Climbing is only getting more popular. For those in the community that means more gyms, newer holds, and newer climbers. Not knowing the unspoken ethics of gym climbing can make life on the wall fairly stressful. Here is a list of five ethical guidelines for climbing at the gym.

  1. The climbing gym is a safe space. For some it is a place to forget the worries of the day and just focus on climbing. For others it is the place they feel most at home. There is no “shoot your shot” in the climbing gym, there is only climbing.
  2. Everyone gets excited by new rope routes, so naturally there will be a high amount of congestion on those new routes the day they go up. Instead of feeling frustrated that everyone is taking forever to get to the tops of their climbs, just establish a queue that everyone can agree to. For bouldering, just remember that V2 and V10 are the same in terms of a climber’s right to the wall.
  3. Yield to others. If someone is on the wall before you, just wait ’til they’re done! Definitely one of the easiest ways to respect other climbers.
  4. Don’t warm up in the middle of the set. For bouldering specifically, this is important. Whenever a climber is warming up, they should strive to do so on the less popular parts of the gym. Instead of creating congestion on popular routes, get the warm up done, and then hop on your project.
  5. Don’t snake your fellow climbers’ routes. We have all been there. Sometimes it happens when you are brushing down a boulder or when you are throwing your rope down in front of the sick new sport climb. You take one look away, to toss the brush or tie the knot, when suddenly someone has taken your burn and fired your rig. Don’t be that person.

Social change takes more than a night, but effort is always rewarded in climbing. The very least any of us can do is treat everyone with respect and when things get wacky, take a breath. Climbing is supposed to be fun.

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