Old English climban "raise oneself using hands and feet; rise gradually, ascend; make an ascent of" (past tense clamb, past participle clumben, clumbe), from West Germanic *klimban "go up by clinging" (source also of Dutch klimmen, Old High German klimban, German klimmen "to climb").
A strong verb in Old English, weak by 16c. Other Germanic languages long ago dropped the -b. Meaning "to mount as if by climbing" is from mid-14c. Figurative sense of "rise slowly by effort or as if by climbing" is from mid-13c. Related: Climbed; climbing.
early 15c., "one who climbs," agent noun from climb (v.). Botanical meaning "a plant that rises by attaching itself to some support" is from 1630s.
Climbing plants are distinguished as stem-climbers, which like the hop, wind upward around an upright support, and as tendril-climbers, which, like the grape-vine, cling to adjacent objects by slender coiling tendrils. Other plants climb also by means of retrorse bristles or spines, or by means of rootlets. [Century Dictionary]
by 1887, originally ""the more showy branch of mountaineering" according to the author below:
Even though rock climbing be inferior as an art to snowcraft, it must still be practised properly. Let not the seductive charms of rock climbing occupy too large a place in the mind of the young mountaineer to the exclusion of snowcraft, lest he be but preparing for himself in matters athletic a sad old age. [C.T. Dent, "Mountaineering," London, 1892]
The modern sport of rock-climbing emerged c. 1993. Rock-climb (n.) "an ascent of a rock-face," is by 1895. Rock-climb as a verb is by 1934.
"to climb with difficulty using hands and feet," late 14c., possibly frequentative of Middle English climben "to climb" (past tense clamb), or akin to Old Norse klembra "to hook (oneself) on." Related: Clambered; clambering.
1590s, "action of using ladders to scale the walls of a fortified place," from French escalade (16c.) "an assault with ladders on a fortification," from Italian scalata, fem. past participle of scalare "to climb by means of a ladder," from scala "ladder," related to Latin scandere "to climb" (see scan). For initial e-, see e-. Also in early use in English in Spanish form escalada, later corrupted to escalado. As the name of a brand of luxury SUV by Cadillac, from 1999.