You see them on cliff sides and all over your Instagram feed, scaling giant cliffs time and time again. Oh those, toned back, chalk covered, giant forearmed rock climbers. But how did they end up 100′ feet in the air on a rope? Where do you even start? How much do those fancy pair of shoes cost? Why are my forearms burning when I can’t even get past the easiest grade? Climbing is a classic Colorado sport that can be enjoyed in all seasons, and in an array of forms. From bouldering to multi-pitch, we’re here to give you get the low-down on the literal cost of learning to climb and why it’s totally worth it.

Whether you’re dreaming of trad climbing a 13.d or hitting the climbing gym once every other week with your buddies, the best place to start is at the climbing gym. Try  snagging a friend’s guest pass to the gym and renting gear or borrowing gear for your first time. You need some experience to figure out exactly what gear you need and like, so it’s best to find out before you start dropping dough on that shiny trad rack.

Cost: Shoes, harness, belay device, chalk bag rentals with a climbing gym guest pass: [$12]

After you’ve decided all you want in life is to climb, invest in a pair of shoes and chalk bag to get yourself bouldering. It’s best to start off with a beginner pair of shoes that isn’t too tight. Many seasoned climbers will go for a more aggressive shoe multiple sizes smaller than their street shoe size. Opt for a beginner pair that fits snuggly, but not painfully. If you want to invest on the cheap, many discount sites have great deals on last seasons models, and climbing gyms often sell used, unclaimed chalk bags.

Cost: Beginner shoes, used chalk bag, chalk block: [$50 + $5 + $2] = $57

Looking to start top roping? In addition to shoes and a chalk bag, you’ll need a harness, belay device, and carabiner to keep you safe up high. If you’re purchasing your harness new from a retailer, price doesn’t necessarily equate to safety. All harnesses need to attain certain safety certifications, so typically that price comes with more breathable materials, extra padding, adjustable straps, and other factors that don’t influence your safety. If you’re looking at longer days on multi-pitch routes, you’ll want to invest in harnesses with more padding, whereas if you’re in the gym, that extra padding isn’t always a necessity. If you’re breaking out of the gym with some experienced friends to top rope or lead outside, you’ll want to invest in a helmet to protect that precious noggin of yours! Helmets vary in weight and coverage, so similar to your harness purchase, make your purchase decision based on your individual needs.

Cost: Climbing harness, carabiner, ATC device, and helmet : [$60 + $10 + $20 + $55]  = $135

So you’re geared up and ready to start climbing! Finding a great partner is key to having a fun climbing experience. Find an experienced friend or make a new one a your local climbing gym. As you begin, don’t push yourself too hard too fast, you’re finger strength will come with time.

Finally, don’t be discouraged by everyone who looks more experienced than you; they all were beginners at some point as well, even that 10-year-old who has been climbing since birth. Give yourself props for learning something new, and have fun getting sendy!

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