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 How to Get Started Rock Climbing: A Complete Beginner’s Guide

ctive rock climbers.

Over 4.6 million people are active rock climbers. And for good reason too. This exciting, challenging sport has loads of health benefits. You can enjoy them whether you’re climbing competitively or recreationally.

But what if you’ve never set foot in a rock climbing gym? If you’re wondering how to get started with rock climbing, look no further. Here’s exactly what you need to know.

Know Your Gear

When you first start rock climbing, you’ll have four main pieces of gear. These are your belay, your harness, your shoes, and your chalk bag. These usually come with your day pass at a gym.

When you go climbing outside, it’s important to have high-quality gear. Rock climbing is a lot safer than it used to be, but still, about 30 people die rock climbing annually.

Your belay is a small metal device that attaches to your harness and the rope. The belay goes with the person on the ground (the person belaying). If you’re climbing, the rope should be tied directly to your harness.

The belay acts as a brake if you fall. The series of pullies make it so the other person can hold your weight no problem.

When you go to a rock climbing gym the first time, you will have to use an auto-belay. Yet, you may be able to climb with someone who has a belay certificate.

That’s why rock climbing is a great way to make friends—it’s really hard to go alone.

The second part is your harness. This attaches to the rope and catches you if you fall. It should sit just above your hips and be snug—but not tight—around your thighs.

When you get shoes, you may want to estimate a size or two above your usual shoe size. That’s because rock climbing shoes are specifically designed to be tight. They help you get a better grip that way, but it can be a bit uncomfortable for beginner climbers.

Finally, the chalk bag helps you keep your hands from sweating, so you get better grips on your holds. The chalk bag will attach straight to your harness, so it’s easy to get to.

Know Some Terms

Rock climbing is full of odd jargon, but you only need to know a few terms to get started.

Bouldering is climbing smaller walls without a rope. They’re more designed to help you practice technique.

The belayer is the person attached to the rope who isn’t climbing. They’re there to make sure you don’t get hurt when you fall. (You’re supposed to fall. If you’re not falling, you’re not pushing yourself.)

An auto belay is a device that acts like a belayer. It lets people climb alone if they don’t have someone to belay them.

You’ll notice different climbs are labeled with different difficulties. For a full list of explanations, check out our article here.

Now You Know How to Get Started For Rockclimbing

And that’s it! You know you’re basic terms and you’re basic gear, so you’re ready to start climbing!

If you were wondering how to get started rock climbing, now you know! Start at a local gym and make friends who enjoy the sport. Take classes, but most importantly, practice, practice, practice.

Rock climbing is an amazing, challenging, sport. It’s one that takes time and dedication to improve on.

Don’t feel like you’re not making progress. Instead, enjoy your time on the wall and know each route helps you get a little better.

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