Talk:Sport climbing

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Sport climbing vs traditional bolted climbing[edit]

This article is using the slang term for bolted face climbs all being sport climbs. Older bolted climbs where bolts were placed every 20-50 feet apart on lead were not sport climbs. Later rappell power cordless hammerdrill bolting put bolts in every 3-10 feet. That is sport climbing. For example, the climb Snake Dike in Yosemite has 1-2 bolts per pitch, plus bolted anchors. Its a bolted face climb, NOT a sport climb.

Sport v. Trad[edit]

I am going to split off the sport vs trad stuff into another page Thinredline 23:55, 28 June 2006 (UTC)

I agree - trad climbing Is pretty pointless.-- (talk) 21:25, 15 July 2015 (UTC)

Red point[edit]

It seems like the Red point page should probably be merged over here, since redpointing is really a sport climbing innovation. Thoughts? JordanDeLong 03:01, 26 August 2006 (UTC)

I included a list of sport climbing distinctions (redpoint, pinkpoint, on-sight, etc.) with explanations, so that these distinction definitions could be in this article, rather than having their own articles. But someone removed them. Is there a good reason for this? Ratagonia 18:35, 2 November 2006 (UTC)

I reverted to the previous version, which added back in the distinction list and a few other points in the Sport Climbing Basics. Reverting because I didn't like the edits is weak, but also the edit screwed up the formatting, so I did. It also seemed like an edit that removed substance, rather than improved the article. Discussion? Ratagonia 18:42, 2 November 2006 (UTC)

The definition on this page for red point is different to the definition on the Red point page. Mabey that's why.. I dont know though. Jason McConnell-Leech 09:16, 14 May 2007 (UTC)


Article flagged for 1. neutrality and b. non-encyclopedic style; along with various other climbing articles including Mountaineering. Now, I know the Mountaineering article is really spotty, but this one here seems to be pretty good. FLAGGER - please give some direction (as promised) re: what exactly you object to.

Thanks. Ratagonia 22:53, 9 December 2006 (UTC)

Inappropriate detail?[edit]

This was added recently: "Sport climbers typically use a figure-eight follow-through knot to attach the rope to their harness, although some climbers prefer the double bowline"

I find this "inappropriate detail" and suggest deleting it. Comments? Agreement? Appropriate? Ratagonia 05:29, 29 January 2007 (UTC)

I don't think it's an inappropriate detail. But I do think that it's an unsourced assertion. Furthermore, all climbers tend to prefer the figure eight, not just sport climbers. Perhaps a source could be found that would indicate which knot is most common. Mountaineering: FOH simply says that a knot such as the figure eight is used to tie in, and elsewhere that the figure eight makes a good knot to tie in with, but doesn't indicate the relative popularity in either location. -Will Beback · · 06:17, 29 January 2007 (UTC)
It is *not true* that all climbers prefer the figure eight. In particular, many sport climbers prefer the double bowline because it's easier to get undone after a particularly big or violent fall. I've seen figure eights so tight from falls that people ended up cutting their rope. The downside of a double bowline is that it can come undone if the rope is particularly smooth, or the climber forgets to tie a safety knot. The double bowline article also contains this information. Jnoring 02:23, 16 March 2007 (UTC)
PS: Since nothing in the article is sourced it'd be a pity to pick on one unsourced assertion. -Will Beback · · 06:26, 29 January 2007 (UTC)
I added it because I felt it contributed details readers may be interested in, but you could be right--it might be more detail than they need. My vote is to keep it, but it won't hurt my feelings if you zap it either. :) Jnoring 02:23, 16 March 2007 (UTC)

I don't really feel this needs a source, pretty much anyone who climbs knows this. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 01:31, 15 September 2011 (UTC)

Inaccuracies regarding sport and trad differences?[edit]

The following comments were added:

Traditional climbing usually involves placing cams or nuts into cracks for protection, as well as using bolts placed into the rock by standing on holds and drilling required holes, unlike sport climbing where drilling is done while hanging on the rope for support.

...I think this may be misleading in the sense that it gives the idea that many trad climbers use bolts, but a large segment of trad climbers are wholly opposed to the notion. I also think this addition is out of place. Maybe this belongs in a separate ethics section or something, but it seems misplaced in a paragraph outlining the major distinctions between sport and trad climbing.

See my comments below. Whatever "trad" climbers of today feel about bolts does not speak to the issue of what defined "traditional climbing" when and where the term first arose. The use and connotations surrounding any terms in and outside climbing change over time, of course, but Wikipedia should acknowledge more than ever changing use and opinion. It should reference the documented, original traditional-sport divide, as it arose and as it was recorded. Tom Higgins (talk) 22:02, 19 February 2008 (UTC)Tom Higgins


No rests on the rope are allowed in traditional climbing for previewing or rehearsing; after a fall, the climber lowers to the last stance or beginning of the pitch to begin again. Finally, the number of attempts after falls in traditional climbing is limited by custom to none or a few,

...This is definitely inaccurate. Perhaps in certain climbing communities this is some established rule, but I've never seen any such rules like this in my ten plus years of climbing. This should be removed entirely, IMO. At the very least, relocated.

See my comments below. A bit more than a 10 year perspective is needed here. Read the referenced sources and you will see the precise climbing style issues of the day when "traditional" first arose in written usage, and that issues very much included what was acceptable and controversial after a fall. Tom Higgins (talk) 22:02, 19 February 2008 (UTC)Tom Higgins

Tom - The fact remains that I have _never_ seen a climbing community in the United States in the last twelve years that has A) practiced this ethic or B) even cares anymore. This would be a historical distinction, but it is simply not pertinent to any modern discussion of the differences between traditional and sport climbing. Regardless of the historical accuracy of the statement (I don't doubt the veracity of the claim), it has no place in the "basics" section. Jnoring (talk) 05:40, 15 April 2008 (UTC)

but limited in sport climbing only by the climber's endurance and interest (see "working" below).

...this is true; however, in most places I've climbed, it's considered exceptionally rude to "hoard" a route, especially when there's a line. In any event, this information also seems misplaced in reference to the differences between sport and traditional climbing.


  • Agree with your thoughts. Go for it. However, gotta realize, we are writing an article mostly for non-climbers, and these rather fine distinctions of style are only pertinent to members of the climbing community, who already know what sport climbing is. Keep the context in mind. Ratagonia 05:00, 18 March 2007 (UTC)
    • I don't think I fully understand--do you think the stylistic differences should be added somewhere else, or removed entirely? (in other words, do you think it's a good detail to have in the article somewhere) I've considered adding an "ethics" section to this article; these distinctions would probably make more sense in such a section. Jnoring 00:09, 20 March 2007 (UTC)

Style differences in terms of how protection is placed (on lead, preplaced from above), how the rock or plastic is approached (previewed, rehearsed or not), how the rope is used (rest/work or not) and what happens after a fall (hang or lower to hands free stance) -- all are central to defining the difference between sport and trad. The fact that people feel strongly one way or another about these styles, which gives the discussion heat and "ethical" connotation, should not relegate these differences to a separate "ethics" category of discussion. Style differences define trad and sport and can not be treated in ancillary fashion. Of course, if it is relevant to set out some specifics about the controversy between styles and the long history and evolution of that debate, then a separate, documented section on the controversy could be written and appropriately referenced, but that's an entirely separate matter.Tom Higgins (talk) 22:02, 19 February 2008 (UTC)Tom Higgins

Correction: style differences in terms of lead protection, previewing/rehearsing, resting/working, and what happens after a fall _were_ central to defining the differences between sport and trad. You are presenting a historical perspective that is simply no longer a reflection of the actual differences between the two forms of climbing. I do not agree with you that these are "central" to defining the difference. I think you may be correct that this was a central difference several decades ago, but it is simply no longer the case, nor do I see any indication that climbing communities are moving in the direction of re-hashing such a debate.
Your last sentence really touches on my beef with the additions you've been making: they are simply out of place. Please put them somewhere more appropriate, like a history section. Why would you discuss style differences, protection placement on lead verses on rap, resting on lead, and fall ethics in a section of an article entitled "Basics"? Like Ratagonia stated, you need to realize that this is an article mostly for non-climbers, and these are very fine distinctions.Jnoring (talk) 05:41, 15 April 2008 (UTC)

Suggested Added Sourced Material[edit]

I think the traditional page especially, and the sport page too, could be much improved by better grasping and sourcing of the roots and history of the issue. I would like to take a crack at such improvements, but before doing so will suggest some points for consideration and discussion to see what contributors think.

I might humbly suggest (as author) an important written "source" on the subject, to an article in Ascent which first coined the term "traditional" and laid out the issues in detail dividing the traditionalists of the day from those beginning the sport movement. It is "Tricksters and Traditionalists," by Tom Higgins, Ascent, Sierra Club, 1984. A link to a verbatim web version (I have Sierra Club written permission for posting to the source site) is:

- traditional as first coined very much included bolts placed on the lead. Of course natural protection (then mostly nuts and some cams) were the mainstay, but the essential issue was not bolts or not. The issue dividing trads and emerging sports was HOW protection is placed, not the protection technology itself. Traditional climbing placed bolts on the lead without any previewing of the route from above, and without hooks or overhead ropes for tension while placing. In a pivotal war of the day in the center of the first significant debate, Tuolumne Meadows, traditionalists removed bolts from a new route just because they were placed on tension from above, not because they were bolts - and the war was off and running between competing styles.

- while protection technology was not the heart of the first traditional and sport conflict, climbing STYLE was at the nub of the debate. Not only did traditionalists protest previewing from above as much as protecting from above, they also were angered by rehearsing moves while hanging on tension, and by resting on the rope after a fall. The accepted traditional approach of the day was to lower to a hands free stance after a fall and begin again; or, to lower to the beginning of the pitch or the ground to start over. The growing sport approach was (and still is in some sport styles) to hang and rest. Finally, the traditional approach of the day was generally to quit after a few falls. Repeated falling and working of the route, multiple attempts over many days (so called "sieging"), especially using fixed ropes to regain high points for working, all were anathema to traditionalists.

Here is a link to a one page table which summarizes the several STYLE issues from the watershed time period when traditional and sport first arose in stark contention and when "traditional" first came into parlance:

And finally, for those seeking perspective and specific documentation on how the traditional-sport divide has carried through to today, with 21 references to recent climbing literature on the subjects, here is a relevant link:

So, may I add some revisions along these lines and a link or two to the relevant literature?

Tom Higgins (talk) 21:34, 19 February 2008 (UTC)Tom Higgins

Tom - I would like to see historical perspective included in the article. However, it is not appropriate to put this in the "basics" section of the article, which should effectively be an executive summary of how the mechanics of sport climbing work and some of the "basic" distinctions between sport climbing and other forms of climbing. I think this information belongs in a separate ethics section (which I see someone has added), or a history section.
Also, I don't think citing yourself, and only yourself, constitutes NPOV. I think such a section would need more than a single source (that source being your article from 1984) to be an honest assessment of the differences between sport climbing and other forms of climbing. Jnoring (talk) 05:24, 15 April 2008 (UTC)
Late to the party, but let me support Mr. Higgins paraphrasing and citation of his definitive article in Ascent 1984 in a history section (assuming there is still interest). If it were not a definitive article, it would perhaps be inappropriate. Other editors can then rework the section as needed, but not reason to exclude Mr. Higgins from the editing process. And part of that is that the sourcing on this article is especially poor, so anyone willing to breath life into the article should be encouraged. Ratagonia (talk) 21:23, 29 February 2012 (UTC)

Added Ethics section[edit]

A class I'm taking assigned the project of making substantive edits to a Wikipedia page, so I added the "Ethics" section here to elaborate on some of the common ethical disputes and controversies that arise in sport climbing. I believe this is a useful addition because many inexperienced climbers do not know exactly what behavior is acceptable while sport climbing, and I think this addition sheds some light on it. NikaE (talk) 04:56, 3 January 2008 (UTC)

  • All well and good, but addition to the Wikipedia requires SOURCES. You may be able to dig some material on these issues out of the archives of Climbing and Rock and Ice Magazines, or out of books on your bookshelf. Just putting in an ethics section "the way you see it" constitutes original research and is not allowed on the Wiki. (And yes, the rest of the sport climbing article is poorly sourced. If you want to make a contribution to the article, you could try to find sources for some of the statements made in the Sport Climbing article and footnote them). Ratagonia (talk) 17:08, 3 January 2008 (UTC)
  • SOURCES added to the section I added. Climbing and R&I archives aren't available online, but used other reputable climbing websites. Didn't have time to dig through for sources for the entire article. Problematically, a lot of climbing knowledge is honestly passed around orally and sometimes there is simply not a written source for what is common knowledge among climbers, and I think the fact that so much of the article is unsourced reflects this. NikaE (talk) 03:25, 4 January 2008 (UTC)

Australia's hardest sport climbing grade[edit]

(Not sure why this didn't save before; let's try again!) I changed this from "up to 34 (as of 2004)", to "up to 34 (as of 2008)", because to the best of my limited knowledge, our two hardest sport climbs are currently "White Ladder", and "Sneaky Old Fox" - both 8c+/34. (talk) 13:56, 13 August 2008 (UTC)

Sport Climbing Photo[edit]

I've recently added a new photo for this article, I feel it is fitting since it shows all the gear involved, everything from the belayer, rope, harness, quick-draws to the climber. Rsriprac (talk) 19:08, 19 February 2011 (UTC)

Access Issues[edit]

I'd like to move the short bit on Access Issues up to the Ethics section. It currently is under the USA section, be mentions stuff from the UK, which is not quite our 52nd state YET. Any disagreement (with the move, not my sense of humor)? Ratagonia (talk) 21:16, 29 February 2012 (UTC)

Real climbing[edit]

The article doesn't really articulate that amoung the climbing community Sport climbing is deemed as Real climbing and trad climbing is deemed as a second rate style reserved for lesser individuals who don't really have what it takes to tackle sport routes and would prefer to take 3 hours over something that a good Sport/Real climber could do in 5 mins. --JohnnyB1234 (talk) 10:50, 26 June 2015 (UTC)

External links modified[edit]

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New title and Olympic confusion[edit]

This article seems pretty well established as covering sport climbing as rock climbing using fixed bolts, not to be confused with artificial competitive climbing, known in Europe as sport climbing. But now that the IOC has adopted the latter, an increasing number of links are being made to this article that are meant for climbing competition. Not only that, this article itself is full of confused claims about it being an Olympic sport. It seems that this article no longer satisfies as the primary topic of the term sport climbing, and that this page will need to be moved. Is there a form of parenthetical disambiguation that could be used, or a different name for this form of climbing? Ibadibam (talk) 21:52, 1 March 2018 (UTC)