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Encyclopedia > Climbing route
Southern and northern Mount Everest climbing routes as seen from the International Space Station.
Southern and northern Mount Everest climbing routes as seen from the International Space Station.

A climbing route is a route by which a climber reaches the top of a mountain, rock, or ice wall. Routes can vary drastically in difficulty, and it can be difficult to change one's mind in the middle, so the choice of route is extremely important, and published climbing guidebooks include detailed maps and photographs of routes. Download high resolution version (1000x662, 416 KB)The Himalayan mountain range with Mount Everest as seen from the International Space Station looking south-south-east over the Tibetan Plateau. ... Download high resolution version (1000x662, 416 KB)The Himalayan mountain range with Mount Everest as seen from the International Space Station looking south-south-east over the Tibetan Plateau. ... Mount Everest is the highest mountain on Earth, meaning its summit is higher above sea level than that of any other mountain. ... ISS Statistics Crew: 2 As of August 21, 2005 Perigee: 352. ... Climbers on Valkyrie at the Roaches. ... Mount McKinley in Alaska has one of the largest visible base-to-summit elevation differences anywhere A mountain is a landform that extends above the surrounding terrain in a limited area. ... Climbing guidebooks are also called topos. The money that is made from these topos is used to develop and maintain the climbing area. ...


In the earliest days of climbing, climbers just wanted to get to the top by whatever means worked, and there is little information about what they did. But during the 19th century, as the explorers of the Alps tried ever harder summits, it became clear that choosing, say, the east face over the southwest ridge, was the difference between success and failure. A famous example is the first ascent of the Matterhorn, which had been repeatedly and unsuccessfully attempted via the southern side, but there the strata tended to slope down and out, while the rocks of the northeast ridge (the one closest to Zermatt) tilted up - a steeper but safer route, not much harder than climbing a ladder. Alternative meaning: Nineteenth Century (periodical) (18th century — 19th century — 20th century — more centuries) As a means of recording the passage of time, the 19th century was that century which lasted from 1801-1900 in the sense of the Gregorian calendar. ... The West face of the Petit Dru above the Chamonix valley near the Mer de Glace. ... The Matterhorn (Fr. ... Zermatt is a village located (46°1′ N 7°45′ E) at the northern base of the Matterhorn in the German-speaking and predominately Roman Catholic section of the Valais canton in southern Switzerland. ...


As technique developed, and mountains of the world were conquered via their easiest routes, climbers began to challenge themselves by looking for and trying other routes. Once all the obvious lines had been tried, climbers looked for the less-obvious; an all-rock route threading between icefields, or perhaps a single thin crack running in a continuous straight line from base to summit. An aesthetic element came in as well; an easy but confusing route weaving back and forth across a face is less desirable than a direct route along a scenic ridge. Safe routes that yield to good technique are more desirable than routes with loose rock and awkward handholds.


Climbing routes that are unobvious and/or clever are clearly the creation of the climber(s) who came up with them, and those routes came to be known after the climbers who first ascended them. Inevitably, there were climbers so energetic that they established multiple routes on a single mountain or cliff, and it became the practice that the first ascentionist chooses a name for the route. This opened up a different outlet for creativity, and modern climbing areas will have a bewildering variety of curious and amusing names for their many routes, often following themes inspired by the area or popular culture. In climbing, a first ascent (FA) is the first climb to reach the top of a mountain, or the first to follow a particular climbing route. ... A climbing area is a small geographical region with a concentration of opportunities for climbing. ...


As an example, one of the most famous rock climbs in the world is "The Nose" on El Capitan in Yosemite Valley, so named because it is at the nose of the cliff, where it protrudes the farthest into the valley. A representative selection of routes to the right of The Nose includes: El Capitan is a 3,000 foot vertical rock formation in the Yosemite Valley, which is very popular with rock climbers. ... Yosemite Valley with Half Dome in the distance. ...

  • New Dawn
  • Wall of the Early Morning Light
  • Mescalito
  • Hockey Night in Canada
  • Pacific Ocean Wall (just to the left of a large pattern that looks vaguely like a map of North America)
  • Sea of Dreams
  • North American Wall
  • Wyoming Sheep Ranch (crosses the "Wyoming" of the pattern)
  • New Jersey Turnpike
  • Born Under a Bad Sign
  • Bad to the Bone
  • Eagle's Way
  • On the Waterfront
  • Waterfall Route
  • Chinese Water Torture
  • East Buttress (one of the earliest, dating from 1953)

Names often incorporate topical puns; for example, in Joshua Tree National Park route names include "Coarse and Buggy", "Cranking Skills or Hospital Bills" ("cranking" being the use of upper body strength), "Rockwork Orange" (after Clockwork Orange), "Fist Full of Crystals" (from A Fistful of Dollars), "Dangling Woo Li Master" (from The Dancing Wu Li Masters), etc. A Joshua tree silhouetted by a rock Joshua Tree National Park is located in south-eastern California. ... A Clockwork Orange is a dystopian 1962 novel by the Mancunian writer Anthony Burgess, adapted as a film by Stanley Kubrick in 1971. ... A Fistful of Dollars (Per un pugno di dollari in Italy, and officially on-screen in the U.S. as simply Fistful of Dollars) is a 1964 film directed by Sergio Leone and starring Clint Eastwood. ... The Dancing Wu Li Masters (ISBN 055326382X) by Gary Zukav (pub. ...


Another side effect of the large number of named routes is the need to indicate precisely where the route goes. For high mountain routes, rockfall and snowfall change the mountain so much each year that it's usually only possible to give a general idea of a route ("climb the ridge to the black tower, pass below it on the right side, and go up a snow-filled gully to the summit ridge").


Rock climbing routes are much more stable, and the wrong choice of crack can leave the climber in a dangerous position, so guidebooks will either use photographs with lines drawn on them and/or "topographic maps" ("topos" for short) showing a schematic view of the rock face along the route, using a variety of specialized symbols to indicate the direction of cracks, location of bolts, and so forth. For longer routes requiring multi-pitch climbing, the topo will indicate the recommended belay stations. In climbing, a bolt is a permanent anchor fixed into a hole drilled in the rock, usually consisting of a glued in or expansion bolt to which a hanger is permanently fixed (allowing passing climbers to clip a carabiner to the bolt). ... Multi-Pitch Climbing is the ascent of climbing routes with one or more stops at a belay station. ...


References

  • George Meyers and Don Reid, Yosemite Climbs (Chockstone Press, 1987)

  Results from FactBites:
 
Climbing route - Biocrawler (566 words)
A climbing route is a route by which a climber reaches the top of a mountain, rock, or ice wall.
Routes can vary drastically in difficulty, and it can be difficult to change one's mind in the middle, so the choice of route is extremely important, and published climbing guidebooks include detailed maps and photographs of routes.
Climbing routes that are unobvious and/or clever are clearly the creation of the climber(s) who came up with them, and those routes came to be known after the climbers who first ascended them.
Rock Climbing and Bigwall Climbing Route Beta (100 words)
Search for a climbing route by rating, name, formation, or climbing area (e.g.
Route beta postings 1 - 25 of 3156 total.
It's climber slang for information or tips on a route as in, "what's the beta on that route?" As a service to fellow climbers we ask SuperTopo guidebook users to post tips and updates to this website if they have relevant information to share after a climb.
  More results at FactBites »

 
 

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