Learn to Rock Climb

Tribal Boundaries - Rock climbing City of Rocks

Learn To Climb With Five Accessible Climbing Resources

So, you want to learn how to climb? Well, now is the time to do it. Really.

Climbing can be an intimidating sport to get into, but it’s more accessible than ever now. The sport has grown increasingly popular over the past 5-10 years. There are so many climbing resources available that you should be able to find the guidance and support to easily make your introduction with the sport.

This article covers a five good ways to enter the sport of rock climbing, including climbing gyms, mentors and guiding services.

  1. Climbing Gyms

Climbing gyms are a great place to start if you’re new to the sport. Most often, climbing gyms will have personal trainers or introduction classes to help educate you on the basics of climbing. There are commonly women specific classes or classes catered to a specific type of climbing (i.e. bouldering, traditional, etc.). Climbing gyms are also a great place to find a climbing community – getting to know other climbers and information on the local crags can help further your climbing education.

Rock Climbing Cathedral Peak

Topping out a 5.9 variation on Cathedral Peak in Tuolumne Meadows


  1. Friends Who Also Want to Learn

Another great way to learn how to climb is do it with a friend who is also new to the sport. A partner in crime will help with motivation and solidarity in learning to climb. Having a training partner help with accountability to keep you climbing through the learning curve. Plus, it’s just more fun to learn with someone and learn through mistakes together (and laugh through them!).

  1. Find A Mentor

Finding a climbing mentor is possibly the best way to learn to rock climb. A more experienced climber that can take you under their wing will not only guide you through the basics, but also pass along their wisdom (this is invaluable). This will help advance your climbing and skills faster by learning from their experience and putting it into practice outside.

Personally, this was my route into climbing. I learned to climb with my husband who has been climbing for about 15 years – he’s climbed everything from the big walls in Yosemite to world class bouldering to high alpine mountaineering routes. This helped advance my skills, experience and technique much faster than on my own.

  1. Hire A Guide

Guiding services are a great way to get outdoor experience rock climbing. Guides have all the gear and are there to keep you safe. A good guiding service will help find the climbing objective, route and lead the trip. Even if you are familiar with rock climbing, guides can often help show you new terrain or routes that may otherwise be more challenging to find or lead.

Climbing Elephant Rock at City of Rocks ID

Dave climbing a classic route up Elephant Rock at City of Rocks, ID


  1. Read a Book

Reading a climbing book is the most basic concept, but there really isn’t any substitute for self-learning. There are so many good resources in print and online that this is the most accessible and cost-friendly method to learn about climbing.

There are books about every facet of the sport – climbing techniques, alpine climbing, gear management, etc. Also, climbing guide books will help you discover routes and destinations for taking your new sport outside (there’s usually a good climbing guide book for any well-known crag). For online resources, I usually start at for climbing route resources.


Feature photo credit: brother-in-law David Bauer, follow him on Instagram

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  • Reply
    February 4, 2016 at 7:18 pm

    Great article!

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