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Route Gear Styles

People climb everything from boulders to mountains, and everything in between, including buildings and trees. Climbing and climbs can be categorized into different disciplines that theCrag calls route gear styles. While some resources tend to mix up ascent styles (Tick Types) and climbing styles, theCrag makes a clear distinction between the two.

The ascent style or tick type defines how you climbed a specific climb whereas the route gear style defines what climbing style is the most common style to ascend a specific climb. In other words, the route gear style asks the question:

What gear do I need to ascend this climb?

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

Answering this question is quite obvious for many climbs but it still remains challenging in certain cases. What is the boundary between an Alpine Climb and an Ice Climb? When do we change an Aid Route to a Trad or Mixed Trad Route after it has been freed? How do we handle a Sport Route that is being green pointed? To name just a few.

Luckily, the approach taken by theCrag to distinguish between ascent style and climbing style allows to cover most cases. You may free solo a trad climb, green point a sport route or top rope a boulder.

The following table lists the color coded route gear styles used on theCrag with a short description and the typical gear required. Note that this list is just to demonstrate the core differences between the gear used in each climbing style and is by no means meant to be a complete list of gear required to climb a specific route!

Traditional climbingBack to contents

Traditional or trad climbing involves climbing routes in which removable protection against falls is placed by the climber while ascending. Read more in our article Introduction to Rock Climbing.

Gear characterising trad climbing styleBack to contents

Climbing shoes, harness, rope (single rope or twin ropes), belay device, chalk, quickdraws and trad-rack (friends, wires, hexes and cams).

Mixed traditional climbingBack to contents

Some trad routes use bolts to protect parts of the climb. Traditional climbing gear is still required for the other parts. This is what is called mixed traditional or mixed trad climbing on theCrag.

Gear characterising mixed trad climbing styleBack to contents

Climbing shoes, harness, rope (single rope or twin ropes), belay device, chalk, quickdraws and trad-rack (friends, wires, hexes and cams).

Remark: set this style by choosing Trad and entering the number of bolts.

Sport climbingBack to contents

Sport climbing involves climbing routes that are equipped with permanently fixed protection such as pre-installed bolts and anchors. Read more in our article Introduction to Rock Climbing.

Gear characterising sport climbing styleBack to contents

Climbing shoes, harness, rope, belay device, chalk and quickdraws.

Top rope climbingBack to contents

Top roping means that the rope is already set up through an anchor at the top of the climb prior to the climber getting on the wall.

While you may top rope almost any route this gear style is only applied if a route can ONLY be done as a top rope. See also Adding and Editing Routes regarding the Top Rope Access flag.

Gear characterising top rope climbing styleBack to contents

Climbing shoes, harness, rope, belay device and chalk.

BoulderingBack to contents

Bouldering is climbing without rope at heights that typically allow you to safely jump down back to the ground. Read more in our article Introduction to Rock Climbing.

Gear characterising boulder climbing styleBack to contents

Climbing shoes, chalk and crash pads.

Deep water soloingBack to contents

Deep Water Soloing (DWS) or psico bloc is climbing over a deep body of water. In certain cases you may top out from a climb but typically you end up getting wet.

Gear characterising deep water solo climbing styleBack to contents

Climbing shoes and chalk.

Aid climbingBack to contents

Aid climbing is a style of climbing in which standing on or pulling oneself up via devices attached to fixed or placed protection is used to make upward progress.

Gear characterising aid climbing styleBack to contents

Footwear (approach shoes or mountain boots), harness, rope, belay device, trad-rack (friends, wires, hexes and cams) and aid equipment (étriers, bashies, sky hooks, RURPs and rope ladders).

Alpine climbingBack to contents

Alpine climbing is a style of climbing in which the primary aim is very often to reach the summit of a mountain typically through different terrain (rock, snow, ice). On theCrag we DO NOT consider climbs that are pure Trad , Mixed trad or Aid climbs Alpine climbs just because they are in an alpine setting.

Gear characterising alpine climbing styleBack to contents

Mountain boots, harness, rope (single rope or twin ropes) and ice equipment (snow stakes, straight shaft tools and ice-axes).

Ice climbingBack to contents

Ice climbing is a style of roped and protected climbing of features such as icefalls, frozen waterfalls, and cliffs and rock slabs covered with ice refrozen from flows of water.

Gear characterising ice climbing styleBack to contents

Footwear (mountain boots and crampons), harness, rope (single rope or twin ropes), belay device and ice equipment (ice-axes and ice-screws).

Via ferrataBack to contents

Via ferratas typically follow a steel cable that is fixed every few meters to the rock through extended rock faces. Using a via ferrata kit, climbers can secure themselves to the cable, limiting any fall. The cable as well as additionally installed climbing aids, such as iron rungs, pegs, carved steps, and even ladders and bridges can also be used as an aid for climbing.

Gear characterising via ferrata climbing styleBack to contents

Footwear (approach shoes, mountain boots or sneakers) and via ferrata kit (shock absorbing slings and crab claws).

UnknownBack to contents

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, please Contact Us.

Further readingBack to contents

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