How Do Professional Rock Climbers Make Money?

Rock climbing is an activity that demands skills and equipment from the practitioner. Beyond that, the climber needs to put in a lot of time and effort into perfecting his or her craft before making any profit. This brief will explore the different ways how do professional rock climbers make money, as well as offer advice on how to pursue a career as one!

Here is the list of the top 7 ways how do professional rock climbers make money:

How Do Professional Rock Climbers Make Money - 7 Ways

Earnings from climbing competitions

Climbers who participate in competitions can earn money, but typically only a little. The prize money for an open competition is typically small, and winnings are split between the top climbers. As such, most professionals do not make their money from competitions. 

They may compete to test their skills against other professionals. Climbers who want to make their money from competitions need to place first, second or third in order to win- and even then, the prize money may not cover the full cost of participating. This is especially true for people who live outside of climbing hotspots like Europe and North America.

Earnings from commercial climbing/guiding 

Rock climbing does not only take place indoors at commercial gyms. The primary way that most professional climbers make their money is by climbing on outdoor rocks. Many national parks have designated sites for rock climbing, and these spots can attract thousands of visitors every year. 

These climbers may pay a daily fee to access the site (this amount varies depending on the location). Some recreational rock climbers also hire a guide when they visit popular spots; this can compete should be aware that they have to take time away from training to prepare for the contest, as well as traveling (in some cases) to attend it. 

This might mean forfeiting valuable training time or damaging progress toward goals. Reaching the national championships could result in higher earnings than smaller contests due to more competitors and bigger prizes awarded by the sponsor (e.g., USA Climbing ).

Earnings from coaching

A few professional climbers teach rock climbing classes and lessons. This is not a common way for climbers to make money because it will take hours away from actually training or competing. It can supplement income during the off-season if a climber is doing something else to continue generating revenue (e.g., working in an outdoor retail store). 

Coaching takes a lot of time and effort as well, and people looking to climb their way through school might find that teaching isn’t the best use of their time. However, some athletes do enjoy sharing what they’ve learned with others. Some also like mentoring younger climbers who were training in the sport just as they did when first starting out.

Earnings from sponsorship-related work

Professional rock climbers are also well-known public figures; some have opportunities to appear on TV for climbing shows or represent the outdoor industry by doing media outreach and attending tradeshows and conventions (e.g., Outdoor Retailer ). 

Representing a company, like Mountain Hardwear, means modeling their clothing line. Going to trade shows encourages consumers to buy products that help them pursue their passions in life: rock climbing! 

It’s beneficial for companies, but it can also be helpful to the climber who needs money but doesn’t quite fit into any of the other categories because it can be a nice addition to earned income limits. These incomes can vary widely depending on who’s appearing, how well they’re known in the industry, and whether or not it is their primary form of employment.

Income from climbing-related sales

Some climbers also sell books and videos about rock climbing to help others learn how to do it safely (e.g., “How To Rock Climb” ). This is not a widely available option because there isn’t enough interest for everyone who wants to climb outdoors or compete professionally. 

However, people looking for money online will find plenty of paid survey sites offering legitimate opportunities to get paid online to take surveys. Even though these options are more lucrative than selling related products, they still require a large investment of time if the goal is full-time income. 

Those interested in becoming a professional climber should also keep in mind that while rock climbing is a lucrative career or pastime for some people, it isn’t a money-maker for everyone. For many climbers who are trying to make ends meet, supplemental income is their only hope of actually pursuing their passion and making a living at the same time.

Income from writing/photography/filmmaking

Some rock climbers can also make money from filming and photographing their adventures. There are some paid opportunities for people who are skilled with photography or videography; it’s up to the individual to find what works best for him or her.

How Long Does it Take To Become A Professional in this Field?

Before becoming a full-time professional climber, people should consider all the pros and cons that come with climbing as a career. While it’s an attractive idea because it combines two of many people’s favorite things (climbing and making money), there are some downsides to being a professional athlete as well.

How Long Does it Take To Become A Professional Rock Climber

First, as a professional rock climber, you’ll be responsible for obtaining your own sponsorships. This can take time out of training if you don’t have enough yet to make ends meet. 

In addition, companies usually want their sponsored athletes to be active participants in social media, so maintaining accounts on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and other websites can take even more time away from actual climbing training or competition.

 However, this isn’t necessarily a bad thing because social media can be useful in landing more sponsorships! Plus, it gives athletes the opportunity to share their love for climbing with friends and people around the world.

Before pursuing a full-time career as a rock climber, people should consider what they would do if they didn’t make it. For example, if you’re already an accountant or have another job waiting for you after college graduation, then maybe becoming a professional climber isn’t the best choice. 

Climbing can take up to 30 hours per week of training, not including travel time to competitions or practice sessions on real rock walls; that’s a lot of time spent away from family and friends at home. People who are thinking about turning climbing into a career need to be prepared for those sacrifices.

How Do Professional Rock Climbers Advertise Themselves?

Climbers – or any sports athlete, for that matter – need a website and social media accounts to display their skills, achievements, promotions, etc. Climbing gyms with gyms near you can help them build up their online presence and get started advertising themselves. 

How Do Professional Rock Climbers Advertise Themselves

To keep things regularly updated across several different types of websites, climbers should hire someone with web design experience ( there are schools in your area ) to handle the technical side of things so they can focus on training or attending competitions instead. 

This is important because consumers prefer purchasing goods and services from websites that are simple and easy to use, so a professional website can potentially lead to more opportunities for exposure.

If you’re thinking about pursuing a career in rock climbing as a path to fame and wealth, then consider the following advice:

– Make sure rock climbing is really your passion before giving up everything else for it! This is one of the most difficult sports out there because of all the time needed for training, and it’s not nearly as profitable as mainstream sports like football or basketball. If this isn’t an endeavor you’re willing to put your soul into, then don’t waste your time – find something else that’ll make you happy.

– Try getting involved with The North Face University Program! This will help climbers become more active in their sports and potentially learn new things that they can use for advertisement.

– Networking is incredibly important in the commercial climbing world, so attending events like Outdoor Retailer are great opportunities to meet other climbers and get some advice from industry professionals.

– Learn a secondary skill just in case rock climbing doesn’t work out! Maybe you’ll become a yoga instructor if you’re not a climber anymore or even open up your own gym one day; it never hurts to have something else on the table, especially since companies and organizations typically want to hire people who are versatile enough to cover several different areas at once.

-Not ready to teach fitness classes yet? Start working towards being an event coordinator! It’s common for large-scale events to need help with logistics, and this is a great way for athletes to build up their credentials before becoming full-blown personal trainers.


So, how do professional rock climbers make money? It’s not as easy as it seems because being one requires hard work, commitment, and the right mindset! But if you’ve got what it takes, then why not give it a shot? As long as you’re willing to keep on training, there’s always a chance that climbing could be your life’s calling after all! 

Calvin Rivers

Hey, I’m Calvin Rivers, a climbing veteran with 10+ years on crags and walls around the world. I can’t wait for you to explore our site and fall in love with the outdoors just like I have.

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