Is Rock Climbing Expensive?

Rock climbing can be an expensive sport – the cost of a membership at most gyms, not to mention the price of gear for climbing outdoors, can be daunting. However, there are ways that you can make it less expensive. In this article, we’ll start by answering the question ‘is rock climbing expensive or not and we’ll discover some tips on how you can reduce costs for each type of climbing.

Yes, rock climbing can be expensive. When thinking about how much you want to spend on rock climbing, it is important to ask yourself whether you will be doing this as a hobby or for recreation only, or if it will become a lifestyle.

Is Rock Climbing Expensive

 If your answer is the latter, then maybe an indoor membership and gear aren’t enough – perhaps you’ll want to invest in outdoor gear such as ropes and harnesses. 

You might also need to purchase shoes that fit your feet specifically (because no one wants to climb with pain) and buy chalk for sweaty fingers. All-in-all the equipment required for outdoor climbing can really add up!

Some of the factors that influence the cost of rock climbing are:

1. The cost of gear

For outdoor rock climbers, there is a need to buy equipment like a helmet, harness, and shoes. A helmet can cost anything from $15 to 50. 

Harnesses can cost around $35-400, depending on the quality and how much you trust the manufacturer. Shoes can cost anywhere from $50 (for a simple plastic pair) to up to $200 for something more comfortable with rubber soles that work well on rock surfaces.

2. The price of gear for outdoor climbing

Climbing shoes are usually around $50 (for a simple plastic pair) to up to $200 for something more comfortable with rubber soles that work well on rock surfaces. Ropes can range from $60 to thousands of dollars; many climbers choose to own two so that if one breaks they can borrow the other one while waiting for repairs. 

A bel device costs about $20-$30, while carabiners can cost around $10-20 (these are special clips that climbers attach their safety equipment to). A chalk bag costs about $20, and you can pick up chalk for anywhere from $5-$20.

3. The cost of joining a gym

Rock climbing membership at most gyms is around $100 per month. You might want to purchase your own harness, shoes, and chalk as these are the ones that you use the most often when rock climbing. 

The cost of an indoor gym membership can vary depending on where you live, but usually, it ranges from free (if you already have those items) up to the tens of thousands.

4. Skill level

The better you get at rock climbing, the more advanced equipment you will need. Also, the more experience you have climbing indoors and outdoors, the more likely you are to want to buy your own gear. If you buy your own harness, shoes, and chalk bag, then it will cost even less.

5. Climbing season

Where you are in the world might affect the time of year that you can rock climb. In colder areas where ice climbing is popular, there will be additional costs for buying specific gear that helps with this style of climbing – crampons and an ice ax are usually needed.

6 Tips on How to Keep the Cost Down

Here are ten rock climbing tips that may help keep costs down:

6 Tips on How to Keep the Cost Down

1) Don’t go to a gym  

If you are a beginner, don’t go to a gym. You can climb outside for free; gyms will cost about $20-$50 per visit with entry fees and specialty shoes in addition to the membership. While it’s true that some people continue to train indoors for years, many of them would not be able to climb without access to the gym.

2) Shop for used gear 

You can find some great deals on climbing websites, such as or Just be sure to check the return policy so that if your purchases don’t fit, you’re not stuck with them!

3) Shop online for discounts 

Many outdoor stores have money-saving coupons and other promotions on their websites. If you shop around a bit, you may find that there are additional savings available at a Canadian store (due to the weak dollar). You might also try buying second-hand from an eBay seller; just make sure that they are reputable before making a purchase.

4) Don’t buy high-end shoes right away 

While it is true that having good climbing shoes makes for more efficient climbing, it’s not worth spending the money if you have never worn shoes that are specifically designed for climbing before. 

If you have to borrow from a friend or buy an inexpensive pair, make sure they fit well and aren’t too old (more than a year or two). Once you know what you need, the price of good shoes won’t seem so extravagant.

5) Join a climbing club 

Not only will you gain access to lots of great people who are more than happy to give you advice about gear and training, but many also offer deals on equipment rentals. If you get hooked, this could be the best decision you ever make!

6) Go outdoor trad cragging frequently 

As long as you’re careful with your gear (and knowledgeable enough not to need too much stuff), it’s possible to keep costs down by going out only with what fits in your pack. 

This can result in hours of entertainment for a fraction of the price that you would pay at an indoor gym 2-3 times a week, especially if there are friends or other club members who want hiking buddies and will pitch in gas money.


So is rock climbing expensive? Yes, the equipment can really add up easily, but it’s possible to stay within your budget by shopping online, borrowing gear from friends, or joining a club.

Many of the greatest climbers in the world learned their skills outdoors rather than indoors. As long as you start out slowly and do some research before you go for your first outdoor climb you’ll be fine!

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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