If you’ve ever seen pictures or video of climbers scaling rock faces hundreds of feet above the ground without so much as a harness on, you might assume that the sport is only for the ultra-in shape daredevil.
But the reality is that there are many types of rock climbing. And several of them are accessible enough for beginners eager to give climbing a shot.
If you’re ready to get climbing, keep reading to learn a few climbing sports you should try!
1. Lead Climbing
Perhaps the most common type of sport climbing, as well as one of the safest, is lead climbing.
Perfect for beginners and advanced climbers alike, this type of rock climbing involves climbing a natural rock face while attached to a rope.
Because you are safely attached to a rope, learning how to lead climb is great for new climbers of any age and fitness level.
That rope is typically attached to a high point at the top of your route, though some routes may require you to clip in and out of different ropes as you reach new heights.
With free climbing, a partner who “belays” you, giving you slack as you climb and stopping you from falling. This individual uses a special harness to alleviate some of the weight of the climber, and to slow the rope in the event of a fall.
2. Trad Climbing
Trad climbing is another type of lead climbing or free climbing. In this rope sport, the climber used a system of hooks, chocs, and cams which are placed into rock crevices or even attached to a rock face.
As the climber makes his or her way up the wall, they use these tools to clip their rope into. Instead of a person below belaying them, these attachments are a safety net for the climber, catching them if they fall.
3. Free Soloing
For the adventurous climber, free soling is the ultimate climbing sport.
Just as the name suggests, this type of rock climbing means that the climber is free of any ropes or other safety features. Instead, if they fall, they’ll fall the full height that they have climbed.
Despite the danger, this sport has a strong, passionate following. Athletes around the world have scaled some incredible climbs while free soloing.
4. Deep Water Soloing
While it still means climbing without ropes, the sport of deep water soloing has climbers scaling rock faces that are positioned over bodies of water deep enough to break their fall as safely as possible.
There are still a lot of risks involved with deep water soloing, but it is a safer alternative while still offering an adrenaline rush for climbers.
Bouldering is another popular rope-free sport. It involves climbers moving horizontally across rock faces, usually staying within 10 feet of the ground.
The sport of bouldering can be a great way to sharpen your rock climbing skills or to climb in areas where it would be difficult to lead or trad climb.
Choosing the Best Climbing Sports
As with most outdoor adventure sports, all climbing sports carry some level of risk. For that reason, some climbing sports are better suited to beginners than others.
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