Rock climbing is an activity in which participants climb up, down or across natural rock formations or artificial rock walls. The goal is to reach the summit of a formation or the endpoint of a usually pre-defined route without falling. Due to the length and extended endurance required and because accidents are likely to happen on descent than ascent. It is very rare for a climber to downclimb, especially on the larger multiple pitches, professional Rock climbing competitions have the objectives of either completing the route in the quickest possible time or attaining the farthest point on an increasingly difficult route. Scrambling, another activity involving the scaling of hills and similar formations, is similar to rock climbing, however, rock climbing is generally differentiated by its sustained use of hands to support the climbers weight as well as to provide balance. Rock climbing is a physically and mentally demanding sport, one that often tests a climbers strength, endurance, agility and it can be a dangerous activity and knowledge of proper climbing techniques and usage of specialized climbing equipment is crucial for the safe completion of routes. Because of the range and variety of rock formations around the world. Paintings dating from 200 BC show Chinese men rock climbing China woop woop, in early America, the cliff-dwelling Anasazi in the 12th century were thought to be excellent climbers. Early European climbers used rock climbing techniques as a required to reach the summit in their mountaineering exploits. In the 1880s, European rock climbing become an independent pursuit outside of mountain climbing, Rock climbing evolved gradually from an alpine necessity to a distinct athletic activity. However, climbing techniques, equipment and ethical considerations have evolved steadily, today, free climbing, climbing using holds made entirely of natural rock while using gear solely for protection and not for upward movement, is the most popular form of the sport. Free climbing has since divided into several sub-styles of climbing dependent on belay configuration. Over time, grading systems have also created in order to compare more accurately the relative difficulties of the rock climbs. In How to Rock Climb, John Long notes that for moderately skilled climbers simply getting to the top of a route is not enough, in rock climbing, style refers to the method of ascending the cliff. There are three styles of climbing, on-sight, flash, and redpoint. To on-sight a route is to ascend the wall without aid or any foreknowledge and it is considered the way to climb with the most style. Flashing is similar to on-sighting, except that the climber has previous information about the route including talking about the beta with other climbers, redpointing means to make a free ascent of the route after having first tried it. Free climbing is typically divided into styles that differ from one another depending on the choice of equipment used
Image: Tom Frost Robbins ventures up 1961
A rock climber
Climbing in Germany, circa 1965. Note the lack of intermediate protection points and the potentially unsafe tie-in method, which demonstrate the maxim of the day: "The leader must not fall."
A young girl rock climbing in Pennsylvania with the required safety precautions.