Rock climbing looks hard. It looks scary. And it is. But people do it, and you should too! It can be intimidating to start a new hobby, especially a hobby that might be dangerous…you have to enter into a new community and hope you are accepted. Rock climbing is no different; there is a community of climbers ranging from sponsored professionals to weekend climbers to beginners (pictured right).

With any hobby involving physical activity, you can expect a learning curve. You will be terrible your first time up on the wall, because your muscles will fail, your form will be poor, and your nerves will get the best of you. Don’t get discouraged. Nobody is born a great climber (except those damn mountain goats). So here are some ways for us non-mountain goat folk to begin our journey to become a rock climber: 

Rain or shine, indoor walls will be there for you when you need them. 

Find a local climbing gym If any of your friends climb, chances are, they would love to climb with you. They may even be able to buddy-pass you into a gym for free to give it a try. If you don’t have any climbing friends, go to a local gym anyway. You will immediately make a few friends…unless you are weird..then you’ll make TONS of friends!

Get stronger You’ll want to get stronger. The first few times you climb, you will get pumped QUICK! Keep at it. At home or at the gym: do some bar hangs and pull ups. Climb fences and trees. Climb the social ladder. All that good strength training for upper back and forearm muscles.

As you get stronger, you will last longer on the wall and you will be able to do way sexier moves.

This can be you after 3 sets of 4 pull-ups per day for one week! Wow! 

You know you want to climb it.

Go outside Climbing outside is important to developing and maintaining a passion for the sport. The gym is great for honing skills, training for strength and flexibility, and meeting people…but climbing outdoors is why climbers climb. 

Check out Mountain Project to find some outdoor routes near you!

Get Yer Own Gear, Ya Mooch Own it. It feels great to have your own stuff, and if you spend money on it, it will motivate you to get out as much as possible.

Nobody will expect you to have everything you need within your first month, or year, or even several years of climbing. But buying your own shoes, chalk-bag, and harness will make it easier and cheaper on you to go to the gym and more welcome on others’ outdoor trips. Plus, who wants to rent someone else’s sweaty shoes at a climbing gym?


Climbing is a thrilling, intense workout, no matter the style. 

Have fun Find something you like and have fun with it! There are lots of different types or climbing and styles of climbs, so explore them all and find out what suits you.

Rock climbing is a niche sport, and as long as you are going out and having fun and not ruining other rock climbers’ time, they will be excited to welcome you to the community.

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