How to Rock Climb: A Beginner’s Guide

Can you make it to the top of the rock? Rock climbing is a great way to stay in shape and explore new places.

Rock climbing is accessible regardless of age, experience level, or physical ability. From bouldering to trad climbing, kids' programs to competitions, there's something to love about rock climbing for everyone. 

Some people are intimidated by learning how to rock climb because it sounds complicated. This article shows you that it's not only easy and safe but also tons of fun. Read on to learn more!


Why Rock Climbing Is a Great Sport 

Rock climbing is a sport and fitness activity enjoyed by people of all ages and abilities. It's a great way to get some exercise, have fun, or just spend time outdoors.

Rock climbing is one of the best ways to work out your arms and core muscles. Rock climbers also have to use their leg muscles for balance as they climb up the wall or face of the rock. It's a full-body workout!

It also has great mental benefits: it can help you overcome fears and challenges while feeling like you are achieving something simultaneously.

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How Do I Get Into Rock Climbing?

The best way to get into rock climbing for beginners is to find a good teacher. An experienced rock climber is the best way to get a quick start in learning to rock climb.

Pure Exploration's Adventure Guide Program Instructors are people who are passionate about rock climbing and wish to share this with others. They undergo rigorous training to learn how to teach safety and technique for all different types of rock climbing.

After you've got your feet under you with a rock climbing course or program, you're ready to experience the exciting sport of rock climbing more independently!

If you want to get outdoors, look for a local rock climbing or bouldering club near you. They likely have people willing to go out climbing with you, teach you some new skills, or even loan you gear! 


Gear You'll Need for Your First Rock Climb

The gear you need for your first rock climb depends on what type of rock climbing you will do. For example, bouldering equipment is different from top-roping kits.

Rock climbing attire is also essential for your first climb. Clothing that fits well and is comfortable will make your experience much more enjoyable. You'll avoid chafing and blisters, too!

Essential rock climbing gear includes:

  • Shoes: climbing shoes or approach shoes that have rubber soles or a softer material to prevent you from slipping when your feet are sweaty or you are using chalk

  • Climb harness

  • A crash pad: these are mainly used in bouldering, where you typically do not wear a harness

  • A helmet is recommended

  • Sunglasses: if you climb outdoors

  • Climbing chalk

How to Rock Climb A Beginners Guide


Different Types of Rock Climbing

Rock climbing is a diverse sport. There are difficulty levels for everyone and different approaches to rock climbing.


1. Bouldering

Bouldering has become very popular in recent years. This is a form of free-climbing, which means you generally do not use a harness.

Generally, bouldering is lower to the ground and forces the climber to take challenging routes to get to the top of the boulder. This includes horizontal movements, jumps, and even climbing under overhanging rocks. 


2. Trad Climbing

This is the climbing you often see in movies. The climb leader will place removable pitons and anchors in the rock, and the last person up the route will remove them.


3. Sport Climbing

Sport climbing is similar to trad climbing. However, the anchors are permanently attached to the rock, leaving routes open for anyone to use. 


4. Top-Rope Climbing

You typically find this type of rock climbing in climbing gyms. A belay line is attached to the top of the rope, with a belayer controlling the slack at the bottom.

The climber climbs to the top while the belayer ensures the rope is kept tight in case they fall. Top-rope climbing can also be found in many outdoor spots.


Rock Climbing Safety and Etiquette 

Rock climbing is a challenging sport requiring preparation and awareness. Knowing the rules around etiquette and safety before heading to the climbing gym or outdoor club is crucial.

Some best practices include:

  • Don't climb when it's wet or icy outside

  • Always climb with a partner in case anything happens

  • Be aware of your surroundings

  • Try not to use chalk on the ground or other people's gear because it can be slippery for others and make the holds harder to grab

  • Always wear a helmet if you're going bouldering or top roping

It also helps to learn the lingo. Each discipline of rock climbing has jargon that rock climbers use to communicate—such as a belayer telling their climber, "Belay on!"

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How to Get Better at Rock Climbing

The first step to learning how to get good at rock climbing is to work on your physical fitness. Climbing is a full-body workout, so hit the gym to ensure your muscles are in top shape. 

The most important thing about getting better at rock climbing is having patience. Learning all the terminology, skills, and techniques takes time. However, it will be worth it in the long run.

There are many rock climbing benefits, but the biggest one is a sense of achievement and pride. Your hard work and patience pay off when you conquer a challenging route!


What's Next?

Even experienced climbers can always benefit from learning from others. As you continue on your rock climbing journey, don't be afraid to brush up your skills or learn a new type of rock climbing on one of Pure Exploration's Adventure Guide Programs.

On these programs that take place on many different locations around the world (Nepal, New Zealand and Patagonia just to name a few), you can even gain industry standard rock climbing certifications and many other outdoor guiding and hiking qualifications. 

So if you're interested in learning how to rock climb or improving your existing skills, we have many qualified and experienced instructors on our programs. Book a consultation or contact us for information on our upcoming Adventure Guide Programs!

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