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Big wall climbing is a type of rock climbing where a climber ascends a long multi-pitch route, normally requiring more than a single day to complete the climb.  Big wall routes require the climbing team to live on the route often using portaledges and hauling equipment.  It is practiced on tall or more vertical faces with few ledges and small cracks.
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In the early 20th century, climbers were scaling big rock faces in the Dolomites and the European Alps employing free- and aid-climbing tactics to create bold ascents. Yet, the sheer walls were waiting to be climbed by future generations with better tools and methods.
In addition, many nations in the early 1900s had specialized army units that had developed wall climbing skills for gaining surprise entry into enemy fortifications by wall climbing. In the early 1900s the Filipino Scouts, a US Army unit composed of Filipino enlisted and American officers, demonstrated their specialized skills by climbing the steep walls of a Spanish era fortification in Manila, then bested that demonstration by climbing the same wall again only bringing a battery of mountain howitzers this time to the top of the wall. 
Emilio Comici, who was the inventor and proponent of using multi-step aid ladders, solid belays, the use of a trail/tag line, and hanging bivouacs, contributed greatly to the techniques of big wall climbing. Thanks to his innovations, in the late 1950s big wall climbing finally started. In Yosemite, the northwest face of Half Dome was climbed in 1957 and the southeast buttress of El Capitan in 1958. With the invention of hard iron pitons, jumars and hammocks, wall climbing exploded in the 1960s and 1970s.
Following those pioneering achievements, parties began routinely setting off prepared for days and days of uninterrupted climbing on very long, hard, steep routes. The food, water, hardware and shelter necessary for such a climb could easily weigh well into the hundreds of pounds. Hauling systems were developed for managing these large loads.
In the past few decades, techniques for big wall climbing have evolved, because of a greater employment of free climbing and advances in speed climbing. The routes that used to routinely take days can be climbed in under 24 hours. Nevertheless, many parties still do make multi-day ascents of classic "trad routes" which have recently gone mostly free and very fast. Only a small handful of elite and exceptionally well-prepared climbers are capable of feats such as free-climbing the entirety of most classic Grade VI routes, or of speed-climbing such routes in a matter of hours.
In order to haul portaledges and other gear such as ropes, food, and water up a rock face, the gear is put in a bag ("haul bag" or "pig") and pulled up to the next belay station. There are many different mechanically advantageous systems, such as counterweighting, that are utilized to make pulling up the "haul bag" easier than simply dragging it up the face. 
Gear is usually spread over many haul bags (usually packed so that they weigh between 30 and 40 kilograms) in order to maximize efficiency and limit loss of equipment if a bag is lost.  The hauling system usually consists of a self-locking pulley in order to capture the motion and prevent the bag from descending once hauling stops. Next, an ascender clamped to the haul rope is used to pull the haul line through the pulley.
In rock climbing, mountaineering, and other climbing disciplines, climbers give a grade to a climbing route or boulder problem, intended to describe concisely the difficulty and danger of climbing it. Different types of climbing each have their own grading systems, and many nationalities developed their own, distinctive grading systems.
A climbing route is a path by which a climber reaches the top of a mountain, rock, or ice wall. Routes can vary dramatically in difficulty and grade; once committed to that ascent, it can sometimes be difficult to stop or return. Choice of route can be critically important. Guidebooks, if available, are helpful in providing detailed diagrams and photographs of routes.
Tree climbing is a recreational or functional activity consisting of ascending and moving around in the crowns of trees.
Glossary of climbing terms relates to rock climbing, mountaineering, and to ice climbing.
Rock-climbing equipment requires a range of specialized sports equipment, for training, for aid climbing, and for free climbing. Developments in rock-climbing equipment played an important role in the history of rock climbing, enabling climbers to ascend more difficult climbing routes safely, and materially improving the strength, conditioning, and ability of climbers.
El Capitan is a vertical rock formation in Yosemite National Park, on the north side of Yosemite Valley, near its western end. The granite monolith is about 3,000 feet (914 m) from base to summit along its tallest face and is a popular objective for rock climbers.
Solo climbing, or soloing, is a style of climbing in which the climber climbs alone, without the assistance of a belayer. By its very nature, it presents a higher degree of risk to the climber, and in some cases, is considered extremely high risk. Note that the use of the term "solo climbing" is generally separate from the action of bouldering, which is itself a form of solo climbing, but with less serious consequences in the case of a fall.
Aid climbing is a style of climbing in which standing on or pulling oneself up via devices attached to fixed or placed protection is used to make upward progress.
Top rope climbing is a type of rock climbing where the climber is securely attached to a rope that runs through a fixed anchor at the top of the climbing route, and back down to the belayer at the base of the climb. Should the climber fall they will just hang from the rope at the point of the fall. They can then either resume their climb or have the belayer lower them down in a controlled manner to the base of the climb.
In rock climbing and ice climbing, a pitch is a steep section of a route that requires a rope between two belays, as part of a climbing system. Standard climbing ropes are between 50 and 80 metres long, so a pitch is always shorter, between two convenient ledges if possible; longer routes are multi-pitch, requiring the re-use of the rope each time. In free climbing, pitch refers to classification by climbers of the difficulty of ascent on certain climbing routes.
Rock climbing is a sport in which participants climb up, across, or down natural rock formations. The goal is to reach the summit of a formation or the endpoint of a usually pre-defined route without falling. Rock climbing is a physically and mentally demanding sport, one that often tests a climber's strength, endurance, agility and balance along with mental control. Knowledge of proper climbing techniques and the use of specialized climbing equipment is crucial for the safe completion of routes.
Multi-pitch climbing is the ascent of climbing routes with one or more stops at a belay station. Each section of a climb between stops at belay stations is called a pitch. The leader ascends the pitch, placing gear and stopping to anchor themselves to the belay station.
An ascender is a device used for directly ascending a rope, or for facilitating protection with a fixed rope when climbing on very steep mountain terrain.
John Middendorf is a big wall climber and designer of climbing equipment.
A portaledge is a deployable hanging tent system designed for rock climbers who spend multiple days and nights on a big wall climb. An assembled portaledge is a fabric-covered platform surrounded by a metal frame that hangs from a single point and has adjustable suspension straps. A separate cover, called a stormfly, covers the entire system in the event of bad weather.
Rope-solo climbing or rope-soloing is a form of solo climbing, but unlike with free solo climbing, which is also performed alone and with no climbing protection whatsoever, the rope-solo climber uses a complex self-belay device and rope system to protect themselves in the event of a fall.
A Grigri is an assisted braking belay device manufactured by Petzl designed to help secure rock-climbing, rappelling, and rope-acrobatic activities. Its main characteristic is a clutch that assists in braking under a shock load. The success of this device has led to grigri becoming a common name for devices of this type. In 2011 a new version, the Grigri 2, was released to replace the original 1991 model. Petzl released the Grigri+ in 2017, adding safety features to the original design, and 2019 saw the release of an updated version of the device, simply called the Grigri. It is named for the African amulet gris-gris, believed to protect the wearer from evil.
The Nose is one of the original technical climbing routes up El Capitan. Once considered impossible to climb, El Capitan is now the standard for big-wall climbing. It is recognized in the historic climbing text Fifty Classic Climbs of North America and considered a classic around the world.
Alpine climbing is a branch of climbing in which the primary aim is very often to reach the summit of a mountain. In order to do this high rock faces or pinnacles requiring several lengths of climbing rope must be ascended. Often mobile, intermediate climbing protection has to be used in addition to the pitons usually in place on the climbing routes.
Mayan Smith-Gobat is a professional big-wall climber from New Zealand and, as of 2019, held the record for fastest all-female team ascent of El Capitan's The Nose in Yosemite, California at four hours and forty three minutes. Smith-Gobat, along with climbing partner Libby Sauter, completed the climb in October, 2014. Other notable ascents include her 2012 first female ascent (FFA) of Punks in the Gym (5.14a) in the Arapiles climbing region of Australia, and the first all female Half Dome/El Cap link up in Yosemite in 2013.