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 Rock Climbing for Kids




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Rock Climbing Details Benefits of Rock Climbing for Kids  

What is Rock Climbing?

Rock climbing is the act of climbing up or across rock formations ranging from 30 to 3000 feet high or on man-made rock walls.  This sport provides both physical and mental challenges. It is a terrific sport that offers kids a chance to build strength, confidence, and self-esteem while exercising. 

Introduction to Rock Climbing

Indoor rock climbing gyms have given children the opportunity to experience this sport in a controlled climbing environment. They are supervised by skilled professionals where they can learn and experience how to rock climb safely, and not have to contend with factors like weather.  

A fun introduction to rock climbing can be through a birthday party, after school program or summer camp where your child will have fun while gaining skills.   

Rock Climbing Lessons

If your child shows interest in rock climbing then you should consider beginner rock climbing lessons at an indoor gym or through a professional outdoor guides at major climbing areasMany gyms offer group, semi-private and private lessons as well as day camps, week camps and youth expeditions.  Check to make sure the school is reputable and that the instructors are certified through a nationally recognized climbing organization.  It is important to ask them what  your child will be qualified to do after one of their sessions.

Introductory group lessons will teach basic rock climbing safety skills such as putting on and tying into a harness, belaying and safety commands.  Climbing techniques, rappelling, and anchor building are some others areas of instruction. 

For those who have children that are really committed to rock climbing you should consider having them participate on a kid's rock climbing team.  This will give them ongoing instruction from professionals in a safe setting.  These teams can be found in indoor climbing gyms as well.  Many will have the option to join a competitive team or a recreational team. 

Some secondary schools and a lot of colleges now have climbing walls and will offer a rock climbing club.  My kids school has a rock climbing wall and they have a section on rock climbing in their Physical Education class that is a huge hit with the kids .

Cost and Age Restrictions

Prices and age restrictions for rock climbing vary based on location.  Some programs are available for children as young as 3 years old but the majority begin at the age of 5 or 6.  You want to make sure your child is mature enough to understand and follow the rules required for rock climbing.

Prices will vary based on location and the type of program or instruction selected.  Introductory lessons will cost approximately $150 for an 8 week session at 1.5 hours per week. The cost of summer camps can range from $200 to $750 depending on the time span, and location.  On-site camps will normally offer a half day or full day option.  Most adventure camps can range from 1 week to 1 month and will be off-site. You can always go with the pay-per-climb option until you feel your child is ready for serious lessons.  This will cost approximately $50 for 10 climbs.


Popular Rock Climbing Mountains

There are just a small proportion of the many thousands of mountains and cliffs around the world that are popular for rock climbing:

Click Here for Mountains Suitable for Climbing


Rock Climbing Rating System

Climbers need to know the characteristics of a mountain and the severity of the climb prior to their excursion.  There are a variety of widely accepted rating systems that have been developed and are used around the world.  The rate determines the difficulty of the climb based on stamina required, level of commitment, danger and difficulty or required moves.  Each of the grading systems considers these factors in a different way therefore ratings vary from one country to another.  

The Yosemite Decimal system is used in the United States.  The first number determines the class of the climb and the second number refers to difficulty.  Other notable rating systems include the following:

  • UIAA system which is used by Western Germany, Switzerland and Austria.

  • The Ewbank system is used in Australia, South Africa and New Zealand.

  • The British grading system is used in Great Britain and Ireland.

  • France, Spain and Italy use the French rating System.

The French rating system is slowly becoming the international standard, at least for really difficult climbs.