Alpine climbing

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Alpine climbing on the north face of the Eiger

Alpine climbing is a sub-form of climbing in which reaching a mountain peak is often the primary goal of an ascent. As a rule, several pitches of high rock walls or pillars have to be overcome. Often, additional mobile intermediate securing devices are placed in addition to the hooks that are sometimes present in climbing routes .

Alpine tours are free (hooks, belay devices , slings are only used for securing, but not for moving), technical (all aids are used for moving), clean (all safety devices are attached and removed again during the walk) and free- Committed solo (without safety). If a route cannot be climbed within a day, it is called a big wall . Ice climbing is also part of alpine climbing.

Since the climbers are completely or partially on their own depending on the accessibility and extent of the routes in alpine ventures, careful route planning and selection as well as knowledge of stand construction , laying mobile safety equipment , abseiling and rescue techniques are required. Even if alpine climbing is mostly free climbing , it may be necessary to use technical climbing in order not to lose unnecessary time in places for which the climber cannot find a freely climbable solution and thus endanger the rope team .

In the 1980s, alpine sport climbing developed as a form of alpine climbing, triggered primarily by better equipment and increasing performance, especially in sport climbing . In alpine sport climbing, attempts are made to keep pushing the performance limit higher and higher, even on multi-pitch alpine routes.


Two-person rope team

The lead climber secures the second climber from the stand

The lead climber is entering the route and possibly utilizes existing hooks to the rope hung thereon Express sets mount and / or he brings during the inspection of the rope length (additional) between fuses through mobile locking means (for example, clamping devices or loops ) on. At the end of each pitch, the lead climber builds a stand . This, in turn, can be done both at existing securing points (hooks) as well as at mobile securing devices. Then the second climber, secured by the lead climber from above, climbs to the stand and removes the material previously attached by the climber as an intermediate safety device. From the standpoint, the second climber either climbs forward (“rollover climbing”) or takes over the safety of the lead climber again.

With rollover climbing, the rope team progresses a little faster, otherwise the roles of belayer and climber have to be swapped at the stand. However, this method assumes that both climbers are up to the difficulties of the route in the lead climb.

Three-person rope team

When climbing multi-pitch routes with a three-person rope team, two half ropes are almost always used. The lead climber is tied into both half ropes, the two following climbers are each tied into a half rope.

The lead climber climbs the pitch, secured by one of the two followers. At the end of the pitch he builds a stand and now secures both second climbers at the same time, who, usually offset vertically, climb to the stand and there one of the two takes over the safety of the lead climber again.


After reaching the exit of the route or the summit, the rope team descends on (hiking) paths back down to their starting point or abseils down the route. In some areas, so-called "Abseilpisten" are set up, on which off Route Climbed abseil is. This is especially useful if abseiling down the route would endanger other climbers, for example because of the increased risk of falling rocks .


Equipment used in climbing

The equipment used in alpine climbing differs in part from that used in sport climbing . In order to reduce the risk of rope breakage , twin or half ropes are often used. In addition, a helmet is almost always worn in alpine terrain, unlike sport climbing, where this is often neglected. Mobile belay devices such as Friends , Camalots , clamping wedges and slings are used to secure routes that are not or not sufficiently secured . Sometimes additional hooks are tapped during the ascent . Portaledges or bivouac sacks are used for routes where you have to spend the night in the wall or on the mountain . Often, however, bivouac sacks are also carried if no overnight stay is planned on the mountain. On the one hand, in order not to be defenseless in the event of a sudden fall in the weather , on the other hand, to be prepared if the tour takes longer than planned.


Many alpine routes are insufficiently or not at all equipped with rock hooks . Therefore, additional (mobile) safety devices must be laid or attached during the inspection. This includes clamping devices and tape slings as well as normal hooks struck during the inspection .

Particularly in the case of historically significant routes, there are controversies regarding the rehabilitation and the subsequent attachment of additional hooks.


Due to the alpine terrain, there are more dangers in alpine climbing than in sport climbing in the climbing garden .

  • Due to the greater exposure and the possibility of having a rope party in front of you, rockfall is much more likely. Animals such as chamois and ibex or changes in temperature can also trigger rock falls and avalanches .
  • Alpine climbers are more exposed to sudden changes in weather and temperature (triggered by thunderstorms, for example) due to the length of their activities
  • In addition, it is made more difficult that rescuing from large walls (for example in the event of injuries or sudden weather changes) is usually more difficult than in climbing gardens

See also

Individual evidence

  1. Pit Schubert about route renovations on, accessed on March 14, 2010
  2. Article about “Übersanierung” on ( Memento of the original from November 29, 2009 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was automatically inserted and not yet checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. , accessed March 14, 2010 @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot /