What are the different types of Climbing? Difference between Bouldering, Top roping, Lead climbing, Free Climbing, Trad and sport climbing.


Among the various types of rock climbing, the one that is performed on small rock formations or shorter artificial walls are called Bouldering. It is practiced without the use of ropes or harnesses. While bouldering can be done without any equipment, most climbers use minimal gear comprising of climbing shoes, crash pads and chalk. bouldering problems are usually less than 6 meters (20 ft.) tall. Horizontal rock climbing problems a.k.a Traverses, can also be set as a bouldering problem.

Top Roping

The most common style of rock climbing used in indoor climbing walls are top roping. In this style, the climber is secured by belayer using a rope that goes through an anchor situated at a height. Climber always climbs at a lower height than the anchor. This style requires someone to first setup the anchor either by hiking around or by scrambling (or even sometime lead climbing).

types of rock climbing
types of rock climbing

Lead Climbing

Lead climbing is yet another style of rock climbing. On the contrary to top roping, where the rope is pre-attached to an anchor, in lead climbing, the lead climber clips the rope to intermediate anchors as his/her climb progresses. These intermediate anchors could be either permanent bolts or transient nuts, cams or knot chocks. In this style the first climber leads and the remaining climbers follow.

Free Climbing

Traditional Climbing (Trad)

A style of rock climbing in which a climber or group of climbers place all gear required to protect against fall. All those gear are removed by them after completing a pitch.

Sport Climbing

Climbing Rating System

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