Sport climbing is a [type of rock climbing](https://www.masterclass.com/articles/types-of-climbing-guide) that utilizes permanent anchors and pitons drilled into a rock face, also called a crag. Sport climbers attach themselves to these anchors using quickdraws, which consist of two carabiners connected by a textile sling called a dogbone. Climbers use the quickdraws for safety and for belaying (the act of using a safety rope or a system of safety ropes).\n\nSport climbing differs from traditional climbing (or trad climbing) because in sport climbing the anchors are permanent, whereas trad climbers affix anchors on their ascent and remove them on their way back down. While both styles of climbing involve clipping into anchors as you make progress, sport climbing spares climbers the need to attach their own gear.\n\nSport climbing is also different from bouldering, in which people ascend single boulders (using routes called boulder problems) without ropes, although it’s common to place crash pads beneath the boulder. Sport routes can be long and complicated, requiring patience and endurance; meanwhile, bouldering relies on rapid bursts of immense physical strength during both the ascent and the descent, since the absence of a rope means boulderers do not have the option to rappel down.\n\nSport climbing is an Olympic sport as of the 2021 Summer Olympic Games (originally scheduled for 2020), expected to take place in Tokyo, Japan. The competition will be overseen by the International Olympic Committee, with consultation from the International Federation of Sport Climbing. In affirmation of the broader climbing community, bouldering and speed climbing will also be featured as new sports at the Summer Olympics.\nA typical sport climb features either a solo climber or a tandem pair that are tied in together (connected by a safety rope). Here are the basic steps for upward progress:\n\n- The solo climber or, in a pair, the person making the lead climb ascends a crag while carrying climbing rope. (This makes a sport climb different from top roping, a climb in which a rope is already hanging from the top of the rock face.) \n- When the lead climber reaches their first anchor, they clip in with a piece of gear called a quickdraw, which provides protection in case they (or their partner) falls off the crag.\n- The lead climber then continues upward until they reach the next anchor or piton, where they can then clip in. \n- A second climber would then unclip from the lower anchor and continue ascending. A solo sport climber can be clipped into multiple anchors, provided their rope is long enough to keep ascending.\n\nA single-pitch sport climb involves ascending and descending one single rock face. In multi-pitch sport climbing, a lead climber climbs until they reach the end of one pitch. They then top belay their partner (to assist using a safety rope) to get them to the same point, at which point the pair tackles their next pitch. At this juncture, they may also choose to trade off between lead climbing and second climbing, also sharing duties as the belayer.\n\nTo safely and successfully sport climb, you will need several key pieces of gear, including: \n\n- __Climbing shoes__: Good climbing shoes help you grip the rock face as you climb. Choose shoes that fit snugly and neutral, moderate, or aggressive shoes depending on the difficulty of the rock face you’re climbing.\n- __Climbing helmet__: Climbing helmets are essential safety equipment.\n- __Climbing rope__: Climbing rope that is 9.5 mm to 9.8 mm is ideal. \n- __Climbing harness__: Choose a harness that fits you properly and comfortably.\n- __Belay device with locking carabiner__: A belay device is essential to managing rope slack and tension.\n- __Quickdraws__: Quickdraws are two connected carabiners that allow you to attach your rope to anchors, protecting you as you climb.\n- __Optional gear__: Climbing chalk and chalk bag, guidebooks and topographical maps, belay gloves and belay glasses, and a rope bag.\n\nUse these tips to make your sport climbing experience safe and enjoyable.\n\n1. __Start inside__. Many people try sport climbing for the first time at an indoor climbing area before they try to climb outdoors. Once you’ve refined your techniques in climbing and rappelling (a method of descending) at the climbing gym, you can move on to outdoor climbing where you must contend with unpredictable weather and shallow handholds or challenging overhangs that necessitate difficult moves.\n2. __Research your route__. Before launching into outdoor sport climbing, consult guidebooks, topographical maps, and climbing blogs to learn more about sport climbing routes and strategies. Befriending members of the climbing community can also yield valuable information about sport climbs in your area.\n3. __Practice with top roping__. Ascending a rock face under your own power can be difficult at first. You can build up your technique using a top rope to support your body weight. If you fall, the top rope will catch you and you can try again on challenging sections of wall. Top roping is often part of the curriculum in beginner climbing courses designed to cover the basics. \n4. __Know your limits__. Even the greatest rock climbers did not start out climbing iconic big walls such as Yosemite National Park’s El Capitan or Half Dome, or the famous formations in Colorado’s Garden of the Gods. They refined their climbing technique on easy crags and indoor climbing walls and slowly built up their abilities.\n5. __Respect nature__. Outdoor sport climbs are at the mercy of Mother Nature. Weather can ruin even the best-laid plans. Be mindful that your most important task is not summiting but rather coming home safely. If rain, snow, wind, or cold make that too difficult, make it an easy decision to turn around.\nClimbing is a high-impact activity with an elevated risk of serious injury. Practice, proper guidance, and extensive safety precautions are essential when attempting a climbing pursuit. This article is for educational and informational purposes only, and is not a substitute for professional instruction or guidance.\nGet the [MasterClass Annual Membership](https://www.masterclass.com) for exclusive access to video lessons taught by the world’s best, including Joe Holder, Serena Williams, Donna Farhi, Jimmy Chin, and more.\nIn sport climbing, rock climbers make use of permanent anchors drilled into rock faces.