Sport climbing has grown significantly over the past 10 years as it is a relatively safer and easy type of climbing to do. Similar to most indoor climbing, there are many bolts placed into the walls so that protection stays consistent and reliable. As you climb the wall you attach your rope into the bolts using quickdraws (devices that keep your rope away form the wall but still properly attached to bolts). Sport climbing usually focuses on much harder routes that push climbers boundaries and are shorter in length. These routes are usually less traditional and have been established in more recent years.
Traditional (AKA: “trad”) climbing
Traditional climbing is a low impact type of climbing that has been around for a much longer time than sport climbing. Trad climbing requires much more endurance and mental strength to complete a pitch. There is also the added challenge of placing protection along the route and making sure that your protection is placed safely. Knowledge about passive and active protection, anchors, and other protection methods is also needed with trad climbing where in sport climbing little knowledge of these aspects is needed. This type of climbing has been in existence as the original type of climbing for a long time and just recently has sport climbing grown in popularity. Even today with most outdoor climbing, traditional methods are much more used as it leaves less of a mark on the landscape and allows people to climb without having to worry about the red-tape of placing bolts.
This is seen as the most simple of types of climbing but definitely not the easiest! Bouldering is exactly what it sounds like, climbing boulder-like problems that don’t focus on how high you get or how much distance you cover, but more on performing difficult, high energy moves to get to a certain place on a rock. Usually there is no protection given to the climber other than a soft crash pad and someone spotting to make sure the climber doesn’t fall on his or her head. Bouldering involves a different type of agility, mental strength, and physical demands compared to traditional climbing but has added a whole new dimension to the climbing sphere that has grown significantly over the years.
This type of climbing involves using zero protection at all to climb. Although very dangerous, many famous climbers find that this method allows them to focus only on the climbing and less on the worries of protection. Although this is a type of climbing that is not common to most people at all, trying things like deep-water soloing (free soloing above deep water) is an awesome way to try out the mental difficulties of free soloing without as much of the risk.