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Indoor Climbing Etiquette 101

Indoor climbing can get a little busy at times — which is great for socializing and meeting new members of the climbing community. However, when the walls get crowded, it’s important to remember your basic climbing etiquette.


BKB Team Member Jay, interrupted mid-route.
BKB Team Member Jay, interrupted mid-route.

Here’s the run-down if you’ve never learned your bouldering manners before:

1. Don’t stand too close to the walls if you’re about to climb. Always watch out for climbers above – you don’t want them landing on your head.

2. Make contact with other climbers when it’s crowded. If a bunch of climbers are standing around, it’s always polite to ask if it’s okay to start and to make sure you aren’t cutting someone off who has been waiting to climb. We’re a community! If you’re shy, give a little head nod of acknowledgement at the very least.

3. Look at other climbers’ route on the wall before you start. Even if your area of the wall seems clear, some routes cross over. Make sure your route doesn’t run into someone else’s if they’ve already started (see above photo).

4. If someone just brushed off a hold, be conscious of your own chalky hands. Nothing is worse than a freshly brushed hold getting all chalky again when you’re in the middle of a big project. And remember to brush holds you really grease up.

5. Give beta, with caution. Some people like to conquer the mental challenge on their own. If you’re going to give beta, it’s considerate to ask before doing so. And don’t be a jerk about it – be nice about it!

6. Don’t climb barefoot. Or with your regular shoes (you never know what you’ll pick up on the city streets). And please, do not wear your climbing shoes into the bathroom. That’s just gross.

7. If a hold spins, tape has fallen off or a screw is sticking out – tell someone! Don’t try and screw a hold back in yourself – ask a BKB team member for help or inform the front desk.