Intro to Rock Climbing: 3 Ways to Find Out If Rock Climbing Is Right For You

When you jump into rock climbing, you’ll either be scared to death and love it … or scared to death and hate it. Before you deal with those fears firsthand on the wall, try these 3 introductions to rock climbing first.  Find out if you love the feeling of scrambling, climbing, exposure, and if this is the sport is for you.

I wasn’t always a rock climber.  In fact, for 15 years (from the age of 22 until 37) all I really cared about was being a mom.  

I didn’t crave that adrenaline rush of scaling a rock wall or the stoke you feel after topping out a hard route.

When I was younger, all I wanted was to do was have kids and felt so lucky to get to wake up to their chubby cheeks & smiling faces.  Sure, I still took care of myself during this time–I’d run, lift weights, eat right–but by the time I was done nursing my fifth child, I felt a little antsy.

You see, I lived in San Diego and walking on the beach is about all the nature we had, but we were beginning to go camping more often and I was noticing how happy I was being outdoors (lol, look at how addicted we are to adventure nowadays).

So first, we moved to the beach and I grabbed a surfboard and taught myself to surf.  Then, one day I was scrolling through Groupon looking for Christmas ideas and I see a deal for outdoor rock climbing.

Hmmm, that sounds fun, I thought

I knew nothing about rock climbing–I’d never even been indoor climbing at this point😱

Well, long story short, I bought the Groupon, dragged my husband to the crag with me, and I became instantly hooked.

I loved that it got me outdoors more, that you usually had to hike to the walls, the feeling of satisfaction when I found my next handhold, and the sense of confidence I’d have when I reached the top.

Climbing Galdames, Best Adventure in Northern Spain
Robyn leading in Galdames

I had no idea that three years after my first outdoor rock climbing experience that this sport would be the driving force behind our full-time adventure travel lifestyle (read our story here).

There are a few ways to gradually introduce yourself to rock climbing.  These 3 things will help you figure out right away if climbing is right for you.  

PS if you have specific questions or concerns about getting started with these rock climbing introductions, don’t hesitate to let us know in the comments section below! We’d be happy to answer them!

1. Start With Some Boulder Scrambling

Scrambling in Joshua Tree
Scrambling in Joshua Tree

Scrambling is a good way to see if you like using your hands and feet on the rock, it moves your body in different movement patterns, but mostly, it’s just so fun. I love that scrambling feels so playful and that’s it’s something I can do with my kids.  

Joshua Tree and City of Rocks in Idaho have some incredibly large boulders that you and your kids will love scrambling on and many are right in the campground.  

Does scrambling sound intimidating?  Here’s a YouTube video to teach you the basics.



2. Try a Scramble Hike

How To Thru-Hike The Enchantments In One Day
There are some moderate scrambles and a lot of high steps on the climb to Aasgard Pass (Enchantments Hike)

Scrambling can add even more of a sense of adventure to your hikes.

In our travels, we have found many fun scramble hikes such as the Olomana Trail, Oahu. The U.K. has some of the best scramble hikes we’ve done like Tryfan, Forcan Ridge, Fell’s Ridge and Helvellyn.  We also enjoyed many scramble hikes near Banff and Canmore, Canada.

Most scramble hikes are safe as long as you are maintaining 3 points of contact.  But if you find exposure to rattle your nerves, then stick with boulders that are closer to the ground.

3. Go Rock Climbing in an Indoor Gym

Mesa Rim Indoor Rock Climbing - Intro to Rock Climbing: 3 Ways to Find Out If Rock Climbing Is Right For You

If you have a severe fear of heights, I recommend starting indoors to help you overcome some of that. But keep in mind, when you scramble or even if climb outdoors, you are often much less vertical than when you are indoor climbing.

If you have NEVER rock climbed, check out this YouTube video to learn the basics of climbing.


I hope I’ve inspired you to try new things, because you never know if you don’t try, right?!

Let us know in the comments section below if you have questions or concerns about getting started with these rock climbing introductions! We’d be happy to answer them!

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Intro to Rock Climbing: 3 Ways to Find Out If Rock Climbing Is Right For You