World Library  
Flag as Inappropriate
Email this Article

Climbing area

Article Id: WHEBN0000199166
Reproduction Date:

Title: Climbing area  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: Climbing areas, Climbing areas of Pakistan, El Salto (climbing area), La Huasteca (climbing area), Mišja Peč
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia

Climbing area

A climbing area is a small geographical region with a concentration of opportunities for climbing. The term is most commonly used of rock climbing areas, but there are also ice climbing areas that have the right combination of steepness and water to result in climbable ice during the winter.

While there are many mountains and cliffs in the world, only a small percentage are popular for climbing. Mountain ranges are frequently at high elevations, remote, and tend to have poor weather much of the time, which means that the climber spends more time hiking, camping, and battling the elements than actually climbing. At the opposite end of the scale, many cliffs are too small or the rock is too unstable to make for an enjoyable and safe experience.


An ideal climbing area has these qualities:

  • Close to an access road
  • Large number of different routes
  • Solid and stable rock
  • Safe descent routes
  • Good weather
  • Free access
  • Uncrowded

Development of a climbing area

Since rock climbing became an activity distinct from mountaineering in the 20th century, it is usually possible to trace the entire history of an area, generally starting with a few local climbers using the area as "practice rocks" in preparation for mountaineering expeditions. Inevitably a few in the local community would become more interested in the area for its own sake, exploring the area for new and unusual routes, typically looking for a combination of challenge, safety, and elegance of line, the last being a subjective quality that is nevertheless easy for climbers to agree upon.

This process has become known as "development" of a climbing area, and, depending on the area, may include the placing of permanent bolts at key belays spots, rappel slings, as well as agreement on preferred equipment, minimization of environmental impact, and so forth, initially all done by word of mouth.

Development culminates in the publication of a climbing guidebook. The first edition of a guidebook may be little than a mimeographed pamphlet, but in the most highly developed areas, the books are thick tomes full of maps, photographs, and records of first ascents, and some have gone through multiple editions.

Climbers normally have a very light impact on an area; bolts are not visible from a distance, and only the knowledgeable will recognize the worn ground at the base of a route and the chalk residue on the rock for what they are. However, popular climbing areas eventually come to the attention of the area's legal stewards, whether they are the owners of private land, or the rangers of a park. In such cases, the local climbers may need to negotiate access rights or bolting policies. Places like Yosemite National Park actually have a staff of climbing rangers, who work with climbers to develop and enforce usage policies, and to perform rescues.

This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.

Copyright © World Library Foundation. All rights reserved. eBooks from Project Gutenberg are sponsored by the World Library Foundation,
a 501c(4) Member's Support Non-Profit Organization, and is NOT affiliated with any governmental agency or department.