Mountaineering is the sport of mountain climbing. While some scholars identify mountaineering-related activities as climbing (rock and ice) and trekking up mountains, others are also adding backpacking, hiking, skiing, via Ferrata and wilderness activities, and still, others state that mountaineering activities also include indoor climbing, sport climbing, and bouldering. However, to most of the scholars, the term mountaineering is understood as climbing (which now refers to adventure climbing or sports climbing) and trekking (hill walking in ‘exotic’ places). Hiking in the mountains can also be a simple form of mountaineering when it involves scrambling, or short stretches of the more basic grades of rock climbing, as well as crossing glaciers.

While mountaineering began as attempts to reach the highest point of unclimbed big mountains, the sport has branched into specializations that address different aspects of the mountain and consists of three areas: rock-craft, snow-craft, and skiing depending on whether the route is chosen are over rock, snow or ice. All require experience, athletic ability, and technical knowledge to maintain safety.