The Different Types of Rock Climbing

Do you enjoy Sport or Bouldering?, perhaps Trad gets the juices flowing. If you have no idea what these are then this blog is for you so keep reading. 

Rock climbing is a fantastic sport and one that I enjoy participating in as much as possible. However, within the sport there are many styles of climbing and we approach the end goal in a slightly different way.

Below I have compiled a list of the different styles of rock climbing.  

Top Roping:

Top Roping is where the rope is connected to the belayer as usual but runs to the top belay through a secure anchor and back down to the climber. The risk of injury is very low as the fall distance should be minimal. This style of rock climbing is used for beginners starting out that have not moved on to lead climbing just yet. Also used by climbers that are rehearsing moves of a project route they will later lead. Some crags require only top roping. I live in Kent and the local sandstone crags have to be top roped to protect the rock.  

Sport Climbing:

This is a very popular form of rock climbing. Lead climbing that requires minimal kit. The routes will be pre bolted. Very popular in Europe. Britain has a lot of sport climbing areas too. For example, Portland is a great place for Sport Climbing. Can be very good fun to push your limits as you carry only your quickdraws. Indoor climbing is the same style as this and can be a great place to practice and train for that weekend away. 

Traditional Climbing: 

Nearly always refered to as Trad Climbing. Again, a form of lead climbing. Unlike Sport climbing there are no pre placed bolts. You have to place your own protection using slings, rocks, nuts and cams. Britain has a great history and tradition of this style of climbing. People from all over Europe and the world want to climb our Trad routes which is great. The Peak District is a very popular place for this style of climbing but you can find many many trad spots all over Britian. Care and practice is paramount with this. You must get training in the placement of protection before hand. Wrongly placed protection can and does result in fatal accidents. But the rewards are fantastic. I love this style of climbing. 

Soloing: 

Any route that is climbed with no protection whatsoever. Rock shoes and chalk are pretty much it. I don't want to state the obvious but the dangers and risks in this style of climbing are very high. People do it, I've done it, just be careful and climb well within your limit. On coastal areas deep water soloing is an option. The water will offer some level of protection of you fall. Consult the guide book carefully and use local knowledge of the water to see if it is safe to fall into to.  

Bouldering: 

No protection is needed apart from a safety pad. They are low level routes often referred to as problems. Can be super technical and physical. You spend your time working out the moves to get to the end. Very social this form of climbing. Great for strength training. You can find Boulder problems everywhere. Problems that are higher than normal are refered to as Highball problems. These problems come with a greater risk of injury in  a fall. 

I hope this has helped and maybe persuaded you to have a go at other forms of climbing. When climbing, take care, make sure you're properly trained but above all, have fun!!! 

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