A crux in climbing, mountaineering and high mountain touring is the most difficult section of a route, or the place where the greatest danger exists. In sport climbing and bouldering, the most technically challenging point in the climb is also called the crux section.  In describing a climbing route using a topo, cruces (or cruxes) are usually shown with a key symbol.
The grade of a climbing route is based on the technical difficulty of the crux (e.g. 8a (5.13b) in the sport climbing system, or V13 (8B) in the bouldering system), and for traditional climbing routes, an additional grade is used for the risk of personal injury to a climber of a fall at the crux (e.g. the British E-grade system). That means the rest of the route might be considerably easier, however, a route may comprise several cruces of equal difficulty, or simply be a route of a very consistent level of difficulty with no sections that stand out as harder than the rest.
In planning a route it is important to know how far it is before the crux is reached, because cruces (or cruxes),  can only be overcome with sufficient reserves of strength.  Sport climbers have come to use a kneebar to rest before, or immediately after, a crux; they can also continually practice a crux using top roping.
Bouldering is a form of free climbing that is performed on small rock formations or artificial rock walls without the use of ropes or harnesses. While bouldering can be done without any equipment, most climbers use climbing shoes to help secure footholds, chalk to keep their hands dry and to provide a firmer grip, and bouldering mats to prevent injuries from falls. Unlike free solo climbing, which is also performed without ropes, bouldering problems are usually less than six metres (20 ft) tall. Traverses, which are a form of boulder problem, require the climber to climb horizontally from one end to another. Artificial climbing walls allow boulderers to climb indoors in areas without natural boulders. In addition, bouldering competitions take place in both indoor and outdoor settings.
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.
The Yosemite Decimal System (YDS) is a three-part system used for rating the difficulty of walks, hikes, and climbs, primarily used by mountaineers in the United States and Canada. It was first devised by members of the Sierra Club in Southern California in the 1950s as a refinement of earlier systems, particularly those developed in Yosemite Valley, and quickly spread throughout North America.
This glossary of climbing terms is a list of definitions of terms and jargon related to rock climbing and mountaineering. The specific terms used can vary considerably between different English-speaking countries; many of the phrases described here are particular to the United States and the United Kingdom.
Ice climbing is the activity of ascending inclined ice formations. Usually, ice climbing refers to roped and protected climbing of features such as icefalls, frozen waterfalls, and cliffs and rock slabs covered with ice refrozen from flows of water.
Sport climbing is a form of rock climbing that relies on permanent anchors, permanently fixed into the rock for climber protection, in which a rope that is attached to the climber is clipped into the anchors to arrest a fall; it can also involve climbing short distances with a crash pad underneath as protection. This is in contrast to traditional climbing where climbers must place removable protection as they climb. Sport climbing usually involves lead climbing and toproping techniques, but free solo and deep-water solo climbing on sport routes is also sometimes possible.
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.
Realization, also called Biographie, is a circa 35-metre (115 ft) sport climbing route on a limestone cliff on the southern face of Céüse mountain, near Gap and Sigoyer, in France. After it was first climbed in 2001 by American climber Chris Sharma, it became the first rock climb in the world to have a consensus grade of 9a+ (5.15a). It is considered an historic and important route in rock climbing, and one of the most attempted climbs at its grade.
Fair Head or Benmore is a 5-kilometre (3.1 mi) long, 200-metre (660 ft) high, mountain cliff, close to the sea, at the north-eastern corner of County Antrim, Northern Ireland. The cliff's sheer and vertical 100-metre (330 ft) high dolerite rock face is shaped into distinctive vertical columns like organ pipes, which formed 60 million years ago when a sill of igneous rock was injected between horizontal Carboniferous sediments.
In rock climbing, redpointing means to free-climb a route while lead climbing, but only after having practiced the route beforehand, or after having fallen or rested on the rope, on the first attempt. Climbers will try to redpoint a route after having failed to on-sight it, or flash it. Redpointing is sometimes narrowly defined as climbing a route after a failed first attempt.
Free solo climbing, or free soloing, is a form of technical ice or rock climbing where the climbers climb alone without ropes, harnesses or other protective equipment, forcing them to rely entirely on their own individual preparation, strength, and skill. Free soloing is the most dangerous form of climbing, and unlike bouldering, free soloists climb above safe heights, where a fall can very likely be fatal. Though many climbers have attempted free soloing, it is considered "a niche of a niche" reserved for the sport's elite, which has led many practitioners to stardom within both the media and the sport of rock climbing. "Free solo" was originally a term of climber slang, but after the popularity of the Oscar-winning film Free Solo, Merriam-Webster officially added the word to their English dictionary in September 2019.
In the history of rock climbing, the three main sub-disciplines: bouldering, single-pitch climbing, and big wall climbing can trace their origins to late 19th-century Europe. Bouldering started in Fontainebleau, and was advanced by Pierre Allain in the 1930s, and John Gill in the 1950s. Big wall climbing started in the Dolomites, and was spread across the Alps in the 1930s by climbers such as Emilio Comici and Riccardo Cassin, and in the 1950s by Walter Bonatti, before reaching Yosemite where it was led in the 1950s to 1970s by climbers such as Royal Robbins. Single-pitch climbing started pre-1900 in both the Lake District and in Saxony, and by the 1970s had spread widely with climbers such as Ron Fawcett (Britain), Bernd Arnold (Germany), Patrick Berhault (France), Ron Kauk and John Bachar (USA),
Tower Ridge is one of several ridges protruding north east from the summit plateau of Ben Nevis, the highest mountain in the United Kingdom.
A routesetter is a person who designs artificial rock climbing wall routes, or problems. Also known as "setters", these professionals combine technical craft with an artistic representation of real rock climbing moves. They do this with modular resin, polyurethane, polyester, fiberglass, or wood holds or "grips" that mimic real rock features. These routes are used by a rock climber to get to the top of a climbing wall.
In the sport of bouldering, problems are assigned technical grades according to several established systems, which are often distinct from those used in roped climbing. Bouldering grade systems vary widely in use and include the Hueco "V" grades, Fontainebleau technical grades, route colors, Peak District grades, and British technical grades. Historically, the three-level "B" system and even the Yosemite Decimal System were also used.
The region around Fontainebleau in France is particularly famous for its concentrated bouldering areas. French alpine climbers practiced bouldering there since the 19th century. It remains today a prime climbing location. It is the biggest and most developed bouldering area in the world.
Bunda de Fora is a sport climb located in Acephale, Alberta, Canada. At a climbing grade of 9a (5.14d), it is one of the most difficult climbs in North America and one of Canada's hardest sport climbs.
La Dura Dura is a 50-metre (160 ft) sport climbing route on the limestone cliffs at Peramola, a village in Oliana, Spain. The route was bolted and developed by American climber Chris Sharma in 2009 who had almost given up believing he could climb it until a collaboration with Czech climber Adam Ondra led to Ondra climbing the route on 7 February 2013, followed by Sharma on 23 March 2013.
Silence, is a 45-metre (148 ft) severely overhanging sport climbing route in the granite Hanshelleren Cave, in Flatanger, Norway. When it was first climbed by Czech climber Adam Ondra on 3 September 2017, it became the first rock climb in the world to have a proposed climbing grade of 9c (5.15d), and it is an important route in rock climbing history. To complete the route, Ondra undertook specialist physical and mental training to overcome its severely overhanging terrain. As of November 2022, Silence remains unrepeated.
Hubble is a short 10-metre (33 ft) sport climb at the limestone Raven Tor crag in Derbyshire, England. When it was first climbed by English climber Ben Moon on 14 June 1990, it became the first climb in the world to have a consensus 8c+ (5.14c) grade; and the highest grade in the English system at E9 7b.