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Can "mountain climbing" describe the activity of walking up a mountain without any special equipment?

And how about mountaineering?

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    Would Hiking vs Climb a Mountain – answer your question? See in particular this comment. (I think you know climbing can be used to refer to a hands-free climb, it's just that you'll have to clarify anyway if it isn't evident from the context already.) – user3395 Jul 26 '19 at 15:17
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According to britannica.com and the general google definition, mountaineering and mountain climbing mean :

The sport or activity of climbing mountains

So they can describe climbing up a mountain without equipment.

Personally, I think both of those words imply that there's special equipment being used. Mountaineering is also more formal than mountain climbing.

If you want to say someone climbed a normal mountain without equipment, you could use 'hiking'. If this is an extreme case, like someone climbing Everest without equipment, you'd want to specify that there's no climbing gear involved.

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  • Does mountain climbing necessarily involve the use of hands? – Apollyon Jul 26 '19 at 8:23
  • I'm not quite sure what you mean... I think people would assume that someone climbing a mountain without any gear would be using their hands. Could you give us some context to your question? – tryin Jul 26 '19 at 8:53
  • If someone walked up a mountain without using special equipment or hands, could we say he climbed it? – Apollyon Jul 26 '19 at 9:18
  • It wouldn't be incorrect to say so, but if you say 'He climbed a mountain', people will assume he used his hands and/or some equipment. You would have to specify that he climbed it without using his hands if you want them to know that. – tryin Jul 26 '19 at 9:45
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    There's also the possibility of using the verb free-climb. Although it's more often used for cliffs specifically, it's known to mean without (safety) equipment, so it would be understood in context. – Jason Bassford Jul 26 '19 at 13:24

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