How to find your next go-to climbing partner
One of the biggest cruxes in climbing can be finding a climbing partner or two to climb with regularly. We've got some tips to help you make new friends and lifelong climbing partners.
Head to the bouldering cave
If you are excited to try climbing, but don’t have a partner yet, the bouldering wall is the great place to start. The routes are shorter, allowing you to concentrate on a smaller number of moves.
But most importantly, hanging out in the bouldering cave is an easy way to be on the lookout for other climbers just like you. If you are unsure how to approach a group of boulderers, try getting in line to start working a popular problem near them. Usually, other climbers are happy to share what they may have figured out about a particular problem and help you solve the puzzle.
You can also try asking for recommendations for climbing or just what they did over the weekend. This method is especially easy when you have a gym routine – you will start to see others on the same schedule and can start to chat with other regulars.
“On a great day, climbing is an opportunity for us to be challenged and have fun, and our relationship as climbing partners I think helps to put those two pieces together,”
Look for a group of three
If roped climbing is more your style, look for a group with an odd number of climbers and ask if they would like another belayer. There is always a chance that the odd man out would be happy to get climbing sooner. It helps if you offer to belay rather than asking them to belay you. It’s all in the approach.
Be an awesome belayer
Chance opportunities to climb with new partners are more likely to turn into long-term partnerships if you're a solid belayer. Be positive and encouraging to the climber--you want your new potential partner to feel comfortable climbing with you. Watch the climber while belaying, and be conscious of the amount of slack in the rope. A good belay is the basis for a likely belay in the future.
“The goal is to feel confident when climbing with someone. If you don’t feel comfortable taking a fall or coming off the wall with your partner then they aren’t really a good partner for you.”
We're here to help!
Partner Shout-Outs: If you’ve showed up to the gym and your partner bailed at the last minute, we’ve got partner finder boards to help you find a replacement on the fly. Failing that, our desk staff are always happy to ask around and see if anyone else is looking for a partner. What better way to get involved in a new community than making new belay buds?
Climbing Classes: All lot of our members have told us that they met several climbing partners by going to one of our classes or clinics. And, fun fact: students who climb together outside of class, tend to progress faster and benefit the most!
Go to our website, select your gym, and check out our upcoming calendar schedule to see all our upcoming classes.
“We met through a class at the gym! Once the class finished, many of us were inspired to keep up the momentum and kept climbing together.”
These are just a few of our favorite ways to meet people, but we have other programs and events too! Check to see if your gym has a Trade-a-Belay board on Facebook and post that you're looking for a partner. Or come to our next Partner Project, where one of our friendly staff members facilitates matching you up with other climbers with similar goals to you.
Written by Amy Verret. Amy has done just everything from teaching classes to working behind the scenes while dreaming up her next big climbing adventure. She currently works for our Membership Department.