Types Of Rock Climbing

Types Of rock climbing

Before we begin, it is important that you understand that rock climbing isn’t just one thing. At its most simplistic form climbing is getting from point A to point B while off the ground, but there are many ways of getting from point A to point B.

While all rock climbing has the same fundamentals there are many different forms of rock climbing.

Trad Climbing

This is the most popular form of climbing in Ireland and the UK and for the most part will be the type of climbing I will talk about in this guide.

When trad climbing, the climber places their own protection on the route as they climb. They do this by placing pieces of gear in the cracks in the rock which is clipped to their rope using a quickdraw.
We will get into gear placements in more detail later on. But in the meantime check out this video of Brad Gobright. Around 2:20 shows cam placement. Watch it HERE

Rock climbing protection
A nut placed in a crack.
Rock Climbing Course Ireland
Aidan placing an off-set nut for protection.

SPort Climbing

Unlike trad climbing, you do not place your own protection in the rock when sport climbing.

Instead, bolts are placed in the rock and the climber will clip their rope into the bolt using a quickdraw. The bolts are most often put there by the first ascensionist and will last years. If the bolts become damaged, they are replaced (depending on how popular the route is).

Rock Climbing Beginners
Clipping a bolt


Bouldering is when climbers, well… climb boulders. It started off as training for longer ascents and became its own discipline. Although in bouldering you do not use the term ‘route’ but ‘problem’.

Most problems are short and made up of a few moves. Bouldering is known for its explosive nature and strong moves, you may hear someone discribe a move on a trad or sports climb as a ” bouldery move”. This usually means that it’s a strong and explosive move.

Check out this bouldering film Hampi Local HERE.


It does not stop there. There are many other types of climbing: aid, free-solo, ice, mixed etc. I recommend watching Valley Uprising on Netflix.

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