There’s no recommended age to start rock climbing. We bet some of the top names even did it in the womb.
If you catch your toddler scaling cribs like they’re the next Adam Ondra, it may be time to get them to a rock climbing gym, stat!
Let’s face it, kids are the mountain goats of the human world. They can get into anything, and out of everything.
Climbing is an amazing hobby for the young and old to build muscle, discipline, technique, and community.
It can be frightening as a parent to let your kids start climbing, and we’re sure you’re bursting with questions.
Let’s address all your concerns and rope in to this newfound climbing expedition.
Is Rock Climbing Good for Kids?
The short answer is, absolutely!
In addition to being one of the most enjoyable sports on the planet, here’s a list of positive reasons to get your child involved in the rock climbing world:
1. Rock climbing builds courage and self-confidence.
The best aspect of indoor climbing walls is all the safety precautions in place to ensure visitors and beginner climbers have fun.
There is little to no risk in top rope climbing if all rules are followed diligently.
While harnessed and clipped into the climbing rope and the belayer, your child will be secure and in the safe hands of a climbing professional.
If they do come off the climbing wall, the most they would fall is a mere few inches. With auto belay systems, they would slowly lower to the ground automatically.
Having all these checks in place lets your kids truly enjoy and take risks on the vertical rock face.
Conquering their fears, feeling an adrenaline rush, and combating the stress and anxiety from making calculated moves to the top teaches valuable life lessons and skills about emotional management.
They’re destined to feel more secure and confident in their decisions.
2. Rock climbing builds muscle.
Although your child won’t walk out of the climbing gym as jacked as John Cena, they will definitely have a muscle boost.
Climbing is similar to swimming, where every muscle of the body plays an important role in achieving the goal. It’s a full-body workout every time they enter the climbing gym.
3. It’s a healthy hobby partnered with an amazing community.
Have you ever met an unfriendly climber? Chances are low.
There’s no scientific backing behind this, but climbers really are some of the kindest, most encouraging people in the athletic world.
Competition is friendly, and everyone wants each other to succeed.
Climbing is, at its root, an individual sport. Yet, in every climbing gym, there is a strong sense of community amongst all members, even the children’s teams.
Kids build communication skills by giving each other tips and tricks on how to crush the route.
Rock climbing children’s teams are also a great break from the overuse of modern-day electronics.
Kids get to focus on what’s in front of them, and with chalky fingers, it makes it difficult to scroll their lives away.
4. Rock climbing helps with hand-eye coordination.
Knowing where to put their feet is only part of the equation.
As your child progresses in their climbing levels, they’ll start to work on balance, flexibility, and route-planning.
They’ll learn to read a route before they climb, to know where to put their hands, feet, and weight.
How Old Should My Child Be To Start Rock Climbing?
All beginners need to start somewhere, and as children grow at different paces, the overall starting age is between 4 and 5 years old.
Around this time, children are able to think logically and problem solve. They’re still learning fine motor skills, but have control over major movements.
Even though babies have the grip strength of a fully-mature gorilla, it’s not the best idea to put them on the wall just yet!
Do You Recommend Enrolling My Child in Climbing Teams or Classes?
As we mentioned earlier, the climbing community is a positive, healthy, and fun space for any growing minds.
If your kid is expressing interest in rock climbing with friends, it could be time to enroll them in your local rock gym’s children’s classes.
In these classes, they’ll climb with people in their climbing grade level and age range, building strong friendships.
Certified climbing instructors will always be in eyeshot to help your children with whatever technique, improvements, and skills they may need to reach all their rock climbing goals.
An added bonus is the hour you’ll have to yourself to recharge while your child is morphing slowly into the Incredible Hulk.
My Kid Wants To Start Climbing — What Do I Need?
Luckily for parents of beginners and experienced climbers, rock climbing equipment is fairly affordable.
Most gyms will offer the equipment for free as part of a package or climbing team deal, so be sure to scope that out before you invest.
All climbers, young and old, truly benefit from having their own climbing shoes. If you do decide to purchase any gear, this would be the one to splurge a bit on.
Climbing shoes that are available in the gym are not technical, a bit slippery, and change every visit.
Climbers need to trust their feet and gear, to propel themselves into harder climbing levels.
Having a climbing shoe that is molded to your child’s comfort and liking is essential for the long term.
Check out Rock Climbing Gear for Kids: The Essentials or refer to the quick gear list below:
- Climbing Shoes
- Climbing Harness: Depending on your child’s weight and height, you will need to purchase a full-body harness or a sit harness.
- Chalk Bag and Chalk: It comes in handy for slippery rocks and looks really cool.
- Reusable Water Bottle: Rock climbing is a workout, make sure your kid stays hydrated!
If you have any further questions regarding rock climbing for kids, or where to find gear, just shoot us a message or subscribe to our newsletter below for tips and tricks for all experience levels.
McKenzi Taylor founded Rock Climbing Women in 2013 after moving to a new city as a new climber seeking more climbing partners (and new friends!). Since her first taste of climbing in Spearfish Canyon, SD, McKenzi has been at the rock face seeking and sharing the thrill of climbing. She credits the support of a consistent climbing partner and community as the motivation to continue developing her skill, whether it’s trad, sport climbing or bouldering. A full-time business owner and mother, McKenzi’s on a mission to get her kids outside and learning to adventure alongside her.