Route Styles

There are lots of different styles of climbs around the world. People climb everything from boulders to mountains, and everything in between including buildings and trees. The challenge is deciding when does a high boulder problem become a solo? Or what is the boundary between an alpine route and an ice route?

Our system of climbing styles simply asks the question:

What gear do I need?

Or put another way, if I only have a certain amount of gear - what routes can I climb?

Below is the list we came up with, and some rough differences between the gear needed. It is also colour coded and you will see these colours used throughout the site to help you quickly identify different styles.

Style What you'll typically need
Trad A rope or maybe twin ropes, and a trad rack - wires, hexes, cams etc
Aid climbing Trad gear plus more: etrier's, bashies, sky hooks, RURP's, etc
Sport A rope and quickdraws
Top Rope Barely more than a rope. This is a special case where a route can ONLY be done as a top rope.
Bouldering A crash pad, spotters, bananas
Alpine Snow stakes, 1 straight shaft tool / axe
Ice Ice screws, two tools, front point crampons
Deep water soloing Spare shoes, spare chalk, a boat!
Via ferrata Shock absorbing sling, crab claws. You might climb in sneakers or approach shoes.
Unknown An unknown style - only used when you don't actually know. If a route is maybe trad or sport, and definitely not the others, then set it to trad rather than unknown and then change it to sport later if needed. If you've invented some new style that you think should be here let us know!

So what about 'mixed' routes? ie a route that needs trad gear and also has bolts. By our definition a mixed route need's trad gear so it should be marked as trad AND also have the number of bolts needed for the route.

Note This is not an exhaustive list of equipment you will need. This list is just to demonstrate the core differences between the gear used in each style.