Rock Climbing vs Mountain Climbing

Outdoor Federation is supported by its readers. When you purchase through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission. Also, as an Amazon affiliate, we earn from qualifying purchases.

Rock climbing and mountain climbing are two terms that we use interchangeably when it comes to outdoor adventures. On the surface, both may seem to convey the same meaning but if you dig deeper, there is a wide difference between the two!

Their Main Distinction

Let us examine each term individually so you will get a good grasp on their difference. Rock climbing is simply the activity of scaling vertical cliffs with the use of hands and feet. The goal is not necessarily the top; it might be an anchor point indicating the end of your route.

Mountain climbing, or in technical terms, mountaineering is a much more general sport as you need to reach the top or summit using different climbing and hiking methods. In other words, rock climbing is a specific activity that is just a part of the broader sport of mountain climbing.

Their Similarities

In terms of environment, both sports are usually done in mountainous areas. With this, you can also enjoy being immersed in nature. The gears used in rock climbing and mountain climbing are similar in many aspects but the latter has a wider toolset. Clothing, packs, and safety equipment are more or less the same.

Their Differences

Since mountain climbing entails a broader set of activities, you might also need an extra set of tools like mountaineering boots, warm clothing, ice axe, avalanche gear, and crampons.

The same goes for the skill set. Aside from rock climbing, you will also have to be adept in ice climbing, scrambling, snow traveling, and skiing.

The danger involved in mountaineering is far greater than rock climbing. In rock climbing, you only have to worry about falls but for mountaineering, there is the risk of hypothermia, avalanches, and altitude sickness.

What is Best for Me?

Both sports are equally amazing and they all depend on what you want to do. However, these four factors might help you decide:

Accessibility

Rock climbing is more accessible as you can just visit any gym near you. For mountain climbing, you need to set out to the mountains, which are usually more distant. If you have much time to spare, the mountains are perfect for your adventure but if you have limited time, better settle for rock climbing.

Cost

Again, rock climbing is the easy winner because it is much cheaper. You only need to secure the gym pass at a relatively minimal fee while for mountain climbing you have to secure the necessary gears for a safe and successful climb. Since mountain climbing requires more gears, you also have to pay more.

Risk

As discussed previously, mountain climbing involves greater risk because you will be exposed to greater hazards associated with the terrain and weather.

Reward

This is the part that will balance everything out. Although this is subjective, you have to think long hard which of the two sports will be most rewarding and satisfying for yourself.

Final Words

Whether it is rock climbing or mountain climbing, it will not matter as long as you are enjoying every climb. Even if you go solo, with a friend, or a few companions the adventure itself is sure to be worthwhile.

More from author

Related posts

Latest posts

What Is The Best Timing To Go Surf Fish?

What Is The Best Timing To Go Surf Fish? The best time for you to go surf fishing may vary depending on some conditions. You...

Leatherman Wingman vs Wave

Ask any camper or hiker and they’ll tell you the Leatherman is a must-have for any outdoor adventure—or simply to use around the house....

Most Important Muscles for Rock Climbing

Rock climbing exercise works different muscles in your body. The activity requires power to perform explosive movements, balance crossing and moving up rock faces,...
Send this to a friend