Rock climbing

Rock climbing

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Rock climbing also lightly called 'The Gravity Game', is a sport
Sport
A Sport is all forms of physical activity which, through casual or organised participation, aim to use, maintain or improve physical fitness and provide entertainment to participants. Sport may be competitive, where a winner or winners can be identified by objective means, and may require a degree...

 in which participants climb
Climbing
Climbing is the activity of using one's hands and feet to ascend a steep object. It is done both for recreation and professionally, as part of activities such as maintenance of a structure, or military operations.Climbing activities include:* Bouldering: Ascending boulders or small...

 up, down or across natural rock
Rock (geology)
In geology, rock or stone is a naturally occurring solid aggregate of minerals and/or mineraloids.The Earth's outer solid layer, the lithosphere, is made of rock. In general rocks are of three types, namely, igneous, sedimentary, and metamorphic...

 formations or artificial rock walls
Climbing wall
A climbing wall is an artificially constructed wall with grips for hands and feet, usually used for indoor climbing, but sometimes located outdoors as well. Some are brick or wooden constructions, but on most modern walls, the material most often used is a thick multiplex board with holes drilled...

. The goal is to reach the summit
Summit (topography)
In topography, a summit is a point on a surface that is higher in elevation than all points immediately adjacent to it. Mathematically, a summit is a local maximum in elevation...

 of a formation or the endpoint of a pre-defined route without falling. Rock climbing competitions have objectives of completing the route in the quickest possible time or the farthest along an ever increasingly harder route. Rock climbing is similar to scrambling
Scrambling
Scrambling is a method of ascending rocky faces and ridges. It is an ambiguous term that lies somewhere between hillwalking and rock climbing. It is often distinguished from hillwalking by defining a scramble as a route where hands must be used in the ascent...

 (another activity involving the scaling of hills and similar formations), but climbing is generally differentiated by its sustained 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 her or his mental control. It can be a dangerous sport and knowledge of proper climbing technique
Climbing technique
A climbing technique is any type or combination of body posture, movement, or hold used in climbing. In this article, several different climbing techniques are listed, and briefly described.-Bridging, or stemming:...

s and usage of specialized climbing equipment
Climbing equipment
A wide range of equipment is used during rock climbing. The most popular types of climbing equipment are briefly described in this article. The article on protecting a climb describes equipment commonly used to protect a climber against the consequences of a fall....

 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. While not an Olympic event, rock climbing is recognized by the International Olympic Committee
International Olympic Committee
The International Olympic Committee is an international corporation based in Lausanne, Switzerland, created by Pierre de Coubertin on 23 June 1894 with Demetrios Vikelas as its first president...

 as a sport.

History


Although rock climbing was an important component of Victorian
Victorian era
The Victorian era of British history was the period of Queen Victoria's reign from 20 June 1837 until her death on 22 January 1901. It was a long period of peace, prosperity, refined sensibilities and national self-confidence...

 mountaineering
Mountaineering
Mountaineering or mountain climbing is the sport, hobby or profession of hiking, skiing, and climbing mountains. While mountaineering began as attempts to reach the highest point of unclimbed mountains it has branched into specialisations that address different aspects of the mountain and consists...

 in the Alps
Alps
The Alps is one of the great mountain range systems of Europe, stretching from Austria and Slovenia in the east through Italy, Switzerland, Liechtenstein and Germany to France in the west....

, 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.

Aid climbing
Aid climbing
Aid climbing is a style of climbing in which standing on or pulling oneself up via devices attached to fixed or placed protection is used to make upward progress....

 (climbing using equipment that acts as artificial hand- or footholds) became popular during the period 1920 - 1960, leading to ascents in the Alps
Alps
The Alps is one of the great mountain range systems of Europe, stretching from Austria and Slovenia in the east through Italy, Switzerland, Liechtenstein and Germany to France in the west....

 and in Yosemite Valley
Yosemite Valley
Yosemite Valley is a glacial valley in Yosemite National Park in the western Sierra Nevada mountains of California, carved out by the Merced River. The valley is about long and up to a mile deep, surrounded by high granite summits such as Half Dome and El Capitan, and densely forested with pines...

 that were considered impossible without such means. However, climbing techniques, equipment and ethical considerations have evolved steadily. Today, free climbing
Free climbing
Free climbing is a type of rock climbing in which the climber uses only hands, feet and other parts of the body to ascend, employing ropes and forms of climbing protection to prevent falls only....

 (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
Climbing styles
Rock climbing style refers to the method by which vertical progress can be made in rock climbing. Each climbing style can be considered a sort of game with rules or standard commonly referred to as climbing ethic. These ethics are some of climbing's social mores.- Categories :The term "style" is...

 dependent on belay
Belaying
thumb|200px|right|A belayer is belaying behind a lead climberBelaying refers to a variety of techniques used in climbing to exert friction on a climbing rope so that a falling climber does not fall very far...

 configuration (described below).

Over time, grading systems
Grade (climbing)
In rock climbing, mountaineering and other climbing disciplines, climbers give a climbing grade to a route that concisely describes the difficulty and danger of climbing the route...

 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
Bouldering
Bouldering is a style of rock climbing undertaken without a rope and normally limited to very short climbs over a crash pad so that a fall will not result in serious injury. It is typically practiced on large natural boulders or artificial boulders in gyms and outdoor urban areas...

, since the relevant routes are usually found on boulder
Boulder
In geology, a boulder is a rock with grain size of usually no less than 256 mm diameter. While a boulder may be small enough to move or roll manually, others are extremely massive....

s 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
Climbing equipment
A wide range of equipment is used during rock climbing. The most popular types of climbing equipment are briefly described in this article. The article on protecting a climb describes equipment commonly used to protect a climber against the consequences of a fall....

 exists to provide that safety. Climbers will usually work in pairs and utilize a system of ropes and anchors
Anchor (climbing)
In rock climbing, an anchor can be any way of attaching the climber, the rope, or a load to rock, ice, steep dirt, or a building by either permanent or temporary means...

 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
Top roping
Top-rope climbing is a style in climbing in which a rope, used for the climber's safety, runs from a belayer at the foot of a route through one or more carabiners connected to an anchor system at the top of the route and back down to the climber, usually attaching to the climber by means of a...

 and/or easy bouldering
Bouldering
Bouldering is a style of rock climbing undertaken without a rope and normally limited to very short climbs over a crash pad so that a fall will not result in serious injury. It is typically practiced on large natural boulders or artificial boulders in gyms and outdoor urban areas...

 and work their way up to lead climbing
Lead climbing
Lead climbing is a climbing technique used to ascend a route. This technique is predominantly used in rock climbing and involves a lead climber attaching themselves to a length of dynamic climbing rope and ascending a route while periodically attaching protection to the face of the route and...

 and beyond.

Top-roping


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.

Lead climbing



In lead climbing, one person, called the "leader", will climb from the ground up with rope directly attached to his or her harness. (and not through a top anchor) The second person, "belays" the leader by feeding out enough rope to allow upward progression without undue slack. As the leader progresses, he clips the rope through intermediate points of protection such as active cams, or passive protection such as nuts; this limits the length of a potential fall. The leader also may clip into pre-drilled bolts.

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"; this is called "multi-pitching". At the top of a pitch, the "leader" sets up an anchor and then belays the "second" up to the anchor; as the "second" follows the route taken by the "leader" she removes the equipment placed along the way in order to use it again on the next "pitch." Once both are at the anchor, the "leader" begins climbing the next pitch and so on until the top is reached.

In either case, upon completion of a route, climbers can walk back down (if an alternate descent path exists) or rappel (abseil)
Abseiling
Abseiling , rappelling in American English, is the controlled descent down a rock face using a rope; climbers use this technique when a cliff or slope is too steep and/or dangerous to descend without protection.- Slang terms :...

 down with the rope.

Grading systems


Climbing communities in many countries and regions have developed their own rating systems for routes
Grade (climbing)
In rock climbing, mountaineering and other climbing disciplines, climbers give a climbing grade to a route that concisely describes the difficulty and danger of climbing the route...

. 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, ease of placing protection and whether advanced technical maneuvers are required. Whilst height of a route is generally not considered a factor, a long series of sustained hard moves will often merit a higher grade than a single move of the same technical difficulty. The typical rating system for top-roping and lead climbing is from 5.2-5.15b. There can be debate on the difficulty rating. Typically the rating for the hardest move on the wall will be the rating for the whole climb, although sometimes climbs are rated for endurance factor. For example, a climb can have multiple 5.11 moves with no rests and thus be rated 5.12. The most commonly used rating systems in the US are the Yosemite Decimal System
Yosemite Decimal System
The Yosemite Decimal System is a three-part system used for rating the difficulty of walks, hikes, and climbs. It is primarily used by mountaineers in the United States and Canada. The Class 5 portion of the Class scale is primarily a rock climbing classification system. Originally the system was...

 and the "V" bouldering grade.
Grade (bouldering)
In the sport of bouldering, problems are assigned technical grades according to several established systems, which are often distinct from those used in roped climbing. Bouldering grade systems in wide use include the Hueco "V" grades , Fontainebleau technical grades, route colors, Peak District...


Climbing environments


Climbs can occur either outdoors on varying types of rock or indoors
Indoor climbing
Indoor Climbing is an increasingly popular form of rock climbing performed on artificial structures that attempt to mimic the experience of outdoor rock.Competetive indoor climbing is also called sport climbing....

 on specialized climbing wall
Climbing wall
A climbing wall is an artificially constructed wall with grips for hands and feet, usually used for indoor climbing, but sometimes located outdoors as well. Some are brick or wooden constructions, but on most modern walls, the material most often used is a thick multiplex board with holes drilled...

s. 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



Most of the climbing done in modern times is considered free climbing
Free climbing
Free climbing is a type of rock climbing in which the climber uses only hands, feet and other parts of the body to ascend, employing ropes and forms of climbing protection to prevent falls only....

 -- climbing using one's own physical strength, with equipment used solely as protection and not as support—as opposed to aid climbing
Aid climbing
Aid climbing is a style of climbing in which standing on or pulling oneself up via devices attached to fixed or placed protection is used to make upward progress....

, 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
    Aid climbing
    Aid climbing is a style of climbing in which standing on or pulling oneself up via devices attached to fixed or placed protection is used to make upward progress....

     - 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.
  • Free climbing
    Free climbing
    Free climbing is a type of rock climbing in which the climber uses only hands, feet and other parts of the body to ascend, employing ropes and forms of climbing protection to prevent falls only....

     - 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
    Sport climbing
    Sport climbing is a form of rock climbing that relies on permanent anchors fixed to the rock, and possibly bolts, for protection,...

    . Free climbing is generally done as "clean lead" meaning no pitons or pins are used as protection.
  • Traditional climbing
    Traditional climbing
    Traditional climbing, or trad climbing, is a style of rock climbing in which a climber or group of climbers places all gear required to protect against falls , and removes it when a passage is complete...

     - Traditional or Trad Climbing involves rock climbing routes in which protection against falls is placed by the climber while ascending. Gear is used to protect against falls but not to aid the ascent directly.
  • Sport Climbing
    Sport climbing
    Sport climbing is a form of rock climbing that relies on permanent anchors fixed to the rock, and possibly bolts, for protection,...

     - Unlike Traditional Rock Climbing, Sport Climbing involves the use of protection (bolts) or permanent anchors which are attached to the rock walls.
  • Bouldering
    Bouldering
    Bouldering is a style of rock climbing undertaken without a rope and normally limited to very short climbs over a crash pad so that a fall will not result in serious injury. It is typically practiced on large natural boulders or artificial boulders in gyms and outdoor urban areas...

     - 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 who 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 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.


  • Indoor climbing
    Indoor climbing
    Indoor Climbing is an increasingly popular form of rock climbing performed on artificial structures that attempt to mimic the experience of outdoor rock.Competetive indoor climbing is also called sport climbing....

     - Permits climbing in all types of weather and at all times of day. Used for improving climbing skills and techniques.
  • Deep Water Soloing
    Deep-water soloing
    Deep-water soloing is a form of solo rock climbing, practiced on sea cliffs at high tide, that relies solely upon the presence of water at the base of a climb to protect against injury from the generally high difficulty routes...

     - 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.
  • Rope soloing
    Roped solo climbing
    Roped solo climbing or rope soloing is a way to climb with relative safety without a climbing partner.- Variations :*Roped solo free climbing refers to top roping on a fixed rope or to a traditional rope solo free climb....

     - 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 the rope to retrieve their gear, and then reclimb the pitch. This form of climbing can be conducted free or as a form of aid climbing.
  • Simul climbing
    Simul climbing
    Simul climbing or climbing with a running belay is a climbing method or style where both climbers, climb at the same time while tied into the rope. Protection is placed by a pseudo-leader and the second removes the pieces of gear. The length of rope used during simul climbing varies but is often...

     - 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, 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
    Top-rope climbing is a style in climbing in which a rope, used for the climber's safety, runs from a belayer at the foot of a route through one or more carabiners connected to an anchor system at the top of the route and back down to the climber, usually attaching to the climber by means of a...

     - 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
    Taut
    A taut object is one under tension.Taut is also a surname, and may refer to:* Bruno Taut , prolific German architect, urban planner and author* Max Taut , German architectTAUT, an acronym, may refer to:...

     and preventing long falls. Most Indoor climbing
    Indoor climbing
    Indoor Climbing is an increasingly popular form of rock climbing performed on artificial structures that attempt to mimic the experience of outdoor rock.Competetive indoor climbing is also called sport climbing....

     or "gym climbing" is top roping on indoor purpose-made climbing wall
    Climbing wall
    A climbing wall is an artificially constructed wall with grips for hands and feet, usually used for indoor climbing, but sometimes located outdoors as well. Some are brick or wooden constructions, but on most modern walls, the material most often used is a thick multiplex board with holes drilled...

    s although it is 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 reduced risk, most beginners are introduced to climbing through top-roping.

Indigenous culture considerations


Some areas that are popular for climbing, for example in the US and Australia, 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
Devils Tower National Monument
Devils Tower is an igneous intrusion or laccolith located in the Black Hills near Hulett and Sundance in Crook County, northeastern Wyoming, above the Belle Fourche River...

. Native American cultural concerns also led to complete climbing closures at Cave Rock at Lake Tahoe
Lake Tahoe
Lake Tahoe is a large freshwater lake in the Sierra Nevada of the United States. At a surface elevation of , it is located along the border between California and Nevada, west of Carson City. Lake Tahoe is the largest alpine lake in North America. Its depth is , making it the USA's second-deepest...

, Monument Valley
Monument Valley
Monument Valley is a region of the Colorado Plateau characterized by a cluster of vast sandstone buttes, the largest reaching above the valley floor. It is located on the northern border of Arizona with southern Utah , near the Four Corners area...

, Shiprock
Shiprock
Shiprock is a rock formation rising nearly above the high-desert plain on the Navajo Nation in San Juan County, New Mexico, USA. It has a peak elevation of above the sea level. It lies about southwest of the town of Shiprock, which is named for the peak...

 and Canyon de Chelly.

Climbing activities can sometimes encroach on rock art
Rock art
Rock art is a term used in archaeology for any human-made markings made on natural stone. They can be divided into:*Petroglyphs - carvings into stone surfaces*Pictographs - rock and cave paintings...

 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
Hueco Tanks
Hueco Tanks is an area of low mountains in El Paso County, Texas, USA. It is located in a high-altitude desert basin between the Franklin Mountains to the west and the Hueco Mountains to the east. Hueco is a Spanish word meaning hollows and refers to the many water-holding depressions in the...

, Texas
Texas
Texas is the second largest U.S. state by both area and population, and the largest state by area in the contiguous United States.The name, based on the Caddo word "Tejas" meaning "friends" or "allies", was applied by the Spanish to the Caddo themselves and to the region of their settlement in...

, and portions of City of Rocks National Reserve, Idaho
Idaho
Idaho is a state in the Rocky Mountain area of the United States. The state's largest city and capital is Boise. Residents are called "Idahoans". Idaho was admitted to the Union on July 3, 1890, as the 43rd state....

.

In Australia
Australia
Australia , officially the Commonwealth of Australia, is a country in the Southern Hemisphere comprising the mainland of the Australian continent, the island of Tasmania, and numerous smaller islands in the Indian and Pacific Oceans. It is the world's sixth-largest country by total area...

, the monolith Uluru
Uluru
Uluru , also known as Ayers Rock, is a large sandstone rock formation in the southern part of the Northern Territory, central Australia. It lies south west of the nearest large town, Alice Springs; by road. Kata Tjuta and Uluru are the two major features of the Uluṟu-Kata Tjuṯa National Park....

 (Ayers Rock) is sacred to local indigenous communities and climbing is banned on anything but the established ascent route (and even then climbing is discouraged).

Indigenous peoples are not the only cultures that object to climbing on certain rock formations. Professional climber Dean Potter
Dean Potter
Dean Potter is an American free climber, alpinist, BASE jumper, BASEliner, and highliner. He is noted for hard first ascents, free solo ascents, speed ascents, and enchainments in Yosemite and Patagonia....

 kicked off a major controversy when he ignored long-accepted convention to scale Delicate Arch
Delicate Arch
Delicate Arch is a tall freestanding natural arch located in Arches National Park near Moab, Utah.It is the most widely-recognized landmark in Arches National Park and is depicted on Utah license plates and on a postage stamp commemorating Utah's centennial anniversary of statehood in 1996...

 in 2006, resulting in strict new climbing regulation in Arches National Park
Arches National Park
Arches National Park is a U.S. National Park in eastern Utah. It is known for preserving over 2000 natural sandstone arches, including the world-famous Delicate Arch, in addition to a variety of unique geological resources and formations....

.

Climbing on Private property


Many significant rock outcrop
Outcrop
An outcrop is a visible exposure of bedrock or ancient superficial deposits on the surface of the Earth. -Features:Outcrops do not cover the majority of the Earth's land surface because in most places the bedrock or superficial deposits are covered by a mantle of soil and vegetation and cannot be...

s exist on private land. Some people within the rock climbing community
Community
The term community has two distinct meanings:*a group of interacting people, possibly living in close proximity, and often refers to a group that shares some common values, and is attributed with social cohesion within a shared geographical location, generally in social units larger than a household...

 have been guilty of trespassing in many cases, often after land ownership transfers and previous access permission is withdrawn. In the U.S. the climbing community responded to access closures by forming the Access Fund. This 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." In the U.K. the British Mountaineering Council
British Mountaineering Council
The British Mountaineering Council is the national representative body for England and Wales that exists to protect the freedoms and promote the interests of climbers, hill walkers and mountaineers, including ski-mountaineers...

 represents climbers and their interest of public access to crack, cliffs and boulders.

Environmental impact


Although many climbers adhere to "minimal impact" and "leave no trace
Leave No Trace
Leave No Trace is both a set of principles, and an organization that promotes those principles. The principles are designed to assist outdoor enthusiasts with their decisions about how to reduce their impacts when they hike, camp, picnic, snowshoe, run, bike, hunt, paddle, ride horses, fish, ski or...

" practices, rock climbing is sometimes damaging to the environment. Common environmental damages include: soil erosion
Erosion
Erosion is when materials are removed from the surface and changed into something else. It only works by hydraulic actions and transport of solids in the natural environment, and leads to the deposition of these materials elsewhere...

, 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
Clean climbing
Clean climbing is a rock climbing term that describes techniques and equipment which climbers use in order to avoid damage to the rock. These techniques date at least in part from the 1920s and earlier in England, but the term itself may have emerged in about 1970 during the widespread and rapid...

 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
Aid climbing
Aid climbing is a style of climbing in which standing on or pulling oneself up via devices attached to fixed or placed protection is used to make upward progress....

 by avoiding using equipment such as pitons, which damage rock.

Climbing can also interfere with raptor
Bird of prey
Birds of prey are birds that hunt for food primarily on the wing, using their keen senses, especially vision. They are defined as birds that primarily hunt vertebrates, including other birds. Their talons and beaks tend to be relatively large, powerful and adapted for tearing and/or piercing flesh....

 nesting, since the two activities often take place on the same precipitous cliffs. Many climbing area land managers institute nesting season closures of cliff
Cliff
In geography and geology, a cliff is a significant vertical, or near vertical, rock exposure. Cliffs are formed as erosion landforms due to the processes of erosion and weathering that produce them. Cliffs are common on coasts, in mountainous areas, escarpments and along rivers. Cliffs are usually...

s known to be used by protected birds of prey like eagle
Eagle
Eagles are members of the bird family Accipitridae, and belong to several genera which are not necessarily closely related to each other. Most of the more than 60 species occur in Eurasia and Africa. Outside this area, just two species can be found in the United States and Canada, nine more in...

s, falcon
Falcon
A falcon is any species of raptor in the genus Falco. The genus contains 37 species, widely distributed throughout Europe, Asia, and North America....

s and osprey
Osprey
The Osprey , sometimes known as the sea hawk or fish eagle, is a diurnal, fish-eating bird of prey. It is a large raptor, reaching more than in length and across the wings...

.

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


Vandalism
Vandalism
Vandalism is the behaviour attributed originally to the Vandals, by the Romans, in respect of culture: ruthless destruction or spoiling of anything beautiful or venerable...

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

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

With the advent of hard, bolted sport climbing
Sport climbing
Sport climbing is a form of rock climbing that relies on permanent anchors fixed to the rock, and possibly bolts, for protection,...

 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
Sport climbing
Sport climbing is a form of rock climbing that relies on permanent anchors fixed to the rock, and possibly bolts, for protection,...

 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 backup in case of falls, some forms of climbing—like sport climbing
Sport climbing
Sport climbing is a form of rock climbing that relies on permanent anchors fixed to the rock, and possibly bolts, for protection,...

, canyoneering or, especially, aid climbing
Aid climbing
Aid climbing is a style of climbing in which standing on or pulling oneself up via devices attached to fixed or placed protection is used to make upward progress....

—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 temporary bolts & rivets, but in recent years an emphasis on clean techniques has grown.

Today, the charge of vandalism
Vandalism
Vandalism is the behaviour attributed originally to the Vandals, by the Romans, in respect of culture: ruthless destruction or spoiling of anything beautiful or venerable...

 in climbing is more often a disagreement about the appropriateness of drilling and placing permanent bolts
Bolt (climbing)
In rock climbing, a bolt is a permanent anchor fixed into a hole drilled in the rock as a form of protection. Most bolts are either self-anchoring expansion bolts or fixed in place with liquid resin....

 and other anchors. Typically in the USA, 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
Yosemite National Park
Yosemite National Park is a United States National Park spanning eastern portions of Tuolumne, Mariposa and Madera counties in east central California, United States. The park covers an area of and reaches across the western slopes of the Sierra Nevada mountain chain...

, many routes are being gradually upgraded to safer standards of protection.

BASE jumping


A few climbers, most prominently Dean Potter
Dean Potter
Dean Potter is an American free climber, alpinist, BASE jumper, BASEliner, and highliner. He is noted for hard first ascents, free solo ascents, speed ascents, and enchainments in Yosemite and Patagonia....

, are experimenting with taking small parachutes on long climbs. This is also known as Free Basing. BASE jumping
BASE jumping
BASE jumping, also sometimes written as B.A.S.E jumping, is an activity that employs an initially packed parachute to jump from fixed objects...

 is banned in some areas known for their rock climbing, notably Yosemite National Park
Yosemite National Park
Yosemite National Park is a United States National Park spanning eastern portions of Tuolumne, Mariposa and Madera counties in east central California, United States. The park covers an area of and reaches across the western slopes of the Sierra Nevada mountain chain...

.

Commercial applications


Skilled rock climbers have been employed in building a work of sculpture entitled Big Bambú
Big Bambú
Big Bambú: You Can't, You Don't, and You Won't Stop is a piece of installation art by identical twin artists Doug and Mike Starn.Big Bambú had its first installation in the artists' studio in Beacon, New York. In the summer of 2010 it was the featured exhibition at the Metropolitan Museum of Art...

 atop the Metropolitan Museum of Art Roof Garden
Metropolitan Museum of Art Roof Garden
The Metropolitan Museum of Art Roof Garden is a rooftop terrace, art venue and restaurant open in the warm weather months at New York's Metropolitan Museum of Art. The Roof Garden offers "breathtaking" views of Central Park and the Manhattan skyline. The garden is the gift of philanthropists...

  and in repairing wind turbines.

See also


  • Lists and glossaries
  • Climbing organisations
    • Glossary of climbing terms
      Glossary of climbing terms
      This page describes terms and jargon related to climbing and mountaineering.-A:American death triangle : An anchor which is created by connecting a closed loop of cord or webbing between two points of protection, and then suspending the rope from a carabiner clipped to only one strand of said anchor...

    • Climbing terminology
    • Climbing command
    • Glossary of knots common in climbing
      Glossary of knots common in climbing
      There are many knots used in climbing, rappelling and mountaineering. Popular climbing knots are briefly described and depicted in this article.-Bends:Beer knot: The Beer knot is often used in tubular webbing, usually for making slings....

    • Rock climbing grades
      Grade (climbing)
      In rock climbing, mountaineering and other climbing disciplines, climbers give a climbing grade to a route that concisely describes the difficulty and danger of climbing the route...

  • Related activities
    • Mountaineering
      Mountaineering
      Mountaineering or mountain climbing is the sport, hobby or profession of hiking, skiing, and climbing mountains. While mountaineering began as attempts to reach the highest point of unclimbed mountains it has branched into specialisations that address different aspects of the mountain and consists...

    • Scrambling
      Scrambling
      Scrambling is a method of ascending rocky faces and ridges. It is an ambiguous term that lies somewhere between hillwalking and rock climbing. It is often distinguished from hillwalking by defining a scramble as a route where hands must be used in the ascent...

    • Ice climbing
      Ice climbing
      Ice climbing, as the term indicates, is the activity of ascending inclined ice formations. Usually, ice climbing refers to roped and protected climbing of features such as icefalls, frozen waterfalls, and cliffs and rock slabs covered with ice refrozen from flows of water. For the purposes of...

    • Outdoor education
      Outdoor education
      Outdoor education usually refers to organized learning that takes place in the outdoors. Outdoor education programs sometimes involve residential or journey-based experiences in which students participate in a variety of adventurous challenges in the form of outdoor activities such as hiking,...

    • Parkour
      Parkour
      Parkour is a method of movement focused on moving around obstacles with speed and efficiency. Originally developed in France, the main purpose of the discipline is to teach participants how to move through their environment by vaulting, rolling, running, climbing and jumping...

       (French technique of passing obstacles efficiently)
    • Salto del pastor
      Salto del pastor
      The shepherd's leap is a spectacular folk sport practised throughout the Canary Islands.-History:The origins of salto del pastor may date back to the Guanches, the aboriginal inhabitants of the islands prior to the Castilian conquest period of the early 15th century...

       (aboriginal rock gymnastic sport of Canary Islands
      Canary Islands
      The Canary Islands , also known as the Canaries , is a Spanish archipelago located just off the northwest coast of mainland Africa, 100 km west of the border between Morocco and the Western Sahara. The Canaries are a Spanish autonomous community and an outermost region of the European Union...

      )
    • Caving
      Caving
      Caving—also occasionally known as spelunking in the United States and potholing in the United Kingdom—is the recreational pastime of exploring wild cave systems...

    • Bouldering
      Bouldering
      Bouldering is a style of rock climbing undertaken without a rope and normally limited to very short climbs over a crash pad so that a fall will not result in serious injury. It is typically practiced on large natural boulders or artificial boulders in gyms and outdoor urban areas...

    • Climbing competition
      Climbing competition
      A climbing competition is usually held indoors on purpose built climbing walls.There are three main types of climbing competition:* Difficulty: competitors climb the same route one after the other...

    • International Federation of Sport Climbing
      International Federation of Sport Climbing
      The International Federation of Sport Climbing is the international governing body for the sport of competitive climbing, which consists of the disciplines lead climbing, speed climbing, and bouldering...

  • Other
    • Climbing injuries
      Climbing injuries
      This article will mainly cover climbing related injuries occurring when sports or rock climbing due to overuse i.e. Sports injury. Fortunately, only a small number of climbing injuries are acute traumas due to falls - the rest...

    • Lead climbing injuries
      Lead climbing injuries
      The sport of rock climbing offers great opportunity for exciting recreation, but it is a sport of extremes. It offers the exhilarating experience to push beyond human capacity and conquer the rock; however, sometimes fear inhibits the exhilaration. The greatest potential for injury occurs when a...


External links