Clean Climbing

Climbing without leaving traces

Clean climbing is rock climbing using self-placed removable protection instead of fixed bolts. Clean climbing maintains nature immaculate, promotes climbers’ own responsibility and also constitutes one of the last ways to truly experience mountain wilderness. 

Clean climbing (often named «trad climbing») is rock climbing with removable and reusable protection. Clean climbing used to be the normal way of climbing until the invention of bolts gave birth to sport climbing. The word «normal» used here is actually funny because the first clean climbers used unreliable, questionable gear, such that one really had to be bold and fearless to climb, actually far from normality! However, the fast improvement of clean climbing gear including «stoppers» and «cams» led to the popularisation of clean climbing. One of the objectives of clean climbing is to leave as few traces as possible on the rock after climbing. Most importantly, clean climbing is not better or worse than climbing on bolted routes, it is just different. 


Thanks to the modern and reliable gear now available, climbing unbolted routes is now possible for climbers of almost anyaverage level. Clean climbing requires individual responsibility, substantial training and the will to embark oneself on apparently unclimbed rock. Clean climbing maintains nature immaculate, promotes climbers’ own responsibility and also constitutes one the last ways to truly experience mountain wilderness, away from our busy daily life. 


There are still wild spots and cliffs where no human traces are to be found, but such clean climbing routes have become rare. Those spots have to be preserved such that the next generation of climbers can also experience climbing on «untouched» rock. As climbers, and even more as climbers that maintain and established new routes, we have a special responsibility in preserving the character of our crags.  keeping cliffs immaculate. 


keepwild! also promotes the idea that cliffs are more than a playground. Indeed, cliffs constitute a sensitive habitat for many animal and plant species, and as such must be respected by climbers. 


Mountain Wilderness Switzerland stands for a versatile climbing culture in Switzerland, a culture in which all forms of climbing could co-exist in the mountains. We also wish that alpinists act responsibly by respecting the cliffs and hence preserving the habitat they provide to wildlife.