Rock climbing is an increasingly popular activity that is open to people of all ability levels and one of the fastest growing sports in the country. It is a fun and exciting way to engage in an active type of fitness. Where going to an exercise gym is viewed as “work”, climbing is so enjoyable that you forget you are getting in a good workout too.
Many people think of climbing as either an “extreme sport” or a children's playground activity. While fun and exciting, climbing is much more relaxed and the atmosphere at Aiguille is quite easy-going. It is also mistakenly believed that it requires great physical strength, however many of our customers are first timers with minimal sports prowess.
Everyone climbs at their own pace, and can choose to take things easy or challenge themselves with harder routes and problems. Plus, our friendly and knowledgeable staff make sure that you are welcomed and have all the resources necessary to begin your climbing adventure. Below, you will find information on the types of climbing that make up this great sport.
Top Roping is the most common type of climbing at Aiguille and requires at least two participants: the climber and the belayer. The rope is suspended from an anchor at the “top” of a wall. One end is attached to the climber, the other end to the belay. The belayer controls the rope as the climber ascends the wall. In the event of a fall, the belayer stops the climber’s descent. When the climber wishes to come down, either at the top or partway up the wall, the belayer lowers the climber back to the ground. If two people are climbing, they take turns belaying for each other. For those wishing to not climb, they may still belay for another climber.
Bouldering is the simplest type of climbing. It involves climbing lower to the ground than you typically would when using a rope. Bouldering tends to be a more dynamic type of climbing in order to present a challenge in a short distance. Many people like bouldering because they can do it without a partner. Although lower to the ground, bouldering is no less dangerous than any other type of climbing.
Lead Climbing (or Sport Climbing) is the most advanced type of climbing available at Aiguille. As the climber ascends the wall, they clip their rope into fixed points on the wall, rather than the rope being fixed at the top. The climber must climb above these points of protection, which means if they fall before clipping the next one, they may experience an amount of freefall before the rope arrests the fall (called a “whipper”). This is more exciting for many climbers, and presents different hazards than other climbing types. Due to its advanced nature, we offer a special lead class to learn how. Visit our classes page to learn more our lead class.
OTHER TYPES OF CLIMBING
You may have seen other types of climbing in media, many of which can not be performed inside a climbing gym. Traditional Climbing or “Trad” Climbing involves placing your own protection points on the rock as you climb. Ice climbing can be done with the use of axes and spiked boots (called “crampons”) to gain purchase on the ice wall. Free soloing is like bouldering but at excessive heights where most people would be using a rope. Mountaineering is a blend of many skills, frequently hiking low angled terrain to reach a distant summit. Many of the skills needed for these types of climbing can be taught in a simulated environment at Aiguille, visit our classes page for details.