Climbing Etiquette

Some days you just want to climb at a local crag that’s close and convenient. While this is usually the easiest and most accessible option, these spots can become overcrowded and tense. With long lines for moderate routes and confusion over who’s climbing where, a good day can quickly turn unpleasant. To ease the tension, you can follow these few simple rules and help turn a crowded, noisy climbing spot into a harmonious and friendly environment.

Leave Spot at Home

Dogs are great companions for many outdoor activities. They love hikes, bike rides, backpacking, and swimming. When it comes to climbing, however, dogs may hinder the experience for the owner and others. At a crowded climbing area multiple dogs can get in the way of ropes, bark and distract others, and further crowd the area. So try to find a sitter for spot, or if you must take him/her, use a leash and be respectful.

One Rope, One Climb

Nothing is more frustrating than finally getting a chance to get out and climb a favorite or long-awaited route and finding a rope dangling on it with no one in sight. Setting up a rope to claim a route for later use is inconsiderate and disrespectful to those who are ready to climb it. If you and your friends are using the rope, no problem, take the time you need. Just be sure to clean the route and pull the rope when it’s not being used.

Miscellaneous Noises

Let’s face it, everyone climbs for different reasons. Some climb for the social connection, some for personal achievement, and some for relaxation. Small grunting noises through a crux are understandable, everyone does it. Screaming and cursing your way up a pitch is excessive and distracting, and changes the experience for other climbers. If you like listening to music while you climb, keep the volume down; loud music can disrupt climber and belayer communication. Remember, not everyone shares your tastes, and many others enjoy the solitude offered in wilderness climbing environments.

Be Friendly

It all boils down to a simple philosophy that rings true, not only in climbing, but in many other environments: be courteous and respectful to those around you and your day of climbing will probably be a great one. The climbing community invites many courteous and kind personalities but prepare yourself for those who may not be courteous and kind by setting a good example. Whether or not they follow suit is not up to you, but you can choose to move to a different spot and have a great time climbing. Have fun out there!

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