routes with long sections of artificial climbing.

They are a type of path that usually require several days of ascension and often the use of hammocks for sleeping on the wall.


It is called boulder climbing (or block climbing) when climbing low-rise rocks. In this type of climbing no rope or insurance is used. Instead, they usually use a kind of hard mattresses (called Crash Pads), although they are not always essential.

In the beginning, bouldering was practiced without them and currently some climbers continue to do so.

Boulder climbing was born with the aim of training to climb mountains, although many climbers currently practice bouldering as a specific modality. In some places, when the blocks are very high and dangerous they are called Sunamis.


The psychobloc is a type of rock climbing that is practiced on the cliffs, either in the sea or on a lake. In English it is known as “Deep Water Soloing”.

In this discipline the practitioner does not use ropes or safety means. In case of a fall, it is important that there is sufficient depth so that the water can absorb the impact.


Indoor climbing is called climbing that is practiced in indoor artificial installations or climbing walls. This type of climbing can be practiced both on walls of several meters and on low-rise boulders. In any case the tracks do not usually exceed 20 meters. There are also outdoor climbing walls.

The climbing walls were created with the aim of training to climb the natural rock, although nowadays it has become a modality in itself that has more and more followers. It is also the medium where competitions are organized.

Another important objective of Indoor climbing, like sports rock climbing, is to maximize safety to focus on the development of the climber’s physical abilities.


There is talk of adhesion when smooth vertical rock plates are raised. In this type of climbing, arm strength is not as important as body positioning and balance. The correct use of the feet plays a fundamental role.


It is called cracking climbing when climbing takes place along long and homogeneous cracks. Mastering your technique requires good learning.

There are many types of fissures, from finger fissures, to large chimneys, where the climber uses his entire body to recess. When practitioners climb hand cracks, they usually use adhesive tape or rubber gloves to protect the skin from friction with the rock.


There is talk of block climbing when doing short sections with few movements and very concentrated difficulty. Block climbing is used to practice in blouders, although block steps can also be found in the middle of a large wall.


When talking about continuity it means that the route has a difficulty that is not too high but very constant. This type of climbing usually develops on very long walls that are vertical and even collapsed. The challenge for the climber is the ability to endure without falling for many meters in a row.


In the climbing of resistance it is necessary to endure difficult sections quite long and without possible rest. It is like climbing continuity but with a more concentrated level of difficulty and in shorter sections.


The rotpunkt or red dot is a concept invented by the German climber Kurt Albert . It is called a red dot because Kurt Albert painted a small red dot at the foot of the tracks he climbed in this style.

It is actually a type of free climbing, but that goes one step further. While free climbing does not use insurance to progress, rotpunkt does not even use them to stop to rest.

To know more about climbing you can check here: A simple guide to every type of climbing and how to do it.