A BEGINNER’S GUIDE TO TYPES OF CLIMBING

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LEAD CLIMBING

In lead climbing, the rope and the climber begin together at the base of the route. The climber ties into their rope, colloquially referred to as the “sharp end”, and then ascends the wall clipping their rope into quickdraws as they go while their belayer feeds them slack from below.

Lead climbers must climb some distance above a quickdraw to reach the next, which leads to falls that can be quite large. However, slack in the system and dynamic elongation of climbing ropes, coupled with an adept belayer, soften lead climbing falls and reduce impact to the climber.

COMPETITION STYLE

The rise in popularity of indoor climbing gyms and climbing competitions has led to a growth in competition-style routes and problems. In bouldering and lead climbing, competition style lends itself to dynamic, gymnastic moves and sequences that require strong puzzle-solving skills. Problems are often set using volumes (large, angular, removable features) that force competitors to maneuver over variable terrain.

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