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Tips for transitioning from gym to outdoors climbing?

Any tips for transitioning from gym bouldering to outdoor climbing/bouldering for the first time?

3 Replies

find good friends/mentors with outdoor experience! chat up friendly people at the gym and make it known that you're interested in tagging along on a trip or two.

expect the first few trips to be overwhelming and that you'll get a lot less actual climbing done than at the gym. bring snacks and water. get bitten by bugs. enjoy sitting on a log watching your friends flail for an hour. have a nice hike to a wall that's too wet to climb on. wear long pants.

I would make sure that you have a guide book or an app that shows you where the climbs are. Start with the easiest problems, and don't do any highballs (problems over 20ft) until you get used to topping-out and falling on crashpads. Do some traverses. Make sure you have a great crashpad! 

Like what @rabbitfeet said, go outdoors and enjoy being in nature and in good company. You won't be able to send that many problems on your first day. But, you'll get stronger, your skin toughens up, and your technique/footwork will start improving. More than anything, climbing outdoors trains your mental game, which benefits any kind of climbing. 

                                My blog is a place for all part-time climbers.


Hey @hnw7n ,

Exciting times for sure.  I love both the gym climbing and outdoor climbing for different reasons.

I find that I climb with a bit more courage in the gym for some reason and typically on harder graded routes. Dont be discouraged if you are a 5.11 climber indoors but outdoors you are struggling on what would normally be your warm up. The main thing is to have fun and enjoy the new adventure.

P.S. I am a huge fan of The Mountain Project App for beta or just tips on getting to the crag. 

Good luck!!

At REI, we believe time outside is fundamental to a life well lived.