How to Stay Psyched on Outdoor Climbing During the Winter


Every climber dreads the end of the climbing season. Whether you have yet to send your project or you simply enjoy getting out to the crag, winter will inevitably change your plans. So, how do you stay psyched on outdoor climbing during the winter? While it’s easy for some, the tips below are for those who prefer to avoid switching to pulling plastic.

Here’s how you stay motivated for winter outdoor climbing

winter outdoor climbing

Set Goals

Since you can’t get out to the crag, study up on some climbs that you want to try sending next season. Deciding on something to work toward will help you stay motivated to climb outdoors during winter.

These goals don’t have to be climbs for next season, though. You can set goals to get stronger, work on your weaknesses, or expand your flexibility beyond what you thought you could achieve. A lot can change in just a few months!

Setting goals helps you stay psyched because it gives you something to look forward to. Set some goals and come back next season stronger than the last!


For some, training is second nature. They do so throughout the year, so switching to training mode is familiar. If you’ve never tried to focus on training, the winter is a perfect time to do so.

If you’ll be stuck climbing inside for the foreseeable future, try to improve your climbing for next season. Consider following a training program to improve your strength. Or, follow a hangboard routine to strengthen your fingers for next season. Maybe you can finally work toward that one-arm pull-up you’ve been eyeing!

Training is a part of any athlete’s routine. Whether you want to believe it or not, climbing is an athletic activity! That is how you improve during the winter months to send those projects you couldn’t quite nail before it got cold. Remember, training is about consistency, so if you’re going to train, you must stick with it to see results.

Take a Break!

Only some people like to go out and try their hardest on every climb, and if you’ve been pushing yourself hard lately, you may need a break! During winter, you can take a break from climbing and reflect on why you enjoy it.

During this break, focus on your other hobbies; if you have none, try picking up something new! If you’re near somewhere that gets a lot of snow, try your hand at some winter sports or perfect your snow angels. If the cold isn’t for you, consider more at-home hobbies that give you hands-on experience. Knitting, sewing, woodworking, cross-stitching, drawing, painting, doing puzzles, etc., are great ways to keep your brain engaged during winter.

Climbing will still be there whenever you want to return!

Take a Trip!

If you haven’t been to the crag in a while because it’s too cold where you live, take a trip somewhere warm to climb! Plenty of winter crags throughout the United States are best visited in the winter. That is a perfect way to stay psyched during outdoor climbing during the winter months. (Obviously, you’ll be climbing!)

Climbing rocks in winter requires a south-facing crag or warmer climate. Here are just a few crags that are perfect for winter climbing:

Red Rock – Nevada

Just outside southern Nevada, Rock Rock’s sandstone and limestone boast many quality lines. Whether you’re looking for trad or sport climbing, check out Red Rock, which has a prime climbing season from October to April.

Joshua Tree – California

Southern California is known for its great surfing, but it also has one of the premier climbing destinations in the country. Joshua Tree National Park’s quartz monzonite rock is best climbed when it’s a little cooler, typically from November to May.

Linville Gorge – North Carolina

The East Coast has its haven for winter climbing, too! Linville Gorge is a perfect place for off-season alpinists to get their fix. Mild winters and south-facing cliffs, such as Table Rock and Shortoff Mountain, are great destinations for multi-pitch trad lovers during the winter months.