Mountaineering is the professional & amateurish sport of negotiating mountainous terrain of some significance. A gamut of activities are stitched together to give shape to mountaineering activity keeping in the mind various aspects like – safety, technicality and physical attributes.
Mountain climbing would involve negotiating terrain that involves rock and ice and where taking vehicle may not be possible. This activity would involve trekking up hills or mountains, as well as backpacking, day hikes, mountain skiing and even wildlife exploration over undulating region.
Essentially speaking the following activities falls under the umbrella of mountaineering:
Peak Climbing: To ascent & descent the slopes of a significantly high peak where technical, physical and environmental challenges are at extreme.
Glacier Traversing: To negotiate and cross glacier of significant size where technical, physical and environmental challenges are hard and/or extreme.
Crossing High Passes: To negotiate a high pass between two peaks to traverse to the other side of the valley where physical and environmental challenges are hard, and sometime extreme.
Backpacking: To negotiate moderate ascents and descents, usually at lower altitudes, usually with an aim to camp in wilderness. Backpacking is Challenging for beginner mountaineers.
Day Hikes: To hike to hill or a destination that involves lesser arrangements for outdoor survival. This is an activity that would be limited to within daylight hours.
The Rock Sport: To negotiate rock face and imply technical skills to ascend or descend over its surface. Rock sports would involve technical usage of ropes and accessories for Slithering, Jumar, Rappel and Climb.
In Indian Himalayas the sport is simply called Mountaineering. While in Europe the same sport is known as Alpine Climbing (owing the term to Alps Mountains of Europe). The same may be known by another term in South and North America or elsewhere, but Mountaineering is out-and-out sport to work the climbing and descending of hills or mountain.
In India – The Indian Mountaineering Federation is apex body for mountaineering. Internationally, The UIAA or Union Internationale des Associations d'Alpinisme is the world governing body for the same.