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What is Mountaneering?

What is the difference between rockclimbing and mountaineering? Are these not a same thing?

:) One of the most frequent questions.

Rockclimbing and mountaineering.
Actually, for many people who are for the first time got fascinated by the splendour of the mountains, these two conceptions mean the same thing - climbing up the mountain.

In reality, although mountaineering and rockclimbing not long ago indeed existed inseparably with each other, at the moment the rockclimbing became into the totally different sport activity, which has nothing to do with the mountains. In other words rockclimbing just as it is for today means quite independent sport, which is more close to gymnastic than to mountain climbing. As a sport object in rockclimbing we normally take specially equipped wall or "rockclimbing route" which is at average not high as 10-15 meters, bolted and cleared from any dangerous objects, completely safe. The goal in the sportive rockclimbing is working at the technical skills for resolving different complicated moves which are necessary for climbing the rockclimbing route.

The word Rockclimbing combines some different activities: 

  • The classic Rockclimbing.
    Climbing the routes lead up on the natural rocks.
  • Sportive artificial wall rockclimbing.
    Climbing the specially equipped surfaces, made from plywood or plastic, more or less imitating the rock.
  • Bouldering.
    Most likely, it is the most sportive kind of rockclimbing. It is climbing the short but overcomplicated climbing routes, normally not higher than 5-6 meters.

Many people practice rockclimbing just as fitness, for keeping themselves in the convenient physical form. There is no age limit for rockclimbing, children can begin to climb at the age of 5-6 years.  


Mountaineering or Mountain climbing it is quite wide conception, which includes climbing rocks, climbing ice, physical and psychologic preparation, many necessary special skills etc. It would not be correct even to call it sport - it is more way of life - active, adventurous, demanding from you to keep yourself in the proper physical form and vigour, ready to new interesting travels and climbs. The goal in mountaineering - climbing the top of the mountain. Depending on the route category, ascent can be technically easy, not complicated with any serious obstacles, and possible for totally unprepared participants (Kilimanjaro, Elbrus, Monblan), but also it can by complicated with different difficulties: vertical rocks, glaciers and crevasses, deep snow and avalanche danger, lack of oxygen - for climbing such mountains the previous climbing experience is essential and the climber has to prepare himself very seriously.

 In contrast to sportive rockclimbing, mountaineering is confrontation with mighty element, which can be successfully accomplished only by concentration of all the physical and mental qualities.

 Risk level and physical loads in mountain climbing are much higher than in rockclimbing. The fully comprehension and responsibility are vitally important. It is why for climbing mountains there is an age requirement: not younger than 20 years old.

Text — Alexey Trubachev, founder of the MCS AlexClimb mountaineering and climbing school.

Our Principles

AlexClimb Rule #1 - Safety First

From the very beginning of our activity, here nearly 16 years, the first Principle of work of School of mountaineering and rock-climbing of MCS AlexClimb is the Safety Priority. On the basis of this Principle all process of training is based, all programs and rounds are developed and carried out only within this main principle. We consider that at professional approach to development of programs, at personal discipline and correctly put motivation - occupations by mountaineering and rock-climbing are COMPLETELY safe. And from the return - all troubles and accidents in our sport come from nonprofessionalism, from ignorance or neglect by elementary standards of safety, from irrational motivation, from revaluation of own forces and opportunities. All these prerequisites we COMPLETELY EXCLUDE in our work - ours Rock-climbing, Ice climbing and Mountaineering are based on one Principle - the Safety Priority. In rock-climbing, mountaineering and ice climbing, the Priority of Safety of MCS AlexClimb-is your personal security and comfort irrespective of, than we are engaged - we train muscles and we work technology of the movement in the sports hall and on the rock climbing wall, we make the way through snowstorm to top or we relax on golden sand of the Caribbean beach after hot day of trainings on rocks. The Safety priority - the main credo of School of mountaineering and rock-climbing of MCS AlexClimb.

AlexClimb Rule #2 - Leave No Trace

Closely interacting with Nature, working with the active programs in mountains, woods, lakes and rivers, we perfectly understand the importance of carefull and respectfull bahavior towards the Nature, for its resources. From the very beginning of our outdoor-activity we adopted rules of  Leave No Trace technique - the standard of behavior of the person accepted in all the civilized world in relation to environment and especially - to the wild nature. After all on the relation of people to the nature near which they exist, itself can draw dalekoidushchy conclusions on the relation of these people to... Where and as we didn't travel - we don't reserve any garbage, we try to reduce whenever possible our influence on environment to a minimum. We clear earlier zagryazyonny tourist parking of the left garbage, we take out and we take out to utilization places that to us other people left there. We consider that only thus, at personal individual consciousness of each citizen, each tourist, climber or autotraveller, we will be able to keep the nature surrounding us in its state, natural, suitable for life, - in it pledge of the healthy future for ourselves and our children.

AlexClimb Rule #3 - Sober Concious

The position of AlexClimb Mountain and rockclimbing School regarding healthy lifestyle is quite clear - we consider that only sober consciousness is capable to fill sincere emotions,  to sympathize, to enjoy life in all its variety. Bright various enjoyable life is possible only on condition of keeping the absolute sobriety and purity of consciousness. Any way of obscuring our perception of reality is intended to do harm to our consciousness and bring harm to our physical health, to replace the true values by false ones, to destroy us physically - to turn us into flabby, weak, senseless, gray herd with empty hazy eyes. We don't force anybody to our point of view, everyone has a God's gift of making his own choice and to destroy himself if that is what he wants... But in AlexCilimb Mountain Climbing School we accept quite certain and very simple set of rules: neither alcohol, nor drugs.