10 Rock Climbing Games


Tired of the usual rock climbing routines you’ve been doing? Well, why not try mixing a few rock climbing games into your regular practice to break the monotony? Not only will this give your mood a big boost, but it will also help improve your rock climbing techniques and skills at the same time. If you’re ready, below is a list of fun and exciting wall climbing games you can play with your climbing buddies.

8 Fun Rock Climbing Games

Keep boredom at bay with this roster of wall climbing games suitable for climbers of all skill levels. So put on those rock climbing shoes, dip those fingers in the chalk bag, and get ready for an awesome time on the wall.

1. Add-Ons

Add-ons are undoubtedly one of the most popular rock climbing games around. For sure, every climber has had the opportunity to play this game at some point in their careers. Aside from being fun, this game is also pretty challenging as you come up with unique routes to get to the top.

How to Play:

  1. The first player starts the game by choosing a starting handhold and makes a single move to another handhold before coming down.
  2. The second player then makes the same first move, creates a second move by moving to third-hand hold, and then comes down.
  3. The third player (or the first player again if there are only two players) climbs up by following the first two moves and adds a third move.

The game continues until the top is reached. If a climber falls or can’t do the move, he or she will be out for that round and can’t add on another move on their next turn.

2. Hot Lava

Hot lava is very similar to another wall climbing game called “Eliminator”. The concept and rules are very much alike, the only difference is that you’ll be marking the climbing holds or “hot lavas” with a regular tape or spare climbing tape. What makes this game interesting is that it helps improve climbers’ problem-solving skills as they try to complete routes with less useful holds.

How to Play:

  1. The first player climbs up a vertical wall or across a horizontal wall.
  2. If the player completes the route, he or she chooses a climbing hold and tapes it off as “hot lava”.
  3. The second player traverses the same wall either by following the same route the first player used or making his or her route. In any case, the second player must not hold, step on, or use in any way the “hot lava”.
  4. If the second player makes it through, he or she chooses another climbing hold to mark as “hot lava”.

The game continues with the third player or the first player again if there are only two climbers. The game should get more and more interesting as the number of “hot lava” increases. The winner would be the last climber to successfully traverse the wall.

3. Lemon / Lime

Lemon/lime is another popular rock climbing game and is also considered one of the best exercises for improving climbing endurance. This is why you’ll see this incorporated in many rock climbing training routines. The game is best played with fellow climbers, but you can play this on your own and treat it as an exercise instead.

How to Play:

  1. Choose a boulder problem with a difficulty level of anywhere between easy and moderately difficult.
  2. Make the first move of the problem, then go back to the start.
  3. From the starting point, make the first two moves of the problem, then go trace your steps backward until you’re back to the first move. Do not drop off the wall.
  4. From the first mark, make the next two moves and then go back one move. Continue this two-steps-forward-and-one-step-back movement until you reach the top. At no point should you come off the wall?
  5. Once you reach the top, reverse the whole process. That is, from the top make the first downclimb move then go back to the top. Then, make the first two downclimb moves and climb back up to the first move, and so on. 

When playing with friends, the winner will be the climber who finishes the routine the fastest so you’ll want to wear your rock climbing watch with a stop timer. If you’re playing by lonesome, then you can time yourself and make it a point to finish the route faster than your previous tries.

4. Boulder Tag


Boulder tag is very much like tag, except it’s played on a wall, hence making it much more enjoyable. Even onlookers will have a grand time watching the players. But aside from being one of the more entertaining wall climbing games, a boulder tag is a great exercise that can help improve climbing footwork and balance.

How to Play:

  1. Climbers spread out all over the wall.
  2. At the “Go!” signal, players traverse the wall and try to tag the other climbers without falling off the wall.
  3. If you get tagged, then you’re out. If you fall off the wall, you’re out. If you push another climber off the wall, you’re out.

5. Forced Falls

Technically, forced falls can’t be considered a game because there’s no winner at the end. However, it is a fun activity and will help you in conquering your fear of heights in rock climbing. Besides, it will help belayers who want to practice catching falls.

How to Play:

  1. Choose a wall you feel comfortable leading.
  2. Talk with your belayer and go over the details of the climb. Refresh yourselves with the different climbing and belaying commands, and check that the belaying device, climbing ropes, and other rock climbing gears are in good working condition.
  3. Start climbing the wall as you normally would. Be sure not to skip any clips.
  4. Your belay partner can shout “Fall!” at any point in your climb. When he or she shouts the command, you must let go of your hold and fall right then and there. No hesitations, no second thoughts. Just fall.

6. Race against Time

The objective of this game is to be able to complete the most number of climbs in a given amount of time. Because of that, this game is a pretty good exercise to help develop speed and coordination. It will also help you with the mental training needed for rock climbing since trains you to remain calm under pressure and make climbing decisions quickly.

How to Play:

  1. Choose several problems or routes. You can choose problems or routes of the same or varying grades of difficulty.
  2. Agree on a time limit. For most climbers, fifteen minutes is usually enough.
  3. The timer is started and the first player starts climbing. After the climber finishes the first route or problem, he or she moves to the second one, then the third, and so on depending on the number of problems or routes. If the climber finishes all the routes or problems and there is still time left, he or she goes back to the first route or problem and starts climbing again.
  4. After the agreed time limit, players count how many routes or problems they climb. The climber who climbed the most routes or problems wins the game.

7. Rock Climbing Twister

Pretty much the same as your regular Twister except that it’s played on a wall. This is best played on walls with colorful climbing holds, and you’re going to need a Twister spinner that you can get from the original game or download as an app on your phone. This game should help improve your balance and coordination, especially when making awkward or tricky maneuvers.

How to Play:

  1. All players climb up a wall and position themselves wherever they please.
  2. A player on the ground spins the Twister spinner and calls out the colors and limbs while players find a hold that matches the color and moves the required limb into place.
  3. The last climber on the wall wins.

8. Pick Up

Pick up is a great game for kids who are learning rock climbing. It will help them improve their coordination, speed, and overall climbing skills.

How to Play:

  1. Choose a wall that is suitable for the kids’ skill level.
  2. Grab some goodies like bags of candies, chips, or small toys and spread them all over the wall. You can hang them using strings or just tape them.
  3. Gather the kids and their parents, siblings, friends, or whoever they’re with at the base of the wall.
  4. At the “Go!” signal, the kids start climbing up the wall and gathering as many toys and goodies as they can. They can toss their goodies to their partner below to keep their hands free. The game ends when there are no more toys and goodies on the wall.

To make the game more challenging, you can impose a rule stating that kids who fall off will be awarded a 5-second penalty, meaning they have to stay on the ground for at least five seconds before they can start climbing again. This is a sure-fire way to help develop stamina and endurance among the young climbers.

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Rock climbing games like the ones above are not only fun, but they can also help you develop different climbing skills and improve your strength and endurance. Some of these wall climbing games also help to develop creative and critical thinking as you are forced to find unique routes and perform various maneuvers to win the game. So be sure to mix these games with your regular climbing program and inject some fun into your training.

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My name is David Hamburg. I am an avid water sports fan who enjoys paddle boarding, surfing, scuba diving, and kite surfing. Anything with a board or chance I can get in the water I love! I am such a big fan I decided to start this website to review all my favorite products and some others. Hope you enjoy!