rock climbing


If there’s one thing to know about rock climbers, it’s that they’re incredibly devoted to their sport. And when you’ve got a loved one who also rock climbs, it might be difficult to think of an appropriate gift. It can be tough to figure out what to get for loved ones who climb, as a lot of climbing gear is not intuitive for people who don’t do it. Don’t worry, we’ve got your back – this massive guide has 30 incredible gifts for climbers that they can use indoors and outdoors, on lead climbs and boulders.

Overall Best Gifts for Climbers

Climbing Shoes

As the most important climbing tool, a good pair of climbing shoes should last quite a while. This is one of the best gifts for climbers; however, this gift may require a bit of planning and research. Find out what shoe size your friend is before you buy and read the reviews to determine fit.

If you are buying for a beginner, check out the Black Diamond Momentum or the LaSportiva Women’s TranatuLace. For intermediate or advanced climbers, offer to take your loved one out to try on different pairs as they may need a specific type of climbing shoe.

Climbing Harness

If your loved one likes to rope climb, one of the best gifts for climbers is a new harness. As with the climbing shoes, picking a proper harness requires some research. If buying for a beginner, the Petzl Corax harness is a great first choice. Additionally, some beginner harnesses sold as part of a pack, such as the Black Diamond Momentum pack, that come a chalk bag, chalk, and a belay device at a fantastic value

Climbing Gym Pass

Not sure what size shoe or harness your friend would prefer? An especially appreciated gift is a day pass to a nearby climbing gym. Look up a couple in your area, check for climbing deals on Groupon, and consider bundling it with a training lesson too!

Black Diamond ATC Belay Device

A belay device is used to keep the rope taunt and allow safe descent from a large height. This is used by the belayer, who is on the ground, to keep the climber safe on the wall. This Black Diamond Big Air belay device and carabiner is an excellent gift that will keep the climber in your life on the wall (literally).

PrAna Climbing Pants

Known by climbers everywhere, PrAna makes some of the best climbing pants in the market. The PrAna Stretch Zion pants for men and the PrAna Halle pants for women are the most comfortable all-purpose pants around. The pants are tough but are also lightweight and stretch. The climber (and hiker!) in your life will love these pants.

Black Diamond Climbing Helmet

Any climber should invest in a quality helmet to protect themselves, and it’s one of the best climbing gifts to get for your sporty loved ones. Nothing says “I love you” more than getting something that will keep your favorite climber safe, right? A great climbing helmet is lightweight and breathable – Black Diamond has a great selection of colorful and sturdy helmets to choose from.

Cheap Gifts for Rock Climbers (Under $25)

Unicorn Dust Climbing Chalk

Climbing chalk is another essential item for all types of climbers. If you are on a budget, a bag of premium climbing chalk will cost you less than $25, and is one of the most useful climbing gifts you can get. Friction Labs sells a highly reviewed fine chalk called Unicorn Dust.

Chalk Bag

While harnesses and climbing shoes more of less have the same basic shape, chalk bags come in a variety of styles and colors. Consider gifting a colorful chalk bag for the climber in your life to let them express their own unique style while on the rock. Grab a simple Black Diamond Mojo Zip bag or get something cuter and funnier, like this Monkey Chalk Bag.

Climbing Tape

Climbing tape protects your hands while climbing. A serious climber can go through many rolls of tape in a month. you will brighten up any climber’s day with a gift of several rolls of tape. Metolius sells a solid set of cotton based tape.

VariGrip Grip Strength Trainer

A pocket-sized finger strength trainer makes a great small gift for white elephant gift exchanges. We recommend the VariGrip Exerciser as it has adjustable resistance levels.

Alone on the Wall by Alex Honnold

Looking to inspire your rock climbing friends? Send them a copy of Alone on the Wall by Alex Honnold. In the book, Honnold shares his memoir and reflections on his achievements and climbs, including his most recent, groundbreaking free solo climb of El Capitan.

Joshua Tree Climbing Salve

Joshua Tree Climbing Salve is a well known and respected brand among climbers. Give this to your friend to heal their hands without getting rid of their calluses.

Climbing Hold Mug

Make your rock climbing friends smile and struggle for their coffee at the same time with a hilarious and clever gift of a coffee mug with a climbing hold handle. Yep, that’s right, you’ve got to hold it like you would on the wall! Good practice, right?

Climbing Brush

A climbing brush is used to wipe dirt and chalk off of holds to make them easier to grip . Give this to an avid gym climber and we guarantee they will use it every day.

The Push by Tommy Caldwell

Tommy Caldwell is a legend among climbers. Not only was he the first person to climb Yosemite’s iconic Dawn Wall, but he also has a riveting life story involving losing part of a finger, winning various climbing competitions, and even being held hostage by kidnappers in Central Asia. Send The Push, Tommy Caldwell’s autobiography, to a friend you want to inspire.

Climbing Carabiners

Buy any climber some extra carabiners and they will be overjoyed. Keep in mind that these shouldn’t be your typical lightweight aluminum carabiners – you should get locking carabiners designed specifically for high weight loads, such as these Black Diamond Screwgate Carabiners.


A GriGri is a belay device developed by Petzl that auto-locks, preventing accidental rope slippage while belaying. Not only does it make belaying safer, but it’s also easier to use than a traditional belay device. This is an exciting gift that would make any climber happy.

Black Diamond Spot Head Lamp

Sometimes, the best times to be outdoors are in the early morning and late in the afternoon. However, if your loved one plans adventures in non-optimal daylight, it’s critical to bring a lighting source. Needless to say, a head lamp is one of the best gifts for climbers because it’s truly an essential item. Our favorite head lamp is the Black Diamond Spot – it’s lightweight, durable, and isn’t too expensive.

Other Practical Gifts for Climbers


Hangboards are reasonably priced home climbing trainers that can be affixed to any wall or doorframe. Many climbers use these to build strength when they’re not at the rock gym or out in the mountains. Metolius hangboards are a fantastic choice, with several different sizes of finger inlets that are appropriate for climbers of all skill levels.

Climbing Rope

Rope is essential to the serious outdoor climber. If you’re planning to buy a new rope for the climber in your life, check with them first on what size and style they need. The Black Diamond 60m 9.9m climbing rope is a good starting option.

Petzl Quick Draws

Quick draws are tools used to attach your climbing rope to an anchored bolt on the wall or some other form of protection. The Petzl Djinn Axess Quickdraw 6-Pack is a solid option to start building a collection of sturdy quickdraws for lead climbers.

Hydro Flask Water Bottle

Hydration is a very important part of staying healthy while outdoors, as hours in the sun and can really dehydrate you. To keep water ice cold, a Hydro Flask water bottle is the perfect adventure companion. Hydro Flask boasts that its bottles keep water cold for 24 hours and hot for 12 hours…definitely enough for a cold morning or a full day out on the rock.

Osprey Day Pack

Often for outdoor adventures, people need to carry gear, water, snacks, and extra clothing. Having a day pack that feels comfortable and distributes weight evenly is absolutely critical. Osprey day packs are hands down the best and more durable option for day packs – we recommend a size between 18 and 30 liters for daytime adventures.

Patagonia Down Sweater Compressible Jacket

While outdoors in colder temperatures, it can be important to bring some extra layers, especially if you’re going to be at altitude. The Patagonia Down Sweater is our favorite compressible puffer because it’s a sustainably-made, warm, and cozy thermal layer for cold conditions. When paired with a rain jacket, it can keep your adventurer warm even in light snow!

Quick Dry Towel

A towel can come in handy on any hiking trip. From humid, sweaty trails to impromptu swimming sessions, outdoorsy people can always use a towel that’s small and thin enough to carry around in a day pack. Youphoria Outdoors makes an affordable quick-dry microfiber towel that comes in a lot of fun colors and is perfect for shoving in your bag on the way out to the crag.


Don’t underestimate how powerful sun exposure can be on a long day climbing outdoors. One of the most useful gifts for climbers is a pair of high-quality, polarized sunglasses to keep their eyes safe and protected while exposed to the sun. There are tons of polarized sunglasses ranging in style and price available, so you’ll have to choose based on your favorite hiker’s preferences.

Mad Rock Crash Pad

Crash pads are a great gift for boulderers. You can never have too many of these. When buying a crash pad, look for ones with backpack straps for easy carrying. Mad Rock crash pads are our recommendation.

Black Diamond Cams

Cams are tools used in trad climbing, so this is a gift only for the serious climber. A full set of Black Diamond cams can be expensive, but you can buy individual pieces. Ask your gift recipient what sizes they need.

Black Diamond Nut Tool

A climbing nut tool is a gift for the advanced climber. Put simply, a nut tool allows the climber to remove tools embedded in cracks with ease. This is a simple and small gift that any serious climber will be grateful for. Black Diamond’s nut tools are affordable and durable.

Technology Gifts for Climbers

Garmin Watch/GPS Watch

Garmin watches are basically the smartphones for outdoor people. Garmin’s GPS capabilities are some of the best out there, and their Forerunner watches help thousands of runners, hikers, and climbers track mileage around the world. The Garmin Instinct watch does exactly that and was designed specifically for outdoor adventures, and is one of the more innovative gifts for hikers out there.

GoPro Hero Black

GoPro Hero Black is an excellent gift for the avid hiker who wants to document their adventures. Portable, weatherproof, and high-quality, a GoPro will help your favorite outdoor lover capture and relive their favorite moments on the trails again and again.

Whether you’re a climber who is a Houston local or are visiting for a short time, you might be itching to work on your rock climbing skills. While the flat, swampy landscape of Houston doesn’t really lend itself to great outdoor rock climbing spots, there are tons of indoor climbing gyms in Houston to choose from.

On the plus side, rock climbing in Houston is a growing trend that’s affordable and accessible to climbers of all levels. We’ve created this list of the best Houston rock climbing spots; whether you’re into bouldering, top rope, or lead climbing, you’ll be sure to find a place that you love.

Rock Climbing Gyms in Houston

Like we mentioned before, within Houston’s city limits, indoor climbing is really your only option. Luckily, there are some fantastic Houston rock climbing gyms that you can choose from. These 6 gyms are some of the best places to go rock climbing in Houston, offering challenging courses complete with air conditioning and shade from the summer sun.

1. Texas Rock Gym

  • Address: 1526 Campbell Rd, Houston, TX 77055
  • Cost: $20 for a day pass only, $40 for day pass plus full gear rental (harness, shoes, and chalk)

Of all of the places to go climbing in Houston, Texas Rock Gym has it all. It’s close to I-10 in West Houston, meaning it’s pretty easy to access from anywhere in the city. As the first and original rock climbing gym in Houston, Texas Rock Gym has top rope trails, lead climbing, bouldering courses, and strength areas to satisfy any workout need you may have.

You can rent all of the necessary gear you’ll need for climbing at Texas Rock Gym, or use your own. Additionally, they offer classes for beginner to advanced climbers on a variety of different skills and topics.

For Houston locals, Texas Rock Gym offers monthly memberships starting at $60 per month.

2. Stone Moves

  • Address: 6970 Cypress Creek Pkwy, Houston, TX 77069
  • Cost: $14 for a day pass, plus $7 for shoe, harness, and chalk rental

For rock climbing in the northwest side of the city, Stone Moves is a favorite Houston rock climbing gym. With colorful, mural-filled rock walls ranging from beginner-level to advanced, there are tons of opportunities here for all levels of climbers here. Stone Moves has been open since 2004 and is a Houston local business.

Stone Moves offers gear rentals, day passes, and monthly memberships for locals. It also offers lessons for beginner to advanced climbers, as well as kids.

3. InSPIRE Rock

  • Spring Address: 403 E Louetta Rd, Spring, TX 77373
  • Cypress Address: 16730 House & Hahl Rd, Cypress, TX 77433
  • Cost: $16.95 for a day pass, plus $10 for shoes, harness, and chalk

As one of the largest rock climbing gyms in Houston, InSPIRE Rock has tens of thousands of square feet of top rope, lead climbing, and bouldering wall space. The walls range from 32 to 43 feet in height, and are suitable for climbers of all levels. There’s also a training room, classes, and a yoga studio for a well-rounded fitness experience.

InSPIRE Rock has two locations in northern Houston: one in Spring and one in Cypress. Both locations offer day passes, full gear rentals, classes, and monthly memberships for adults and kids.

4. Space City Rock Climbing

  • Address: 201 Hobbs Rd, League City, TX 77573
  • Cost: $10-15 for a day pass, plus $12 for shoes, harness, and chalk

We’ve pretty much covered the areas of Houston…except for the eastern side. Luckily, Space City Rock Climbing is the largest rock gym in Houston’s bay area, and it’s a fantastic place to climb if you’re in the eastern part of the city. They’ve got 5,000 square feet of climbing space that includes top rope, bouldering, and lead climbing.

If you’re only there to boulder, you can get a day pass for just $10. $15 gets you access to the entire facility, and they’ve got gear rentals available for $8 as well if needed. There aren’t any classes available here, but with its affordable rates and monthly memberships, you can practice rock climbing to your heart’s content.

5. Sports59

  • Address: 7115 Clarewood Dr, Houston, TX 77036
  • Cost: $18 for a day pass, plus $10 for gear rental (harness, shoes, and chalk)

Sports59 isn’t just a rock climbing gym – it’s a full-on sports complex complete with an indoor soccer field, yoga studio, and climbing walls. While the facilities here are a bit smaller than the rest, it’s got 3,500 square feet of climbing wall space, and they’ve got routes ranging from 5.7 to 5.12 (beginner-friendly to advanced).

If you’re interested in taking your climbing further, they’ve got monthly memberships, group classes, and gear rentals available.

6. University of Houston Climbing Wall

  • Address: 4500 University Dr, Houston, TX 77204
  • Cost: Free for members and guests of the University of Houston gym

Located in the University of Houston Wellness and Recreation Center, this climbing wall is only available to students and recreation center members. However, if you’re a student or are lucky enough to know one, you can try out this 53-foot climbing wall on the university’s campus. The 6,100+ square foot wall area, built by Nicros, is a world-renowned architectural marvel, as it’s incorporated into the rest of the gym building.

Best Places for Bouldering in Houston

7. Momentum Indoor Climbing

  • Silver Street Address: 1401 Silver St, Houston, TX 77007
  • Katy Address: 25410 Katy Mills Pkwy, Katy, TX 77494
  • Cost: $20 for a day pass, plus $10 for shoe rental

One of the newest additions to Houston’s climbing scene is Momentum Indoor Climbing. They’ve got two locations in the Houston area, in the Heights and in Katy.

While the Katy location has both top rope/lead climbing and bouldering, the Silver Street location is unique because it’s a bouldering-only gym. Yep, that means no harnesses are necessary there – just shoes, chalk, and a sense of grit! If bouldering scares you, don’t worry – the Silver Street location has thick pads under all climbing areas to cushion your fall. The gym also offers classes and training areas to improve your strength.

Both Momentum Indoor Climbing Gyms offer rentals, fitness areas, pro shops, and monthly memberships.

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Houston is a great place for indoor rock climbing! We compiled this complete list of the best places to go bouldering and rock climbing in Houston for a perfect, fun workout! #Houston #Texas #RockClimbing

Chicago might seem like an unlikely place for climbers, but there are actually tons of cool outdoor activities and spots to climb in and around the city. There are stunning places to go climbing at Chicago rock climbing gyms and outdoors at state parks and nature preserves. Whether you’re rock climbing in Chicago for the first time or are a seasoned outdoor climber, you can find a Chicago rock climbing spot that suits your skill levels and preferences.

To help you learn more about places to go climbing in Chicago, we put together this list of 10 of the best spots for climbers in the Windy City.

Rock Climbing Gyms in Chicago

1. First Ascent

  • Locations: Avondale, Uptown, Humboldt Park, Block 37 (Loop)
  • Day Pass: $19 ($15 with student ID)
  • Equipment Rental: $10

First Ascent has the most locations in the Chicagoland area. There’s likely one close to wherever location you are at. Although most of their gyms are bouldering only, you can get your lead or top rope fix at their Avondale location.

One of the highlights of this gym is that your membership enrolls you in a loyalty points system. Earn points with each visit to the gym, by joining one of their fitness classes, or when you refer a friend. Points are redeemable for free guest passes, gear rentals, discount on fitness classes, or pay for a month’s membership with your points!

2. Vertical Endeavors

  • Location: 246 Windy Point Drive
  • Day Pass: $18
  • Equipment Rental: $12

Located further out in the suburbs of Glendale, IL, Vertical Endeavors boasts one of the largest climbing facilities in the country. This Minnesota based company already has several climbing gyms around the Twin Cities area, but its Glendale location is its first location in the Chicago area.

The gym has both top rope routes and lead climbing routes. If you don’t have a climbing partner for the day, the gym also has 3 bouldering walls and 30 auto-belays, making this a great choice for solo climbers.

3. Brooklyn Boulders

  • Location: 100 South Morgan Street
  • Day Pass: $25
  • Equipment Rental: $11

Brooklyn Boulders prides itself on being both a climbing gym and a community hang-out spot. In addition to climbing walls, Brooklyn Boulders also features pop-up events, art showcases, and group exercise class. What truly sets this gym apart, however, is its collaborative working space with free wi-fi. This gym is the perfect spot for freelancers and remote workers to be productive and get their daily exercise in.

In terms of climbing space, the facility offers bouldering, top rope, lead climbing, and several auto-belays. The gym offers a “beginner to badass” package for new members, which includes a one month membership, free classes, gear rental, and a waived activation fee.

4. Chicago Athletic Club

  • Location: 1723 Benson Ave (Evanston), 3212 N. Broadway (Lakeview)
  • Day Pass: $35
  • Equipment Rental: Unlisted

The Chicago Athletic Club is a network of gyms throughout the Chicagoland area. Two of their locations, Evanston Athletic Club and Lakeview Athletic Club have indoor climbing walls. Their Lincoln park location has an outdoor wall, but it is currently undergoing renovations as of September 2019. A monthly membership is $65-$110 monthly depending on what services and classes you add, but it will get you more cross-training equipment compared to a climbing only gym.

The Athletic Clubs have walls up to 65 feet tall, making them the owners of one of the tallest climbing walls in the city. Routes range in difficulty from 5.7 – 5.13. Lead, top rope, and bouldering is available.

Photo Credit: Phil Roeder (Flickr CC)

5. Maggie Daley Park

  • Location: 337 E Randolph Service Street
  • Day Pass: $15
  • Equipment Rental: $15

Looking to get outside and climb without leaving the city? Head over to Maggie Daley Park in the Loop to climb a 40 feet outdoor wall. The climbing wall is run by the nearby Lakeshore Sport & Fitness gym. The wall has 19,000 square feet of climbing surface area and can hold up to 100 climbers at a time. Chicago residents get 20% off all prices with proof of residency.

6. Steelworkers Park

  • Location: East 87th at Lake Michigan
  • Price: Free
  • Equipment Rental: No rental equipment available

A recent addition to Chicago’s climbing scene, the climbing wall at Steelworker’s park opened in 2018 as the South Side’s fist climbing wall. The wall itself is a dozen climbing routes bolted onto the outside of the old South Works steel manufacturing plant. The installation of the wall was part of a larger city-wide project to expand its open spaces and park spaces. The city plans to host open climb days in the summertime and install auto-belay devices. For now, experienced lead climbers and boulderers can send these routes any time the park is open.

The wall is 40 feet tall, and features routes ranging in difficulty from 5.2 to 5.7. A couple of the routes feature 90 degree overhangs and 45 degree pitches.

Outdoor Rock Climbing Near Chicago

Photo Credit: Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (Flickr CC)

7. Devil’s Lake State Park

  • Location: Baraboo, Wisconsin
  • Distance from Chicago: 180 miles
  • Difficulty: 5.5 to 5.12 (mostly moderates)
  • Gear Needed? Yes, slings for anchors needed

A 3 hour drive from downtown Chicago, Devil’s Lake is a beautiful respite from the urban jungle that is the Windy City. Three towering rock cliffs over a hundred feet in height make up over 1600 different listed routes. These rocks also hold quite a bit of climbing history. Many legendary climbers have left their handprints on the walls of Devil’s Lake. It’s said that the first 5.12 was sent here by Pete Cleveland.

There are no bolts on the wall, so all climbing is traditional. Most of the rock here is quartz. There are plenty of bouldering areas on the wall. Routes range in difficulty from 5.5 to 5.12a.

8. Jackson Falls

  • Location: Shawnee National Forest, Illinois
  • Distance from Chicago: 350 miles
  • Difficulty: 5.6 to 5.13c
  • Gear Needed? Rope

For a weekend long climbing trip, head over to Jackson Falls in the Shawnee National Forest. This park in southern Illinois features the most climbing routes of any other place in the state. It’s also the best location for sport climbers as the rocks have many bolted routes.

Most of the rock is rough sandstone, offering great grips. Walls range in height between 30 to 70 feet, and routes are appropriate for all skill levels (5.6 to 5.13c).

Photo Credit: Joshua Mayer (Flickr CC)

9. Governor Dodge State Park

  • Location: Dodgeville, Wisconsin
  • Distance from Chicago: 190 miles
  • Difficulty: Beginner to moderate
  • Gear Needed? Crash pads

Also located about 3 hours from Chicago, Governor Dodge State Park features smaller crowds and a few bolted routes. The rock here is varied, but most walls will be sandstone. Because of this, the walls are less suited for climbing and the park isn’t necessarily a favorite by the climbing community. Bouldering tends to be the more popular activity at Governor Dodge.

There is a great variety of bouldering routes for all skill levels, ranging from V0 to V9. In the wintertime, head up to Stephens Falls or Cox Hollow for some ice climbing.

10. Holy Boulders

  • Location: Shawnee National Forest, Illinois
  • Distance from Chicago: 350 miles
  • Difficulty: All levels
  • Gear Needed? Crash pads

Holy Boulders is located just an hour and a half West from Jackson Falls. An aptly named park, Holy Boulders is the bouldering Mecca of the state. There are over 200 named problems ranging from V0 to V13. There are also two traditional routes up 30 feet of wall.

This is a new location that was first discovered in 2004, so new routes are named and sent every year. The site was purchased in 2012 by the Illinois Climbers Association and Access Fund, in order to protect the land and open up the park to more climbers.

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