Top 10 Types of Rock Climbing

Rock climbing is a fascinating activity while many of the climbers try different types and techniques to hone their climbing skills. The urge for an adventure with risks and romance may force anyone out of their ‘shell’ and get them ready for an unforgettable experience. This thrilling experience is indeed one of the best experiences you may have in your lifetime, which is why you have to make sure that you understand this activity properly before you even try this.

As the name suggests, rock climbing is simply climbing any cliff or a mountain; but it’s not that straightforward. There are numerous types of rock climbing, many of which depend on the rock that a person is climbing and the rock climbing techniques that are being used. Whether you’re interested in this activity, a beginner or someone who is just curious for this fascinating activity, here are the top 10 types of rock climbing which will help you deepen the knowledge on this activity.


Bouldering is a type of rock climbing which is done on smaller rocks, usually not more than 6 meters. It is the simplest rock climbing that anyone can try. A thick mat is kept lying on the bottom of the rock to protect the climber from any injuries. The climber uses quick and powerful movements to climb up the rock (or perhaps, a boulder). No harness ropes or other safety equipment is required when trying this climb, and the mat will protect the climber in case that the climber falls. The climber may only use climbing chalk and a climbing shoe to get a grip on the rock. Children and adults can do this activity after an hour or two of rock climbing training. Experts suggest taking at least 30 minutes of exercise before trying to do this without expert supervision.


Trad Climbing

Traditional climbing, commonly known as trad climbing, is a type of rock climbing which is done on a natural rock. In this type of climbing, the climber places all the necessary anchor and protections required to protect the climber against falls. After the climb is completed, all the protections and anchors are removed, leaving no traces behind. This activity requires intense problem solving and self-belief, along with the adventures and risks involved.

Sport Climbing

Sport climbing is another type of rock climbing which is also the most popular. This is done on a natural rock which is higher than that of a trad climbing rock. This is why safety equipment is needed when performing this activity. This climbing requires a partner who remains on the ground holding onto a rope that would prevent you from falling. The climber also wears a harness which is attached to a rope. The climber also must have proper climbing shoes, helmet, climbing chalks, slings and a belay device to ensure his/her safety.

In sport climbing, the routes which the climbers will follow are already set beforehand, and these are equipped with bolts. After a climb of 2 meters, the climbers will find a bolt attached to the rock, and they can place a quickdraw into it and clip the rope in.


Free Climbing

Free climbing is one of the most dangerous types of rock climbing techniques. While doing the climb, the climber will not take any safety equipment and/or harnesses which would prevent the climber from falling. The entire climb is done freehand, although some people tend to use chalks and a pair of climbing shoes for a better grip. Any mistakes that the climber does may cause injury and even fatality, which is why expert climbers never recommend this type of extreme rock climbing techniques.


Dry Tooling

Dry tooling is a rock climbing technique in which the climber uses a pair of axes to grip onto cracks within the rock surface. Although this technique is similar to that of free climbing, the climber is allowed to use a few safety pieces of equipment. The dry tooling technique can be practiced both outdoors and indoors. However, it may be unappealing to some environmentalists as this technique may cause damage to the rock surface.


Big Wall Climb

In this type of rock climbing, the climber climbs through a long and vertical multi-pitch route. This type of climbing usually takes more than a day to complete. Climbers often have to spend the night on the route in a portal edge. Climbers often take a lot of safety equipment with them along with lots of food and water to suffice their needs for the climb.

The most popular place for the big wall climb is undoubtedly the El Capitan in Yosemite National Park. Climbing here often takes about 2 to 5 days. Hundreds of thousands of rock climbers visit this mountain range, but this is also one of the most dangerous rock climbing areas due to frequent fatalities occurring here.

This is why the climbers are advised to purchase the top quality climbing shoes and the high quality climbing chalks to get a better grip on the rock. Proper equipment may reduce the risks of falling down the mountain.


Ice Climbing

Ice climbing is a type of climbing which is done when a climber ascends an iced surface. This iced surface may be the sides of a frozen waterfall, steep ice gully, glacier or just an ordinary snowy mountain. Similar to that of sports climbing, ice climbing requires a second person who would stay at the ground holding onto a belayer which would prevent the climber from falling.


Top Rope Climbing

Top rope climbing is when a climber has the harness attached to a pulley system on the top of the climb, and the ropes are swung back onto a belayer who is standing on the ground. The climber can perform this activity just like a trad climb, but he has the advantage of being risk-free.


Via Ferrata

Via ferrata is a type of rock climbing which is safer than many other types of rock climbing. Children and adults with no previous experience of rock climbing can do this activity. The routes are steep, but has iron steps (Via ferrata is the Italian word for ‘iron steps’) on which the climbers can place their foot on their climb. The iron steps are set in regular intervals along with steel cables running all through the routes. Climbers are recommended to take a harness, helmet, pair of cloves and a pair of climbing shoes.


Lead Climbing

Only experienced climbers should try this climbing type because the associated risks are too significant for beginners to handle. Just like top roping, there are two individuals involved in the climbing – the climber and the belayer. The climber usually climbs a distance before he/she clips through the bolts which are kept in regular intervals. The belayer follows the climber using the rope attached to the bolt until he/she reaches close to the climber. This is repeatedly done until the peak is reached.



Hope you’ve liked our picks for the top 10 types of rock climbing. If you ever have curiosity or you are willing towards this activity, you must ensure that you’ve researched about the place where you’re going to this activity in and all of the risks involved. You must make sure that you’ve consulted a professional rock climber before trying to climb. You will have to select the best quality rock climbing equipment for your climb so that you are safe from the risk of falling off. If you can ensure proper safety of yourself, only then you’re prepared for the memorable adventure.

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