Stepping out – 10 reasons to climbing outdoors


Why would you want to leave your comfort zone when you have the comforts of climbing in a heated gym, toilets, bolted routes, no walking distance and protection from chilly wind and weather?

Why do we need to dirty our rope bag, have awful looking insects or spiders crawling into your shoes, put your gear on goat / donkey/ cow/ wild boar droppings and go through scratchy bushes, risk on bad rock holds and go all the way to find out that the site sucks.

Why risk your life!??? omg.

Because –

… at the end of each day, you bring back a bag of experiences and learnings. Sometimes good, sometimes not so good. You don’t usually die at first step. Thats an old wife’s tale


Check it out :

1. Open your horizons

If you’re contented to climb only in one place or gym all the time, yes you might certainly one day become the best climber of that area or gym. To get more out of the box, you will have to step out of your comfort zone. Why do elite climbers go out of the country to hunt?

Quoting Sasha DiGiulian: ” Outside, there’s no limit to how you can succeed.”

Climbing in Albenga
Climbing off the coast of the Ligurian Alps. Albenga

 2. Discover new types of rock and styles of climbing

Choose from limestone, granite, gneiss and quartzite, sandstone, conglomerate. Make your climbing styles diversified, be flexible. A really good climber is someone who can keep the same level of climbing in different types of rock. Nevermind if it’s a slab, overhang, compact, polished, sandy, crack, crimps, pockets, or tufas.  I’m far from perfect, and am still amazed to discover new experiences every time.

Rock types in Kalymnos, Nice, Arco, Briancon

3.Enjoy a beach climbing vacation by the sea

This is a great option for families. Not everybody in the family thinks that climbing is a great sport. When granny prefers to chill off at the beach and the children wants to go snorkelling, the wife wants to boulder without shoes and you want to climb your project in the caves. Kill two birds with a stone, and hit it out to destinations by the sea. It makes everyone happy. You know, you can’t always be the ego. 😉

Not sure where to start? I have some inspirations for you to some of the places we have seen to  beach n climb in Europe.

Climbing in Sicily, San Vito

4. Meet (international) people who climb too and share your experiences. Learn from each other. Come home with a bag of knowledge.

Climbing is a risky sport. There are loose rocks that fall and may hit your head, climbers get hurt during a fall, Belay anchors are not properly fixed or prepared, or worse, bolts are rusty and worn out, sharp rocks might cut off your rope, a thunderstorm with lightning catches in on you… These are a few examples of a scenario that you can come across when you climb outdoors. What a horror!

Is that crap? Yes and no. We are still alive today, and we’re still having a lot of fun outdoors. How? There’s a few rules to remember. With each outing there’s always something new to learn. In the first place, learn to be safe. Know where to take precaution before you head out. Second, common sense keeps you usually out of trouble. It’s as simple as that.

Bloggertreffen Zillertal 2013

5. Discover villages and towns you would never see on a normal trip to the country. Many climbing sites are near tourist attractions

Never miss that Formula One race again while you’re climbing outdoors. While climbing in Nice, this is possible. Visit the castle ruin or the local Sweet factory. Many climbing areas are just around the corner. It pays, to keep your eyes and ears open. It’s not always just the jungle and a pile of stones. Even though climbers sometimes love to find themselves in complete isolation, it’s a hard game

Climbing in Nizza
Monte Carlo at your feet

6. Climb outdoors, even as a beginner.

Once you’re ready to venture outdoors (i.e. you’ve had enough lessons at the indoor gym, you know how to belay, you know your knots, etc) you could either take another course in climbing outdoors. There are many instructors offering short climbing holiday packages. It’s a great way to make new friends and discover new places. Then again, if you’re lucky, hook up with an experienced climber who is willing to show you what you have to be aware of.

In France, climbing is a school curriculum. They make much effort to maintain and promote their climbing sites for both beginners and the advanced. The french limestone is awesome. There’s an array of quality sites spreaded in the whole country. Italy has many areas too with perfect bolting and good rock. So even if you are a beginner, yes you can climb abroad. Oh, and Greece? Of course!

Climbing in Arco
Climbing in Arco gives many beginners a chance to sniff what it’s like to climb outdoors

7.Learn new languages.

A few words we pick up quickly at the crags is either Venga! Allez ! and Dai! (and a few good curses too) It’s so fun to speak to the locals. They are usually interested to know where you come from and are happy to help out guiding you through the grades. The more he doesn’t speak your language, the funnier it gets. What about you? Leant some new words yet?


8. Travel, travel, travel. Make climbing an excuse to travel the world

If you don’t start now, then when? As a climber, there’s so many destinations and reason to pack up and travel the world (together with all your climbing gears) And seriously, a tennis racket won’t bring you to exciting vibrant places with a view.

Turkey, Portugal, Spain, Thailand, Greece, Germany, Morocco, France … exotic, near or far. The list is big and getting bigger each day. Gone are the days when you had to separate between a climbing and a sight seeing vacation. Why not do both at once? REST DAYs are fun days!

9. Discover new boundaries within yourself.

Climbing a 7a in plastic doesn’t necessarily mean you can climb a 7a in quartzite or limestone. Have you tried roof climbing, crack climbing, trad climbing, or climbing a slab with visually no holds on it?


10. Last but least, learn to appreciate your environment.

Stop to smell the flowers. Life is short. Nothing happens a second time like you experienced it before.

Get out, and stay out.

Spring in Sicily, Italy

Do you have more tips why it’s great to climb outdoors? Share and comment below.

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  1. Totally agree. I think the gym is a useful way to keep a routine, but yeah, it keeps you in the same place. To me personally, it’s the same as always staying with the same rock closest to you. Getting to know different types of rocks keeps your mind open. Of course, I do love Frankenjura’s rocks with its structure of holds. Climbing then with adherence is a totally different challenge and reminds me that different types of rocks increase the learning and skills.

    1. Hi Stef,
      It totally depends on your goals. I think it’s important to first set your focus on tackling your climbing skills and worst fears first. Once you’ve gotten that all set, it’s time to play and roam the world 🙂
      Thanks for dropping by!

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