Learning to Climb Outdoors

 In Climbing, Community

When I first started climbing in 2006, there were two things that got me hooked on climbing: spending time with good friends and the amazing granite of New Hampshire. Starting by climbing outdoors meant I had a lot to learn.

There is the obvious, such as equipment management, route reading, and basic technique. Then there are the not-so-obvious items, like “Leave No Trace” principles, proper use of fixed gear, what is “fixed gear,” and other additional outdoor climbing etiquette.

A lot of this information is typically passed down from climber to climber and learned through the adoption of new climbers into the local climbing community. The starting point for an indoor climber may have some parallels, but there are numerous differences between indoor and outdoor climbing. These differences are important to understand before heading to a local crag and be intimidating to people venturing to local crags for the first time.

A new indoor climber typically begins their indoor climbing journey with instruction from industry professionals, who give them the proper information to understand risk awareness and management. They will be guided to the facilities set of rules and be taught appropriate climbing etiquette. These are the obvious things needed to learn. The indoor climbing gym, rather than the climber, carries the expectation to maintain the available climbing equipment and hardware. For example, I cannot think of a time when someone came into the gym and examined an entire top rope prior to the start of using it.

Teaching the “not-so-obvious” information to help people better understand outdoor climbing is important. At EVO we strive to communicate this to our customers through clinics, private guiding and special events.

Creating a higher level of awareness will help preserve our local crags and the sport of climbing for all the generations to come.


Kris Hiller

General Manager of EVO Rock + Fitness, Concord



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