by Brad

September 22, 2021

What Is Alpine Climbing

There are different types of climbing. You may ask yourself, what is alpine climbing? It is also known as alpinism, and it is mountain climbing, whose goal is to reach the summit of a mountain.

It means climbing the extreme crags, the face of the mountain’s rock, and the walls of a mountain. It uses the natural geographical features of the mountain terrain to go higher in altitude. 

To get there, the alpine climber will use some equipment and gear and the skill of alpine-style climbing that is developed over time.

This kind of climbing requires multiple disciplines such as ice climbing, rock climbing, snow skills, and glacier traversing. You must be in top physical fitness form, have great focus and awareness of the natural and geographical terrain.

The responses to your environment are developed and honed over time. Climbing is a dangerous and high-altitude sport that has gained popularity over time. It is loved and enjoyed because it is adventurous, you get beautiful vistas and views, giving you a great sense of reward.

Alpine Climbing

Alpine Climbing Vs. Mountaineering

The alpine is the area on the mountain, generally above the tree line. If you are wondering what is alpine climbing and how it is different from mountaineering, then we explain below. 

Alpine-style climbing and mountaineering are different though they are often thought to be the same.

What is the alpine-style climbing connection with mountain terrain?

The terrain of a mountain, as you go higher, will have rocks and ice areas. The climber should carry the gear over long distances and navigate icy and glaciated terrain.

Depending on the kind of alpine terrain, icy sections will determine the type of climbing you will do, which is ice climbing and glacier traversing.

The rock portion of the climb may include climbing over boulders and smaller rocks with proper hiking shoes. I this portion of the terrain, you will use rock climbing skills and discipline.

For areas that will need traditional climbing, you will need to have protective gear such as camalots, pitons, hexes, and nuts in the crevices of the rocks to keep climbing higher. 

This skill requires you to figure out what gear and size to use and at which point. This is because the rock features will be varied and need a quick response.

Equipment You Need for Alpine Climbing

What are alpine-style climbing and mountaineering as sports?

Mountaineering is sport climbing that involves the climber using quickdraws clipped into a bolt on the wall. At a higher elevation, climbers need to use an ice ax, crampon tips, and ice screws, all of which are used to navigate the icy terrain.

The glaciated terrain will also require the climber to have skills in crevasse rescue and travel and self-arresting if the crampons loosen and slip on the ice.

When there is a whiteout, which is when the snow falls so much that there is little to no visibility, the climber’s survival needs to know how to continue traveling on the glacial terrain.

For climbers who ask what is alpine style is climbing versus big wall climbing, big wall climbing is when multiple pitches are connected, and aid gear is used for advanced alpine climbs needing more technical skills.

A great example of this kind of climbing is the face of Meru in the Himalayas Mountains.

Equipment You Need for Alpine Climbing

If you wonder what alpine-style climbing is and the equipment needed, this is the list of equipment that will be safe and successful while climbing. The essential list includes: 

What Is Alpine Climbing Equipment

Preparing For Alpine Climbing

If you are asking what is alpine climbing and how can you prepare for it? Alpine climbing is dangerous because it involves extreme weather conditions that change quickly, high altitudes, and rough and sometimes hostile terrain. 

These factors make this sport difficult, including using highly technical gear in these changing circumstances.

These skills come with dedicated practice and guided instruction from professional guides who will teach the right technical skills and the correct way to use the gear and deal with inclement weather patterns.

The first skill of getting ready is getting the skills needed for climbing. These include rope systems and rope management, which will keep the climbers safe as you go higher. 

As you get ready for the climbing expedition, you should check all your gear to ensure that all the equipment is in perfect working condition. This checklist will ensure that you can purchase it and test all the gear if you do not have everything you need.

What is the alpine-style climbing

Get into a training plan that will prepare your physical body. This will mean working out, including cardio for endurance, and weightlifting will help you gain body strength. 

It is important to stick to the plan to prepare your body for the strenuous climb and the geographical and climate conditions. The physical preparation should also include exercising with the gear on your back to ensure that you get used to the weight.

Mental preparation is also essential to successfully deal with the changes that have to do with the weather patterns and other geographical changes that may increase the danger in a climb. 

It is crucial to develop the mental fortitude to quickly and calmly assess a quickly changing situation that will help save your life and the other climbers in your team.

Different Types of Alpine Climbing

There are different types of alpine-style climbing depending on the type of terrain. These are:

  • Alpine rock climbing this involves vertical climbing on routes of at least five hundred feet. The route may have pitons fixed at frequent stops. The routes may also have permanent bolts, which help the climbers. The climbers should also have frictions shoes to anchor them and other climbing gear better.
  • Alpine ice climbing this is climbing a vertical route that has ice and snow. Ice climbing gear such as ice screws, ice axes (how to choose your axe?), and crampons are needed.
  • Alpine mixed climbing these are vertical routes that have both rocky and ice areas. Technical skills of rock climbing and ice climbing are required.
Alpine Climbing Equipment

There are different methods of alpine-style climbing. These include:

  • Free climbing using equipment for safety; 
  • Clean climbing climbing using your equipment in routes where there are no devices placed;
  • Aid climbing equipment is used to help you during the climb;
  • Free solo no equipment is used for safety or to aid with the climb.

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About the author 


Brad is a professional climber in the discipline of traditional climbing. He often jokes that he can get a book to read during the long climbs. Of course, it always goes well with a good cup of coffee. Drinking coffee is his safer hobby.

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