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Rock Climbing with Style - Heading Outdoors

by John Grimes [January 29, 2007]

When it comes to rock climbing, beginners are surprised to learn there are a lot of different styles. In this article, we cover some of the more advanced versions.

Rock climbing is definitely an extreme sport. When you are hanging off the face of a cliff, there really isn't any other way to define it. Once you get the hang of it, however, it is a surreal and peaceful experience. If nothing else, there is usually one hell of a view!

Rock climbing styles are as varied as the terrain you will be dealing with. For practical purposes, bouldering and indoor gyms are a convenient way to get your climbing fix. In this article, we look at more traditional and aggressive options.

Trad Climbing - Trad climbing is the most basic traditional climbing. When you think of rock climbing, this is what we are talking about. You are going to scale a significant height. How high? If a non-climber would blanche at the thought, it is high enough. Once you get really good at this, a more aggressive version is to solo climb without a partner.

With trad climbing, there is a specific process. First, you are going to need another person. The person gong first will lead the climb. You will use various devices such as nuts and carabiners to mark and support your way up the climb. Ropes are used between the climbers to support one another, particularly if someone suffers a fall. This process is known as belaying and the ropes fit through your climbing harness. You also will use special climbing shoes that are designed to grip the wall as you move about. Many people also use climbing chalk to give their fingers more grip and counter perspiration on them.
Sport Climbing - Sport climbing is similar to traditional climbing, but a bit simpler. You are still going to go up a challenging route. The primary difference is the path is already marked out for you. Nuts are already in place, so it makes things simpler and can usually be accomplished quicker.
Ice Climbing - As the name suggests, you are going to scale an ice wall. Although ice walls can come in different forms, crazy climbers seem to have an affinity for waterfalls. I have no idea why. Regardless, the climbing gear is a bit different. In this case, you are going to have ice axes and spikes clamped to boots. It is cold, but exhilarating. In my opinion, it is also the most extreme climbing given the fact that ice tends to chatter and chunks tend to fall. If you are on that chunk, oh my...

About the Author
John Grimes is with All Terrain - makers of natural products for the outdoors.