Climbing partners are essential. Not many climbers come into the gym with their AirPods in, boulder, and go straight home. Most climbers appreciate a climbing partner! While ticking off those routes is necessary, climbing partners also help bring the motivation and try hard to boulder and training sessions. 

An adult climber guiding two young climbers climbing a wall

But can anyone be a climbing partner? Sure, if you climb together, that’s all there is. However, just climbing together doesn’t make them the perfect climbing partner. You’ve inevitably found yourself in a situation like this: You want to top-rope with someone, and all they want to do is sit on the boulder mats and talk. Maybe they’re the climber commenting on every other climber’s outfit or climbing style. Or maybe they are just never available. 

Whew! Talk about mood-killers in the gym! Hopefully, none of those climbing partner descriptions strike a chord. . . To help you find your ideal climbing partner, we’ve compiled the following tips to help you narrow down the field and find the person who will complete your belay-tionship (or train/boulder with you, sport climbing is unnecessary)!

Top 5 Tips for What to Look for in the Perfect Climbing Partner

Tip #1: They have a similar schedule to you.

A person may make an epic climbing partner but is never free when you’re free. So what’s the point? Find someone with similar availability for the specific days you want to head to the climbing gym weekly!

Tip #2 They have similar climbing goals. 

This tip doesn’t mean you both have to climb the same grades. It is possible to have a perfect climbing partnership between a V4 climber and a V9 climber. However, it is helpful when they have the same training desires, whether that means only sport climbing, only bouldering, or a combination of both plus general fitness training. 

Tip #3: You have to have a good connection. 

While this may imply a romantic connection, we promise being romantically involved is not a condition for the perfect climbing partner. Instead, ensure you can effectively communicate with each other and efficiently work together. It’s great if your significant other fulfills the role of the perfect climbing partner. Still, as long as you and the other climber can balance conversation and fun with sufficient climbing, that’s great!

Tip #4: They have to motivate you to try hard. 

Sure, good climbing partners are optimistic and kind, but the perfect climbing partner will also push you. We’re not saying you need a climbing partner who will yell at you on the wall; that’s arguably counterproductive. Instead, the perfect climbing partner should know when to nudge you to try a little more complicated, go one more rep, more move. Motivating yourself to go that extra 1% intrinsically is hard, but that’s what your climbing partner is there for, and you’ll do the same for them. 

Tip #5: They have to embrace the climbing community. 

It’s great to have the perfect go-to climbing partner, but inevitably there will be times when you climb with a larger group or another person due to scheduling, social events, etc. Your climbing partner must understand that the climbing community extends beyond your climbing partnership, whether that entails having a third person join your dynamic duo on occasion or forgoing a planned session for a community event. Ultimately, as long as you’re both on the same page, the climbing partnership will work smoothly. 

With all these tips, you may start thinking about who you know at the climbing gym that would make the perfect climbing buddy for you. Or these tips affirmed that your current training partner is already perfect! Either way, we hope these tips were helpful, and we would love to hear what you think characterizes the ideal climbing partner in the comments below!