Solo climbing

Solo climbing, or soloing, is a style of climbing in which the climber climbs alone, without the assistance of another person belaying.[1] It is generally done on higher walls than bouldering.

There are several ways to climb solo:

  • Roped solo climbing is climbing alone with a rope backup in case of fall. Roped soloing is especially useful in rescue situations.[2] There are two ways to rope solo:
    • Lead solo, in which the climber uses a self-locking device which is used to arrest a fall. One end of the rope may be anchored below the climber with the coils of rope in a bag on the climber's back, or for single-pitch climbs the device may be secured at ground level, and the climber tied into the end of the rope.
    • Top rope solo, in which the climber uses a self-locking device and climbs as if top roping. If weight is put on the rope during the climb, it is a form of aided climbing.
  • Free solo climbing (known in the UK as soloing) is perhaps the best-known solo technique. The term describes climbing without the use of any rope or other forms of protection, wherein a fall could result in serious injury or death.
    • Deep-water soloing, or psicobloc, is a subtype of free solo climbing performed on cliffs overhanging water so that in case of a fall, the climber lands safely in the water.[3]
    • Deep net solo is a subtype of free solo climbing in which the climber has a net below them and climbs without a rope. It is a newer version of deep water soloing that can be done indoors.[4]


  1. ^ Long, John; Sponholz, Hai-Van K. (1999). The High Lonesome: Epic Solo Climbing Stories. Adventure Series: Falcon guide. Globe Pequot. p. 1. ISBN 9781560448587.
  2. ^ Tyson, Andy; Loomis, Molly (2006). Climbing Self-rescue: Improvising Solutions for Serious Situations. Mountaineers Outdoor Expert Series. The Mountaineers Books. p. 120. ISBN 9781594851582.
  3. ^ Paul Mason (2010). Rock Climbing: The World's Hottest Climbing Locations and Techniques. Passport to World Sports Series. Capstone. p. 26. ISBN 9781429655002.
  4. ^ Allhoff, Fritz; Florine, Hans (2011). Schmid, Stephen E. (ed.). Climbing—Philosophy for Everyone: Because It's There. Philosophy for Everyone. 37. John Wiley & Sons. p. 160. ISBN 9781444341461.