Free climbing is a form of rock climbing in which the climber may use climbing equipment such as ropes and other means of climbing protection, but only to protect against injury during falls and not to assist vertical or horizontal progress.[1] The climber ascends or traverses by using physical ability to move over the rock via handholds, footholds, and body smears.[2]

The term free climbing is used in contrast to aid climbing, in which specific aid climbing equipment (such as mechanical ascenders) is used to assist the climber in ascent. The term free climbing originally meant "free from direct aid".[3]

Free climbing more specifically may include:

[citation needed]

Common misunderstandings of the term

While clear in its contrast to aid climbing, the term free climbing is nonetheless prone to misunderstanding and misuse.[citation needed]

The three most common errors are:


  1. ^ hiking, Stewart Green Stewart M. Green is a lifelong climber from Colorado who has written more than 20 books about; Green, rock climbing our editorial process Stewart. "What is Free Climbing? Definition of a Rock Climbing Word". LiveAbout. Retrieved 2020-05-22.
  2. ^ Mountaineering The freedom of the hills (7th ed.). Seattle, Washington, USA: The Mountaineers Books. 2009. p. 209. ISBN 978-0-89886-828-9.
  3. ^ Bachar, John; Boga, Steven (1996). Free Climbing With John Bachar. Stackpole Books. p. 1. ISBN 9780811725170.


Further reading