Rock Climbing

Rock Climbing is one of most popular and healthy sports in world. There are several types of climbing mainly classified in top roping and lead climbing. Then in advanced terms, it is divided in Aid Climbing and Free Climbing as both are famous traditional climbing methods. Aid climbing involves the use of climbing gear while free climbing depends on the technical ability, practice, skill, and physical strength and endurance of the climber. During the early days, free climbing was the only method of rock climbing and climbers used equipment only if they feel unable to advance further. However, both types are in practice but after start of indoor climbing, top roping is quite popular and safe comparatively.

Although, Pakistan is endowed with hills and mountain ranges, where one can start learning the art of Rock Climbing as a beginner or can test his / her skills as a professional rock climber; however it is not popular sport at any level.


As mountain climbing has always involved climbing over rocks and up cliffs therefore Rock Climbing history is traced back to mountaineering itself. Some old Chinese watercolor paintings, dating back to 400 BC, illustrate men climbing mountains, however safely it can be determined in late 19th. Century.

Rock climbing has been going on for as long as people have wanted to go up mountains.

In early day's European climbers from Germany and Great Britain seriously did climbing with a passion, however in 1920's, rock climbing, as a part of mountaineering started gaining popularity in the United States.

In 1950's Rock Climbing became more popular and started getting its independent identity. As an independent sport, Rock Climbing started developing in technique and grading system for technical difficulties, although the grading formula and system varies from country to country and may vary from person to person.

In 60's & 70's, the United States was the leader in rock climbing and the climbers were keen to develop climbing techniques. With popularity of the sport, climbers chose to do harder free routes and harder individual moves, while in the 1980s, the trend changed to short but technically difficult climbs. This change also introduced fixed protections instead of traditional placement of protection.

Being a vital time in the history of Rock Climbing, this new type of climbing became known as Sport Climbing and was widely accepted in the climbing circles. Developing into a sport, new safety gear invented to ensure the safety and after the introduction of indoor walls, rock climbing techniques are being practiced without venturing into the hostile terrain outside, however still climbing experience in wilderness, enjoying the nature is still alluring. Sport climbing changed the history of rock climbing and made indoor climbing inevitable. However, the trend of sport climbing got more popularity in Europe and compared to the United States.

Rock Climbing in Pakistan

History has taught us much about rock climbing. To this day climbing is gaining popularity and people from all over the world are becoming obsessed with this wonderful sport we call climbing. However as other outdoor activities and adventure sports Rock Climbing is not popular in Pakistan. There is NO history of Rock Climbing in Pakistan as there is not much material to document, however introduced by ACP but organized more actively by AFP; Rock Climbing is alive in Pakistan, though at beginner's level.

Adventure Organizations in Pakistan

Alpine Club of Pakistan (ACP) & Adventure Foundation Pakistan (AFP)

Although there are many reasons that Rock Climbing did not get popularity in Pakistan, however few individuals, ACP and AFP introduced the adventure activities and made efforts to promote adventure sports in the country. ACP has organized a Rock Climbing competition about one and half decade ago, while AFP offers basic and intensive courses on regular basis. There are few private clubs working in various cities and organize several activities every year, however the most popular activity is camping and trekking, with a very small portion of Rock Climbing.

Rock Climbing Sites

Although Pakistan is blessed with several hilly areas and high mountain ranges, unfortunately Rock Climbing remained a neglected sport in the country. There was some activity in Margallas and around Islamabad, besides some advance activity in Passu, in upper Hunza Valley but for training courses only. There was some activity in lower Swat region and near Quetta in Baluchistan.

The Adventure Club has dedicatedly made efforts to promote the activity and to make reconnaissance trips in various parts of the country. The Club has distinction to explore several interesting rock faces in Chenab Rocks near Chiniot and Chenab Nagar, which is in a close approach for the people from Lahore, Faisalabad and Sargodha.

At present, Margalla Hills are the best venue for Rock Climbing for year round activity. In last couple of years, six climbing sites has been developed and equipped with chain anchors and bolts for lead routes. Jasmine Corner, Music Lounge, Beetle's Nest, Old Saidpur, Legacy and Shahdarra Den are notable for various climbing grades, scenic surroundings and good weather conditions. For details and guidance, please feel free to contact the Club.

Artificial Climbing Wall

There is no climbing wall available for public use in a gymnasium; however few private entities have facility for fun or beginners. Once the facility of artificial indoor or outdoor will be available in Pakistan, it will help promote activity as well produce good quality climbers.