Why Is Rock Climbing So Expensive

Why Is Rock Climbing So Expensive

Rock climbing is a popular thrill-seekers’ sport. The equipment needed is costly, and the result worth the cost. However, having to devote so much to climb a rock wall can be challenging for many people. You can also do rock climbing outdoors but with little equipment needed (it also allows for some outdoor experience). Climbing outside is less loud and crowded than indoor climbs because your voice or belay partner will not have to compete with the noise from other climbers or an audience in such an enclosed space. Each has its appeal, but the cost of equipment for indoor rock climbing may be higher than that of outdoor rock climbing, depending on what you need.

Sources of Rock Climbing Equipment

If you are having trouble affording rock climbing equipment, you should consider making your own or purchasing used products. Making your rock climbing equipment can be cheaper than a new one, although it may not meet modern standards. If you purchase used gear, you can save money too. However, be aware that buying used climbing gear does not include any guarantees, and the condition may not match what the seller described it to be.

Indoor Rock Climbing and Bouldering Gyms

Different rock climbing and bouldering gyms provide different types of equipment to help them train, such as steel ladders, foam pads, slings to be used for the rope, chalk bags, and more. Different types of climbers prefer different equipment. For example, some climbers prefer to wear a harness and use a rope, while others do not wear any gear but climb with their fingers crossed. Some prefer bouldering, while others prefer to climb with their hands on the rock.


Fees at rock climbing gyms are usually based on an annual membership or a monthly membership. If you are an annual member of a sports center, you will have to pay fees depending on your chosen sport. This fee ranges from $20 to $100. When you visit a rock climbing gym, you will need to buy and bring your shoes and chalk bags.

Indoor Rock Climbing Equipment

Climbers use rock gym climbing equipment to climb and wear whenever they want. It is different from the equipment that you use when climbing outdoors. For example, a rock gym uses steel ladders, which can be more comfortable than using ropes and mats while climbing outdoors. Rock gym climbers also use slings to clip their harnesses and use chalk bags to show off their abilities (e.g., a red chalk bag means you are good at rock climbing).

Rock Climbing Gym Classes

Rock gym climbing classes are an effective way to learn essential rope skills, such as tying knots. These classes can be one-time or lasting for a few weeks. There are also rock gym climbing courses where students can attend a weekend camp to learn different techniques. These accreditations include Basic Rock Climbing Courses and Intermediate Rock Climbing Courses. Costs vary depending on the location. However, it ranges from $50 to $300 per person.

Rock Climbing Gym Equipment on Sale or Rental

On average, rock climbing gyms will have different types of equipment for sale on their websites. Some of these items are used climbing gear, which means other people may have used them. You can also rent some of the climbing equipment from these rock climbing gyms. The rent ranges from a few dollars to $50 per day or $150 per month. Typical rental gear includes helmets, harnesses, chalk bags, and shoes.

Some of the first indoor climbing gyms in the United States were commercial spaces like warehouses or warehouse-sized retail stores converted to indoor climbing facilities. Some typical examples of this type are Brooklyn Boulders (Brooklyn), Stone Summit (Atlanta), The Base Training Center (Chicago), and Movement Climbing + Fitness (Houston).

Rock Climbing Gym Visits

When you do not want to attend a rock gym class, you can visit the gym independently. There are many rock climbing gyms located throughout the US. However, some of them may not be accessible to people living in rural areas. In addition, some of these gyms require an entrance fee, which ranges from $10 to $35.

What Are the Prices of Rock Climbing Equipment?

Climbing rope

Climbing rope prices vary. The average price is $20 to $45 for a 100-foot rope. The cost of the climbing rope depends on the construction and the type of material used in making it. For example, nylon is cheaper than Kevlar, and a nylon rope that is braided instead of twisted will cost you less.


The price of a quickdraw is between $3 and $15. You can buy the draws in bulk for lower prices or buy them individually for higher prices. The cost of a pull-up bar varies. It could be steel or aluminum, and you will have to pay more for it if it is made out of metal than from plastic. The cost of a pull-up bar that is metal is between $20 and $80. The price difference is due to the quality of materials and the sturdiness of the bar.

Chalk bag

The price range for chalk bags is between $10 and $30. The bags can be canvas or leather, with leather costing more than a canvas because it lasts longer and looks better. The price of chalk bags depends on the material that is used in making them.

Climbing shoes

The price for climbing shoes varies from $80 to $280. Leather and canvas models are available, and leather models cost more than canvas models. The higher cost of the leather pair is because they last longer, go with a lot better with clothes, and hold up to a more significant amount of punishment than canvas shoes do.

Belay device

Belay devices are used in rock climbing. They are used with the harness for belaying, which means to put up a climber or climber in a safety system. The prices of Belay devices can vary between $20 and $170. Price ranges are determined by the Belay device that is used. Some models come with additional features, such as slings or friction slivers, that will increase their cost.


Headlamps are a necessity for rock climbing, from beginner steps to advanced climbers. The average price for a headlamp is between $10 and $150. However, the prices vary due to the shape, features, and quality of construction.


Rock climbers often wear a helmet. The average price is between $30 and $100. Helmets vary in quality, style, and the amount of protection it offers. The prices change according to the style, size, brand, and features. Helmets are designed for safety but must fit comfortably on the head.


Rock climbers use poles to climb up cliff walls or as handholds to perform various moves when climbing. The average price is between $10 and $100. Prices will vary according to the type of pole, its quality, style, and overall design.


Rock climbers use harnesses to prevent severe injuries if a climber falls and needs to be prevented from falling further. The average price is between $15 and $65; prices are affected by the style, brand, and overall quality. While this is not a necessary item for all beginner climbers, many find them valuable as they progress in their ability to climb.

Grip Tape

Rock climbers use grip tape to help them hold onto the rocks and walls that they climb on. The average price of grip tape is between $5 and $20; prices are affected by the quality, style, brand, and overall design. Most grip tape is found in packs of four at around $15 each or in individual sizes. The biggest issue with grip tape comes from the adhesive used to attach it to the rock face. Additionally, climbers have also experienced difficulties with the adhesive peeling away over time with some brands. However, grip Tape is easy to buy and use; high-quality models can last a long time due to their longevity and effectiveness.

Rock Climbing Chalk

Climbers use rock climbing chalk to improve their grip on the rock face. The average price of chalk is between $5 and $20. Prices are affected by brand, quality, and quantity (size of container). Chalk is applied with a sponge or hands. It is one item that you can substitute when needing to cut costs; powdered rosin can also do the trick in many instances or with different types of climbing.

Rope Clips

Rock climbers use rope clips to attach the rope to their harness. The average price of rope clips is between $10 and $40. Rope clips are available in various sizes and shapes, affecting the cost you pay for them. When buying rope clips, two points to consider are the materials used in making them, such as nylon or stainless steel, and how long they last. Clips made of stainless steel will be a little more expensive than those made out of nylon.


Rock climbers sometimes use handrails for support when climbing. Unfortunately, the average price of a handrail is between $25 and $100. Handrails are available in steel, aluminum, and wooden; the latter three materials are more expensive than steel. When purchasing a handrail, make sure that it is made of metal and is designed to hold up to the weight of a person’s body when they climb on it.

Crash Pad

Rock climbers use a crash pad to protect themselves when they fall; the pads are made of foam. The average price of a crash pad is between $30 and $150. The cost is affected by brand, quality, and quantity (size of square footage).

Aside from the climbing gears, climbers can use some other items for usage. Examples of these are:

Rope Bag

Rock climbers use a rope bag to carry their rope, which is used with the harness for belaying, or in some cases, to carry the rope. The average price of a rope bag is between $10 and $40. Prices will vary depending on the material it is made of (e.g., leather or canvas) and its shape (e.g., rectangle or square).

Water Container

Rock climbers use a water container to carry and drink water. The average price of a water container is between $10 and $40. Water containers can vary in shape, size, and design. Some are cylindrically shaped, while others come with more elaborate designs, affecting the costs you pay for them. Examples of shapes include cylinder, square, cylindrical 3D shape, rectangle, and tetrahedron.


Rock climbers sometimes use bags to carry their supplies. The average price of a bag is between $5 and $100. However, prices can vary depending on the material it is made of (e.g., nylon, canvas, or leather) and shape (e.g., rectangle, square, or cylindrical). You can use bags to carry both gear and water containers.


Climbers use a pencil to mark the route on the wall. The average price of a pencil is between $5 and $20. However, prices will vary depending on their shape, size, and quality.


Rock climbers sometimes use a screwdriver for fixing their gear or some other purpose. The average price is between $10 and $40; this will depend on its quality, material, and shape (e.g., Phillips head vs. flat head).

Potassium permanganate solution

Rock climbers often use the KPS solution for disinfecting their ropes before using them on a new route. Unfortunately, the average price of KPS is between $2 and $10. KPS is not harmful to humans but should be handled with care due to its toxic qualities.


Rock climbers sometimes use wipes for cleaning their hands and bodies before climbing (e.g., chalk marks). The average price of a wipe is between $2 and $10. However, prices will vary depending on their size, brand, quality, and quantity (e.g., single or multiple packs).

First-aid supplies

Climbers sometimes use first aid supplies for injuries, such as blisters or sprains. The average price of first aid supplies is between $5 and $20. However, prices will vary depending on their brand, size, quality, and quantity (e.g., single or multiple packs).


Climbers use a whistle as an emergency device to call for help in case of an accident. The average price of a whistle is between $5 and $20. However, prices will vary depending on its brand, size, quality, and quantity (e.g., single or multiple packs).

Rope Saw

Climbers use rope saws for cutting their rope when they need to shorten its length. The average price of rope saws is between $30 and $100. The costs depend on the material used to make them (e.g., steel or plastic) and their size (e.g., single or multiple pieces).

There are plenty more rock climbing accessories, but these are the basic ones. Climbers can also get a belay membership for a discount on outdoor gear and climbing gear.

Factors That Cause Rock Climbing To Be Costly

Some factors contribute to the high costs of rock climbing. These include, among other things, the following:

  • Extra equipment: Rock climbers who practice climbing need to purchase extra equipment. For example, a climber needs to purchase a harness to secure her rope around her waist. In addition, a climber often needs to purchase extra ropes for belaying (one rope for each hand).
  • Dangerous activities: Rock climbing is an extreme sport and can be very dangerous. Therefore, rock climbers often end up using a lot of equipment for their safety. Some examples of these are ropes for belaying, harnesses, helmets, and boots.
  • Location of activity: Rock climbing requires you to search for different locations with cliffs or rocks suitable for climbing; therefore, you can end up spending money on traveling from one location to another.
  • More dangerous than other similar extreme sports: Rock climbing is more dangerous than other similar sports. These include, among others, even more, dangerous examples such as free soloing and base jumping. In addition, rock climbing often happens in remote areas, which requires you to purchase more gear for trekking and camping.
  • Training required: Rock climbers need training before they can start practicing the sport; therefore, they need to participate in different coaching activities with their instructors.
  • The difficulty of the activity: Rock climbing requires climbing skills, which are more complex than other similar sports. Therefore, it is necessary to brush up on these skills through special training.
  • Durability: Climbing gear is less durable than other similar equipment; therefore, it is vital to buy new equipment for an upcoming climb when the old gear breaks down.
  • Personal preference: Different climbers have different preferences when it comes to gear; they may buy different helmets or boots because they like them more than others. Moreover, some climbers buy different climbing ropes and ropes saws.
  • Restriction: Rock climbing requires you to obtain special permits for mounting it on public land. In addition, you must secure permission from the owner of the land if you want to mount it on private property. The cost of permits differs from one place to another, depending on the location and the reason for remounting.
  • Transportation: Climbers must travel to an appropriate area for rock climbing. The cost of this may vary, depending on the distance traveled.


Rock climbing is not an activity for everyone. Furthermore, the cost of learning rock climbing is high. Therefore, rock climbers should consider their financial situation when deciding whether or not rock climbing is the right option for them.

In addition to the price of the equipment alone, you will need to pay for membership in the organization that empowers you to climb. An example of such an organization in the USA is USA Climbing (USAC). In addition, if your state prohibits cliff climbing without proper preparation, you might need to take additional training courses for certification.

Some climbing sites also charge a small fee for entries and parking. These sites may also charge a fee for mountain guides, which help you find the best route and provide instructions to climbing teams.

In addition, some climbers find it necessary to purchase additional equipment to reduce the risk of injury. These extra pieces of equipment include first aid kits, helmets, and harnesses.

Climbers do not climb every weekend because they like climbing; instead, they climb because it is their passion. Therefore, some climbers do not have enough time to climb because they have other jobs. For this reason, you need to consider the time that you have to go climbing.

Some people start rock climbing because they feel the need for adventure and freedom. In addition, they also use rock climbing as a way to build their physical strength and mental health. Therefore, you should consider how active you are before starting rock climbing.

Thus, if you decide to start rock climbing, consider the cost of the equipment and membership in an organization. In addition, keep in mind that it is a skill you can only get better at through training.