6 Life Lessons Learned from Rock Climbing

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Words like “belay” and “bouldering” are examples of what you might learn when you begin rock climbing. Which handholds you prefer and how far you can reach are things you might discover on the wall. But lingo and physical strategies aren’t all you’ll learn. Rock climbing holds a ton of life lessons.

Take it from climbers who have grown more than muscle:

Life Lesson #1: Real Friendship

It’s not unusual for climbers to find their tribe on or around the wall. Rock climbing naturally fosters a sense of community through shared spaces, a need for support, and more. As a result, climbing holds a ton of life lessons about friendship. 

College student and climber Jessica Hernandez shares that she’s made amazing friendships through rock climbing. Her existing friendships have also been strengthened- “The hours we’ve spent at the gym together have brought us closer and helped us both fall more in love with the sport.” Social aspects of climbing put healthy friendship qualities into practice- like learning to communicate, trust, encourage, and challenge each other. 

Life Lesson #2: Persistence

When you’re hanging from a single handhold suspended several feet above the ground, fear is a natural reaction. Likewise, it’s normal to want to give up when you leap off a ledge and miss your mark- again. Rock climbing teaches you to face your fears and embrace failure so you learn persistence. 

What sorts of circumstances does persistence help you prepare for in life outside the gym? Persistence keeps you committed when you want to quit. It trains you to risk, try again, and refine your strategy. When you face tough things, you know what it takes to conquer!

Life Lesson #3: Finding Focus

Part of creativity, de-stressing, and overcoming challenges is being able to focus. As climber Brooke Anderson says, rock climbing is “moving meditation.” When you climb, you have to be fully present. You have to focus, clear your mind, and deal with only what’s in front of you. Climbing also doesn’t have to be hurried, so you can learn the value of taking your time in order to focus more effectively. 

Life Lesson #4: Problem-Solving

An essential element of climbing is strategy. “There is a level of intelligence necessary to figure out how to even climb the route,” climber Rachel Rapier explains. You’ll find your mind is sharpened as you learn to weigh each route’s pros and cons, problem-solve through challenges, and ask for advice from others. If you want to learn this life lesson quickly, try bouldering. In bouldering, you climb “problems,” not “routes,” because it’s so mentally stimulating!

Life Lesson #5: Goal-Setting

There are some great formulas for setting smarter goals, but nothing beats experience. Climber Michaela Kiersch shares that she’d learned a ton about goal-setting through climbing.

She knows the difference between short and long term goals firsthand, and also understands now that goals go beyond scheduling into mindset, confidence, and more. Flexibility is necessary- sometimes the scenario changes your goals. These lessons have come from climbing, but they’ve transferred into the rest of life for her, too. 

Life Lesson #6: Keep Learning

One of the most fun and challenging aspects of rock climbing is that there is always something new to learn. Even the most experienced climbers still learn as they scale the wall (or sheer cliffs)! When you climb regularly, you’ll learn that life lessons are ongoing. If you want to keep growing as a climber and a person, you need to keep learning!

What life lessons do you want to learn from rock climbing? Connect with us so we can keep learning together. Sign up for our newsletter if you haven’t yet!