Rock Climbing Outdoors: From Gym To Outdoors


Some rock climbers love to play it safe and stick to indoor climbing. However, the majority of rock climbing enthusiasts plan to, sooner or later, switch to the world of outdoor rock climbing. In this article, we’ll go through all the things you have to know before you start rock climbing outdoors to stay safe and sound all the way.

1. Finding A Proper Guide

This is a crucial step from many perspectives because it will make a transition period much easier and you’ll feel way better and more prepared if you know there is someone you can count on to help you when needed. 

2. Borrowing Or Purchasing Gear?

Should you borrow or purchase climbing gear is one of the main dilemmas among rock climbing newbies, and the answer to it is quite simple – if you can, buy. Avoid borrowing. It may seem like it will save you a bit of money, but if you want your equipment to fully work and if you want to be completely safe, it is better to know what you work with. Some gear parts can have so-called microcracks, while the outer atmosphere can affect the quality of harnesses, ropes, and slings. Avoid borrowing anything except climbing chalk and, in some cases, climbing shoes and clothes.

If you absolutely must borrow something, feel free to ask your instructor. And this is how you can get all the information about the gear you’ll need for your first climb.

3. What To Wear

What makes rock climbing outdoors so good is, among many different perks and pluses, the fact that you’ll be doing it most likely under the open sky. This also means that you should pay attention to your clothing choices. If you plan to climb on a hot summer day, then shorts and a t-shirt will do just fine. However, if it all happens during autumn or spring, make sure you have enough layers available to keep you warm even if the temperature drops along the way.

4. Choosing The Right Climbing Type

There are a few different options for beginners when it comes to rock climbing, and it is up to you and your preference to find the one that suits you and inspires you the best. 


Although not the easiest rock-climbing type, bouldering is probably the safest one and the best one to learn basics. What makes it so good for beginners is the fact that it is done a relatively close to the ground so you won’t have to be afraid, which is also why you won’t need as much equipment as you would with other climbing types.

Bouldering does require a lot of patience, strength, and thinking, so it is essential to have more experienced climbers to serve as spotters while you’re on the rock. 


This type of climbing is the most similar one to indoor climbing for beginners. It is done by moving up towards an anchor. It is similar but not the same as indoor climbing, because, unlike indoor where the handholds and footholds are marked, during top-rope rock climbing you’ll be using natural and unmarked holds for your hands and feet. Don’t be surprised if you find it difficult to master easier outdoor routes than the ones indoor. And don’t give up.

Sport Climbing

Sport climbing is the hardest one of these three, and it is not recommended for beginners because it takes a lot of strength and effort along with a climbing routine for a successful climb, but it is the last step to take before you try lead climbing. You’ll need quickdraws for clipping in along with rope for clipping and a top rope. 

There are many more climbing types and you can read about them in our rock climbing types guide.

5. Rock Climbing Etiquette

Same like camping, surfing, or any other activity, there are some unwritten rules you should follow:

  • Respect other climbers.
  • Take all your trash with you.
  • Park and camp where it is allowed.
  • Follow established routes.
  • Keep your gear on durable surfaces.
  • Clean up chalk and tick marks.
  • Keep the noise to a minimum.
  • Respect closures.
  • Be an upstander, not a bystander.



Here are the answers to the most frequently asked questions about rock climbing:

Q: Is outdoor rock climbing safe?


Any form of climbing is dangerous if you don’t take it seriously enough, and rock climbing outdoors is not an exception. However, if you do take it seriously and pay attention to all the details, then the chance of something bad happening is extremely slim.

Q: How do I start rock climbing outdoors?


The good starting point is any gym with indoor climbing routes. As you practice and talk to other climbers, they’ll give you great suggestions. You could also ask your instructor, or take advantage of Google and find the one you’d like to try and conquer. 

Q: What do you need to climb outdoors?


For different types of rock climbing you’ll be needing different equipment. That’s why the best option is to ask a certified instructor what kind of gear do you need for a specific type of rock climbing.

Q: How does outdoor climbing work?


Outdoor rock climbing is similar to indoor rock climbing, with one small but important difference – footholds and handholds most often are natural and not marked, so it will be harder to climb. Climbing is done mostly by your legs and arms with the goal of reaching a certain point.

Q: What should I wear for outdoor rock climbing?


During summer, anything you feel comfortable in will work just fine. When the temperature drops, don’t forget to layer up. Also, if the weather is clear you should always wear some kind of cap to protect your head from the sun rays.

Globo Surf Overview

Switching from indoor to outdoor rock climbing is not as easy as it may seem and it requires a bit of patience, but indoor climbing is by far the best starting point for rock climbing outdoors, and with this article, the transition shouldn’t be pretty simple and more enjoyable.

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Globo Surf
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!