Gym to Crag

Everything you need to know to move from the rock climbing gym to rock climbing outdoors

Moving Indoor Climbers, Outside

Our mission: to help you continue exploring your newfound passion for climbing.

Learn about gear, technique, outdoor ethics, and other topics you need to help transition from the climbing gym to the crag.


Indoor rock climbing is exploding in popularity across the U.S., and it shows no signs of stopping. There are currently over 700 climbing gyms in North America, and the number is still growing every year. 43 new climbing gyms opened in the U.S. alone in 2017, with 13 more in Canada.

This explosion of climbing gyms has made rock climbing more accessible than ever, and each month hundreds of new people are experiencing the joys of the sport. Unfortunately, the rapid expansion of climbing gyms has disrupted the traditional, mentorship aspect of learning to climb.

In the olden days, if you wanted to learn to rock climb, you’d find an older, more experienced climber to take you under their wing. This mentor would be responsible for teaching climbing and safety techniques, knots and equipment management, and passing down outdoor ethics.

Today, if you want to learn to climb, you get a quick, 10-minute lesson on how to top-rope belay from a gym employee. Making the jump from this stage to feeling safe and comfortable rock climbing outside can be really difficult these days. There is an abundance of indoor climbers that might want to get outside, but a lack of experienced mentors to show them the ropes (quite literally).

Even if those mentors might exist in your area, they can be hard to find and harder to engage. Many, many people are forced to look online for advice on how to transition from rock climbing indoors to rock climbing outdoors — they need help moving from the gym to the crag.

That’s cool. We should all be striving for progress.

That’s where we come in.

Gym to Crag is your online climbing mentor.


What is Outdoor Sport Climbing?

In this two-minute video, professional climber Joe Kinder walks you through the basics of sport climbing. Sport climbing is the most popular and most accessible form of outdoor, roped climbing. It's what most people think of when then think about rock climbing — and probably what you are aspiring to learn first!