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Climbing without moving, how do you say that? Running without moving on a treadmil would be running in place, but climbing on a sort of treadmill would be climbing in place? Is that an idiom, or there's no set idiom for this?

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"Running in place" means making running motions without moving forward, rather than on a treadmill. In British English the expression is "running on the spot". When you are on a treadmill you "run", you don't "run in place".

That's a fairly normal thing to do. I can't imagine how one would make climbing motions up a wall without climbing. I've found a few "climbing treadmills", but just as with regular treadmills, you don't "climb in place" on them, you just "climb".

So there is no idiom for this as a literal activity. Perhaps you want to use this as a metaphor "climbing the business ladder without getting any higher". I think you just need to say "climbing without moving". Perhaps "climbing in place" would be understood as an analogy.

I feel like I'm "climbing in place" at XYZ corp. My job title changes, but I don't get any more responsibility or better pay.

But as a metaphor, "running in place" or "running on the spot" is better.

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If you actually go up, which I believe is what you mean, then you could say 'ascending' (like in a lift/elevator for instance). This can also be applied for non-physical 'going up', e.g. 'ascending to a higher spiritual state'.

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  • It appears the OP does not mean ascending, but rather being on a climbing wall that shifts as you climb it, thus keeping you in place.
    – Flater
    Dec 7, 2023 at 21:52
  • What do you mean 'appears'? OP does mention a treadmill but to me that looks like it's for comparision with a running treadmill. @Sayaman perhaps you could clear this up :)
    – paddotk
    Dec 8, 2023 at 9:38
  • If you're that aware of what the OP has asked, then I don't see how you expected the given answer to actually be applicable to the question.
    – Flater
    Dec 8, 2023 at 20:50

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