What Does it Cost for a Beginner to Start Rock Climbing?

In the hopes of reaching the sky, you may dream to reach it by climbing a 250 foot or higher cliff. Before you start rock climbing, you need to know how much money you are going to have to spend. The prices and descriptions listed ahead will aid in your journey toward the sky.

It will cost a beginner between $500 and $2,000 to start rock climbing after they purchase all of the necessary gear. The cost will vary depending on the type of rock climbing they start doing, as there are many different types, and the cost of the gear they purchase.

Read on to compare the different methods of rock climbing along with the required gear and prices for each!

Indoor Rock Climbing

The first step to finding out how much it is going to cost you to rock climb is figuring out what kind of rock climbing you want to do. There are several different types of rock climbing. For example, there is bouldering, aid climbing, top-roping, sport climbing, trad climbing, and more. Some of these methods are more beginner-friendly than others. Some can be done inside, outside, or both.

Most indoor rock climbing facilities have gear that is included in the price you pay to get in. On average, it will cost between $15-$35 to spend a day in the rock climbing gym, although the exact cost varies depending on the rates of the rock climbing facility. They may charge you for the day pass and the gear.

If you choose to practice in an indoor rock climbing facility, wear comfortable clothes that can stretch. Most gyms rent out shoes.

Sport Climbing

Sport climbing is a safer way to rock climb. It involves having a climbing buddy called a belayer. A rope is attached to the climber, and as they travel up the rocky cliff, the belayer down below manages the rope. Bolts are driven into the rock in several places to ensure the safety of the climbers. The climbers are using their own strength to reach and step on each level of the mountain. if they fall the rope attached to the bolt will hold their weight.

Sport climbing can be done indoors or outdoors. To purchase all the needed gear for sport climbing, it will cost between $500 and $2,000.


The most common method of rock climbing I have seen is top-roping. It is similar to sport climbing. This is when the anchor is already driven into the top of the rock wall, and the climber is able to climb and pull themself up to the top.

Spring-loaded cam, other types of cams, or nuts are used as protection.

Another type of top-roping is top-belayer climbing. In this method, the belayer would be on top of the cliff rather than the bottom.


Bouldering will be a cheaper option for rock climbing. Although this type of climbing won’t take you too high above the ground. Climbers who boulder climb go about 8-15 feet above the ground and keep a boulder pad below in order to brace their fall.

As mentioned before, the bouldering pad is like a thick mattress that braces the fall of boulder climbers. These cost between $160 and $450 on Amazon.

Traditional Climbing

Short for traditional climbing is “trad” climbing. Trad climbing is similar to sport climbing where a climbing buddy is needed. This way of climbing takes practice and will be near impossible for a beginner to figure out on their own. If this is the kind of rock climbing you are wanting to do you may want to get lessons from a professional.

Climbers will need to have forms of protection. Cams or nuts are forms of protection. These will need to be driven into a crack of the wall so you are creating your own bolt in the rock to hold your weight as you climb. Every couple of feet you will have to put a new form of protection into the rock.

A cam is a device that you can insert into the crack of a crag and it will expand within the crack. You can purchase different sizes to bring with you because there will be cracks with different widths.

Here is a video detailing how to use a cam.

On Amazon, there is a cam priced between $189.95 and $230.95.

Nuts are used for a similar purpose as the cam. The nut is a piece of metal attached to a rod. It can be inserted into a crack on the cliff. That way you can safely pull yourself up.

Here is a video detailing how to use Nuts when rock climbing.

Options for trad-climbing and other climbing method lessons are available. The American Alpine Institute has several programs for beginners. For $895, a group can get trained by professionals for 4 days. It is encouraged for the climbers to bring their own gear but rentals are available.

In Idaho Falls there is an indoor rock climbing facility. It costs $18 for an adult, $15.50 for ages 12-17, and $13.00 for youth under 12. It costs $4 for shoes, $3 for a harness, and $2 for a chalk bag. College students with valid IDs qualify for student pricing. (Source)

Here are the gear pieces you will most likely need when you go rock climbing.


Some sports of climbing have certain quickdraws. There are sport quickdraws, traditional quickdraws, and more. There are all-around quick draws that can be used for almost any climbing sport, and it is recommended that new climbers purchase these.

The purpose of a quickdraw is to connect the climber to the bolts in the rock. They usually cost between $11 and $30.

Quickdraws are usually sold singularly or in a bundle of about 6. They are sold on Amazon for between $15 and $20 for a singular quickdraw and $70 and $100 for a pack of 6.


All types of rock climbing will require that you have a harness. The harness wraps around both of your legs and carries your weight. The other gears and tools will strap to this harness, including the rope.

A good quality harness is important. It is recommended that you purchase a durable harness with good reviews. Ask an experienced climber where they purchased their harness and if they have any recommendations.

BetaClimber said that a harness will cost around $55. On steep&cheap, they range from about $42 to $112.

Chalk Bag

You don’t want the rain or slippery rocks to hold you back from rock climbing. Climbers carry chalk with them to rub on their hands so that they can keep a good grip. A chalk bag costs about $25 altogether with chalk included.

The chalk especially comes in handy when your hands get sweaty. Keep it in an easy to access spot, perhaps attached to your harness, so that you easily put your hands in the bag whenever you need to.


The best shoes for mountain climbing are breathable, durable, and flexible. Popular brands include La Sportiva and Black Diamond. REI is a popular brand to purchase climbing gear from. You want your shoes to be well fit to avoid any slipping.

The climbing shoes are between $40 and $150 on steep&cheap. A good quality pair is about $80 according to BetaClimber. (Source)

Most climbers will recommend wearing wool socks to avoid any blisters.


Whatever type of climbing you are looking into, a protective helmet will be needed. You would rather a helmet get cracked on the side of a mountain rather than your skull.

A helmet provides much-needed protection to your head. Although it doesn’t ensure your safety, it is better safe than sorry. Small rocks may pummel down from above, or a bird may attack you when you get too close to its nest!

Helmets are between about $36 and $100 on steep&cheap. There is a variety of climbing helmets for sale on Amazon. They range from about $20 to $150.

Petzel and Black Diamond are known to be some of the best rock climbing helmet brands. (Source)

Belay Device

Belay devices are used as a break in case a climber falls. They cost about $33 to $40 on steep&cheap.

On Amazon, they range between $14 and $40. There is a Black Diamon Women’s helmet on sale for $59.95. It is rated 5 stars by consumers. (Source)


Carabiners are the clips for the rope to go inside. They make it easy to attach or un-attach yourself or a device from your harness for the bolts. On Steep and Cheap a carabiner is around $12.71. On Amazon, they are sold for between $5 and $15.


For any type of rock climbing you will be doing, you will need a rope. These ropes are usually a bright color with a striped pattern. In BetaClimber’s youtube video about rock climbing gear, he recommended buying a rope that is 70 meters long and 10 millimeters thick. He said a good one would be around $200. It can be cheaper if you’re only doing indoor climbing because the rope is shorter. (Source)

On the steep&cheap website, they sell for between $135 and $350.

If you want the cheapest option, you can find some on Amazon as well. There is a rope for sale for $17.99 with a 4.5-star rating.

For outdoor climbing, you will need nuts. One set is about $150 and you will want two, so it will end up costing you $300.

Consider watching the video by Betaclimber. BetaClimber is a climber who talks about climbing on his YouTube channel. He shares a video that talks about all the different climbing gear and the estimated price range for each.

BetaClimbers estimated grand total for the outdoor climbing gear between $1,815 and $2,135. He says that bouldering and sport climbing may be cheaper. Big wall climbing may be more expensive. He also recommends never to buy used gear. You can never trust that it is completely safe to use.

Clothing and Accessories

No matter what kind of rock climbing you are doing, it is important to prepare the right type of clothing. Check the weather that you plan to go rock climbing. It can be windy as you climb, so you will need to bring a jacket with you. However, it may be more comfortable to simply wear a tank top. Women should wear leggings or other stretchy exercise pants. It can be easy to get scratched on the legs so wear pants that can protect your knees.

You don’t want to get light-headed or dizzy while you are rock climbing, so you will want to invest in some snacks and water. Granola bars, jerky, fruit leather, and other easy-to-grab snacks will be great.

Bring water. Plan how long you are going to be out so that you know how much food and water to bring.

Bring your phone and camera if you want to take pictures. You can place a GoPro on your helmet. Be careful not to drop it.

Women may want a headband or bandana to keep their hair out of their eyes. Women should pull their hair back so that it does not get caught in the ropes. Sunglasses with a band that will prevent the from falling down the cliff will be useful as well so that you do not get blinded by the sun.

If you plan to climb where there are no restrooms, you may want to create your own poop kit. This includes a shovel, toilet paper, and hand sanitizer.

Before you decide to spend all your money on new rock climbing gear, consider renting your gear instead of buying it. Figure out if you enjoy the sport enough to invest in it. As you learn, go rock climbing with an experienced guide. It will be worth investing in lessons so that you can have optimal safety, and you could eventually get your money back by teaching others how to rock climb.

Starting a new hobby is exciting, but expensive. Determine a budget before you decide what kind of climbing you want to do. You can start with bouldering and then work your way up to the higher levels of climbing, such as sport climbing. You will become a great climber as you ask for help and keep practicing.

Try out the different types and see what is best. Never go alone. It is best to have a trusted friend who can teach you how to do it correctly. Potentially, you could start your journey for free. Climbers tend to be kind and willing to share their knowledge and teach you.

Recent Posts