Tips to Help You Find the Perfect Climbing Partner

Seeking new climbing partners can feel a bit like gambling, though it doesn’t have to be as risky a crapshoot if you know how to play the game right.  Whether you’re seeking to broaden your network of climbing partners or you're new to a gym/climbing area, below are guidelines to aid you in your quest to forge stable and successful climbing partnerships:


Own Your Experience.
When creating new partnerships, communicate clearly and honestly about your climbing experience.  A positive and enthused demeanor and honesty up front will get you far in this sport, and Novice and Advanced Climbers will embrace newer climbers if they’re specific about their current experience.

Tell the Truth.
Misrepresenting one’s experience is never appropriate and is often transparent to everyone save the offender. This goes for both ways, as more experienced climbers sometimes misrepresent their climbing experience as well. Feel free to ask around to pre-qualify potential new partners.

Define Your Terms.
It’s an arrangement, an appointment, a role, a contract. Lay down the terms and see who steps up. Clear communication gets the job done, is usually infectious, and will probably set the tone for an absolutely delightful climbing adventure.  Examples:

“Free to top rope climb at Planet Granite, 7pm tonight?”
“Anyone want to climb 5.10 mileage at the central Gorge this Friday, 7am to 12pm?”
“Climb in Pine Creek Mondays, 9am to 1:30pm?”

Show up On Time and Prepared.
Pack the night before. Leave your house early so you’ve enough time to finish your time-sensitive errands. Do your homework and arrive prepared.

Climb with New Partners.
You may learn something. You may meet new people. You may realize you’re in a slump in the former climbing partnership. You may need a break from your adventure partner or life partner. The possibilities are endless, and collaboration helps us evolve as Climbers and People.

While the above guidelines will likely be matched with appreciation, minor annoyances as listed below can be abrasive and counterproductive.  Thus:


Send the Wrong Message.
Cues are sometimes hard to notice, but here’s an example: if someone can’t remember what their hardest rock climb was, whether they top roped it or lead it, where or when it was, they are likely misrepresenting their climbing experience.

Be Repetitively Late or Ill-prepared.
Free time is expensive and shouldn’t be wasted. Don’t make your partner wait at the trailhead while you’re waiting in line for a cappuccino or sorting through your disheveled life scattered about the back of your truck.

Be Late Again.
You're already running late.  Don't misrepresent your second estimated time of arrival and be late again i.e. don’t fib on the new texted ETA and show up 25 minutes late instead of 10. Your honesty could give your partner extra time, perhaps best used to wait in line for a second cappuccino instead of empty-handed at the trailhead.

Use a Climbing Appointment as ploy to hook up, unless otherwise stated.
Although some climbing partnerships become life partnerships, don’t only climb or attempt to climb with persons who you want to date. Desperation is transparent and unattractive.


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Perfect climbing partners are extraordinarily invaluable and can produce a wealth of climbing adventures.  All had to start somewhere.  Enjoy the process!