Rock Climbing Etiquette for Beginners
Updated: Mar 3
New to climbing and have no clue on how to comport yourself at a crag or in a climbing gym. Well, look no further. Below is our rock climbing etiquette guide for new climbers and the not-so-new ones who need a refresher.
Don’t (Over)Coach (Don’t Spray Beta)
Everyone gets excited about progress and it can be easy to get a little over excited. We learn new things and figure out ways to overcome obstacles we thought were impassable when we started. It’s an awesome and rewarding experience!
How would you feel if someone took that away from you? What we want to avoid here is telling other climbers how to climb, giving them too many tips, or giving out unwanted advice. If another climber approaches you and asks for help, by all means! This is called “sharing beta” and is one of the most fun parts about the climbing community.
If you find yourself yelling instructions up at beginner climbers, we call this “beta spraying.” You may want to tone it down and let them figure it out for themselves. After all, figuring it out is half the fun!
Keep Your Noises Under Control
Trust me, we get it. When you’re working hard and really crushing it on the wall, sometimes you gotta let out a grunt! There’s a reason tennis has garnered a reputation for its exclamations, exhalations, and calling out.
And just like with beta-spraying, a little-bit is to be expected! A lot-bit is just a little-bit rude.
A lot of times we see pro climbersin videos turning it into a show! And you know what, if you’re crushing 5.15, you probably should grunt a little more than average. For most of us, though in the gym the experience can become frustrating for climbers around you. Give your environment a little thought and try to be considerate of the people around you. A good rule of thumb with the noises is: if you wouldn’t do it outside in front of your neighbors’ house, maybe you shouldn’t do it on the wall.
Similarly, a potty mouth on the wall is almost always inappropriate. You can always find kids running around climbing gyms. Even when you think you’re in the clear, that’s always when you drop the F-bomb, turn around, and see the little kid. Let’s avoid this situation for everyone’s sake.
There is a big difference between being proud of yourself and an ol’ fashioned brag session. Jumping off of a climb and being psyched that you topped it is one thing, but approaching every climber in the vicinity to tell them about it? Yikes… What did your mom tell you about bragging? If your answer is “that it’s awesome”, maybe you should go brag about that to her.
For most of us at the gym, trying our hand on these plastic holds every week, climbing is a pretty insane challenge! We are all for being psyched with you about your climb, just don’t drag it out! So try not to brag too much, or for too long, no matter how proud you are of your achievement. Tell your friends later -this is a place to work together and celebrate each other’s accomplishments. Also,seriously, keep your beta to yourself. That’s rock climbing 101, come on now.
Hogging The Wall
Sharing is caring.
A simple rule to keep in mind at all times is: think about your climb a good few steps away from the wall instead of directly beneath it because someone else probably wants to climb.
It doesn’t matter if you’re eight and waiting to play Street Fighter at an arcade, or 38 and waiting to climb a wall, waiting is never fun. And when you have to wait for someone who can’t make up their mind no their beta or whether or not they want to try, it can feel like forever.
The exciting part of climbing is mastering movements, one after another, and conquering a vertical barrier.