Sport Climbing Your Guide
Is sport climbing the right kind of rock climbing for you?
That depends. We are here to give you all the information you need to see if this style of climbing is right for you.
What is sport climbing?
Sport climbing is a form of lead climbing. It is characterized by the sport climber using permanent anchors that are fixed to the rock called bolts for protection. Sport climbers use quickdraws (a sling with a carabiner on both ends) to clip into the bolts.
This style of roped rock climbing emphasizes the gymnastic (strength and stamina) aspects of climbing. Sport Climbing is mostly face climbing and is typically only one pitch. You will find a few two pitch sport routes out there but for the most part multi-pitch climbing is almost all traditional (trad).
What do you need to sport climb?
- rock climbing shoes
- climbing harness
- belay device
- locking carabiners
- chalk bag and chalk
Want some more information on the climbing gear that you’ll need?
Check out the climbing gear section.
How To Lead A Sport Climb
Lead climbing is not as hard as you might think.
We do suggest that you should be able to climb 5.9 fairly easily before you begin sport climbing. In this section we will walk you through climbing a sport route.
To lead a sport climb is to climb a route where the rope is tied to the climbing harness with the loose end handled by the belayer. As each bolt is reached along the route, a quickdraw is then clipped to the bolt and the rope clipped to the hanging end of the quickdraw.
At the top of each sport route, there is some kind of an anchor, typically called the ‘shuts’.
Now the shuts can be open or closed.
Open shuts are two large hooks at the top of a route (looks like meat hooks). For this kind of an anchor you simply pull the rope over the hooks and lower down.
Closed shuts can be either two bolts with rings on them or chain that connect the two bolts. The easiest way to anchor into closed shuts is to use your quickdraws.
Generally, there will be at least two points of attachment for the anchor. Once the final anchor is clipped and the rope attached the climb can now be top roped or cleaned for the next sport climber to lead.
We recommend that people interested in learning sport climbing (lead climbing) and belay technique do so at a climbing gym with an experienced climber or a trained instuctor.
We are sure that after you do a few sport routes you’ll fall in love with this style of climbing.
Some interesting tid bits
Sport Climbing is a relatively new branch of climbing becoming popular in the 80′s. Lead climbing allowed sport climbers to focus on technique and climb harder grades of rock.
In the U.S., sport climbing is very popular as opposed to places like the UK. In the climbing community, value is placed on climbing routes as they were done on the first ascent.
When you go to an area to climb be consistent with that area’s style of climbing. If it is a trad area don’t go installing bolts on the routes.
This entry was posted on Friday, September 17th, 2010 at and is filed under Climbing Styles. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.