A Climbing Taxonomy
Our non-climbing friends are still confused. So here are the kinds of climbing again:
Free climbing does not mean soloing (without ropes). “Free” means not aid. When we free climb, we climb the rock without pulling or stepping on any equipment--pitons (does anyone use pitons anymore?), cams, slings, or whatever, to make forward progress. The rope, harness and gear are there for backup against falls.
Aid climbing is the opposite of free climbing. Here the climber puts nuts, cams, or other gear into the rock and then actively uses that gear for forward progress. When climbing was in its early days, this was the only way people could climb long, hard walls like those in Yosemite. Now lots of those aid routes have been freed.
Bouldering is short, hard climbing with a bouldering pad and a spotter, but no ropes and no other safety gear. It’s safest when kept below the height you can comfortably jump down from (although lots of bouldering routes push this limit considerably.) Newcomers to climbing often think that because the bouldering walls are short, they must be easier. Quite the contrary, the hardest climbing routes in the world are usually bouldering routes. What they lack in height they make up for in finger destroying, overhung intensity.
Solo climbing is climbing by yourself, either with or without gear.
Free soloing is climbing by yourself with no gear. Unfortunately, this seems to be what lots of non-climbers think climbing is.
Roped-soloing is climbing by yourself with gear placements and a rope and harness for backup.
Solo-aid climbing is climbing by yourself, using gear placements for forward progress.
Deep water soloing is climbing without a rope, harness, or gear (shoes are ok), over deep water. Falls mean big air, lots of screaming, and plunging into the surf or lake below.
Labels: climbing, Yosemite