Climbing is an activity that many people love because it is both fun and physically challenging. While many are happy to simply climb different indoor climbing walls or find new rock faces to climb outdoors, others like to spice things up a bit and play climbing games with their fellow climbers. These are lots of fun and a great thing to do when spending time with people who share your passion for climbing. They can also have a practical purpose as you can use games as part of your rock climbing training. If you would like to try some climbing games, either for fun or for training, here are 15 of the best climbing games with instructions on how to play them.
15 Best Climbing Games for Indoor & Outdoor Climbing
1. Climbing Twister
This game uses the basic concept of the popular Twister game but has a climbing twist. You can play this game at either an indoor climbing wall or in an outdoor setting. This game challenges you to try different maneuvers and find different hand and footholds than you may usually use.
- Climbing ropes
- Either a Twister spinner or an auto Twister spinner app
How to Play Climbing Twister
- Either download the auto Twister spinner app, find a spinner from a regular Twister game, or make your own simple spinner.
- An allocated person spins the spinner on behalf of the first player who must then follow the given instruction to move either their left or right arm or leg onto a hand or foothold.
- The spinner is then spun again, and the player follows the instructions for a second time.
- This process is repeated until they can no longer make any moves safely.
- The second player then begins their turn using the same rules.
- The winner is the person who reaches the highest point on the rock face or climbing wall.
Add-on is a bouldering climbing game that is better suited to an indoor climbing wall, although you can play it outdoors. You will need a minimum of two players to play this game. It is a great training game as it helps with endurance, memorizing sequences, and route-finding. There is no other equipment needed other than your general climbing gear.
How to Play Add-On
- Before you begin, the group should choose a sequence of between three and four moves and decide which climber will go first.
- Each player begins the game with three lives.
- The first player completes the sequence of moves and then comes back down the wall.
- The second player then takes their turn at completing the sequence.
- If the second player cannot complete the sequence, they lose a life.
- If they do complete the sequence, they can add on another move to the sequence that the next players must also use as part of their sequence.
- The next player completes the new sequence. Again, they will either add another move or lose a life depending on whether they can complete the sequence or not.
- If a player loses all three lives, they are out of the game.
- The game continues until the remaining players reach the top of the wall, the players run out of climbing room, or only one player is left standing.
- A variation of this game is to choose one direction in which the players complete the sequences first and then switch to the other direction.
Climbers can play this game alone or against their fellow climbers. It can help with creative route-finding, dynamic movement, and figuring out beta. There is no addition climbing equipment other than your usual gear needed for this game.
How to Play Eliminator
- Before starting, the lone player or the group must choose a route or boulder problem that is suitable for the abilities and limitations of those playing the game.
- Each climber takes a turn at completing the route or boulder problem.
- When everyone has completed the sequence, one player chooses a move to remove. This makes it trickier to complete the sequence next time.
- In each round, another move is removed from the sequence until either only one person or nobody can complete the sequence.
4. Lucky Draw
This rock climbing game is suitable for either a lone player or a group of players. It is an easy game to play that will differ each time it is played. In terms of training, it will help you to figure out the best moves to use and is also good for unlocking beta, creative thinking, and sequence creation.
- Your usual climbing gear
- Pen and paper
- A bag or hat
How to Play Lucky Draw
- Cut up small pieces of paper and write on the pieces different climbing maneuvers. For example, you can write things like heel hook, right-hand dyno, gaston, drop-knee, or left-hand lockoff.
- Put all the pieces of paper in a bag or hat.
- Pull out three or four pieces of paper without looking into the bag.
- Using the moves on the pieces of paper you have selected, try to create different sequences that use all the moves.
- If you are playing with other people, take turns at choosing the papers and creating sequences.
5. Climbing Golf
Climbing golf uses the golf principles of completing a hole in as few shots as possible but is related to climbing as the players must complete a sequence in as few holds as possible. This game can help with endurance, deadpoint movement, dynamic movement, and route-finding. You need at least two players.
- Regular climbing gear
- Homemade scorecards and pens
How to Play Climbing Golf
- Before beginning the game, players should plan at least six marked routes or boulder problems that are suitable for the abilities of the players. Each route or problem represents a golf course hole.
- Players take it in turns to complete the first route or problem using as few holds as possible. The holds are the equivalent to strokes in golf.
- If a person falls off the wall, there is a penalty of three strokes.
- As each person completes a problem or route, keep track of their number of holds on the scorecards.
- Repeat for each of the routes or problems until there are none left to complete.
- Add up the scores on the scorecards. The winner is the person who has used the least number of holds to complete all the sequences.
If you prefer a wall climbing game to play alone, then this is a fun option that is suitable for both indoor and outdoor climbing. It is one of the simplest games to play and it is fantastic for power and endurance training. There is no extra equipment needed for this simple bouldering game.
How to Play Lemon-Limes
- Choose a bouldering route that is suitable for your skill level.
- Make the first two moves of the route and then reverse back down the wall.
- Next, make through moves up the wall and then reverse the sequence.
- Repeat this process adding an extra move each time until you are completing the full sequence both up the wall and back down.
7. Hot Lava
One of the easiest and best rock climbing games to play is Hot Lava. This is a game that you can play alone or with other players and it is good for route finding and endurance.
- Usual climbing gear
How to Play Hot Lava
- Mark off an area of the climbing wall with string.
- The area within the string is the hot zone and players cannot use any holds within the marked off area.
- Choose starting and finishing points on the wall.
- Players must climb up or across the wall from start to finish without using any of the holds in the hot zone.
Pick-up is a fun climbing game for younger climbers that involves them collecting items from around a climbing wall. Not only will they enjoy this activity, but they will also learn how to plan different routes across a climbing wall and build their confidence as climbers. An adult variation of this is to use hoops to collect.
- Toys, hoops, or other items to collect
- Regular climbing equipment
How to Play Pick-Up
- Position toys, hoops, or other items at various points on a climbing wall.
- Players must collect as many items from the wall as possible using different routes.
- The player that collects the most items wins.
9. Rock Climbing Tag
This is a climbing variation of a classic game of tag that people of all ages can play. It is just for fun and will not necessarily benefit training. You need at least two people to play this game. but you do not need any other equipment except your usual climbing gear.
How to Play Rock Climbing Tag
- The group spreads out across the wall and attempts to tag the person in front of them.
- If you fall, you must start again at the back of the pack.
- Anyone who is tagged is out.
- The winner is the first to make it up the wall without being tagged.
10. Drag Race
Drag is a rock climbing or bouldering game that needs at least two people as it involves competing against another climber. For training, this game is good for practicing climbing quickly, climbing smoothly, and power-endurance.
- Regular climbing equipment
- Stopwatch or timer
How to Play Drag Race
- Set a timer to 15-minutes for boulder problems or 30-minutes for routes.
- Competing against an opponent, climbers must then complete as many routes or boulder problems within the allocated time.
- Points are allocated for different routes or climbs, with higher points being given for more challenging routes and problems.
- The winner is the person with the most points at the end of the allocated time.
11. Forced Falls
This is a great falling off a building game as the aim of the game is to fall off the climbing wall as though you are falling from a building. It needs two players; one as the belayer and one as the climber. It is a good game for beginners to play as it can help build their confidence and overcome the initial fear they may feel about falling from the wall. No additional equipment is needed to play this game.
How to Play Forced Falls
- One person climbs the wall and the belayer can shout ‘fall’ at any given point.
- The climber must fall from the wall as soon as they are given the command.
- The players then switch roles so that the climber becomes the belayer and vice versa.
12. One Arm
A challenging game, this tests your creativity while climbing and builds your strength. You can play this rock climbing game alone or with others and you need no extra equipment.
How to Play One Arm
- Choose a route for yourself or a group of players to climb.
- Each player puts one arm behind their back before attempting the climb.
- The winner is the person who climbs furthest without falling off the wall or the one that gets to the top quickest.
- A variation of this game involves using only one leg to climb.
13. Shark Attack
Both adults and children can play this game and it is just for fun rather than for training purposes. It is the climbing equivalent to musical chairs and is better-suited to larger groups. You do not need any additional equipment for this game.
How to Play Shark Attack
- Choose one person to lead the game.
- The group stands on the floor next to the climbing wall in an inward facing circle.
- The leader must shout ‘shark attack’ and everyone must run towards the wall and climb on.
- Each person must have both hands and both feet on the wall.
- The last person to climb onto the wall is out.
- The process is repeated until only one person remains.
If you and your fellow climbers want to try a fun climbing game that improves your strength and balance, then hoarse is a simple option. It involves climbers each competing to complete a route or problem using the number of holds decided using a dice.
- Equipment Needed
- Regular climbing gear
- A dice
How to Play Hoarse
- The group decides a route or problem with a defined start and end point.
- The first player then throws the dice to see how many moves they will have to complete the route or problem. Getting to the starting point is not counted as a move.
- Those who do not complete a route are out and only the remaining players will go on to try the next route.
- The next route is decided among the remaining players and the dice is thrown again.
- This continues until only one player is remaining.
Memory is the ideal wall climbing game for climbers that have trouble remembering routes, problems, and sequences. Other than your regular climbing gear, you will not need any other equipment to complete this game. You will need at least two players.
How to Play Memory
- One person decides a sequence that must include between four and 10 moves. You should not make markings on the wall.
- All climbers must then complete the sequence.
- If a climber makes a mistake in the sequence, they are out.
- When all climbers have attempted to complete the sequence, another person creates a new sequence.
- A variation of this game is to add an extra move into each new sequence progressively to make the game increasingly challenging. For example, the first sequence could have four moves, the second sequence five, the third sequence six moves, and so on.
Useful Resources on Climbing:
- Best Beginner Climbing Shoes
- Best Climbing Shoes for Wide Feet
- Inspirational Climbing & Mountain Movies
- Best Climbing Rope Bags
- Best Belay Glasses
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