5 Things You Learn from Climbing (That Also Matter in Real Life)

By Molly Herber

Aug 19, 2016

Like with most sports, it's not just about getting to the top. Read on to see some of the best lessons you learn from rock climbing.

1. Falling is good for you

If you try to climb and fall, that means you’re doing something that’s challenging for you. Challenging yourself means that you’re growing. That growth will help you become more resilient, which will help you off the rock as much as on it!

2. Bring a buddy

For most climbing, you need a buddy, whether that’s someone to spot you at the bouldering gym or catch you on the rope while climbing in the mountains. Your friends form a support group to catch you when you fall, cheer for your successes, and help you grow from your challenges. Helping friends accomplish their goals makes you a better and more compassionate team member. Plus, having a friend to split gear with means more room for snacks.


Photo by Becca Parkinson.

3. Double check, every time

Your life might not depend on you double-checking your essay or email for spelling mistakes, but it’s still a good idea.

Climbing route

Photo by Lindsay Nohl.

4. Don’t measure yourself against others

For some people, success is just making it ten feet off the ground. It’s ok if you’re nowhere near crushing that steep, long terror of a climb, or getting straight As, or getting promotions as quickly as your second cousin. If you’ve made progress based on your skills and goals, then you’re well on the way to what success looks like for you.


Photo by Liam Durkin.

5. Enjoy the view

It takes a lot of work to get to the top, so when you do, make sure you take a look around! Celebrate your successes and let yourself feel gratitude for the spot you’re in right now—and for how far you’ve come.

Find a climbing course that's a fit for you with NOLS!

Written By

Molly Herber

Molly is a NOLS instructor and writer. She loves the smell of her backpack and does her best writing before 7:00 am. When she's not scouting the next post for the NOLS Blog, she's running and climbing on rocks in Wyoming. Follow her on Instagram @mgherber

Up Next

Climber looks down at her feet while ascending a slab

Climbing and the Four Basic Needs: Tuning Into the “Why” Behind the Activity

Climber looks down at her feet while ascending a slab
Climbing with a good friend. Photo by Katie Griffith.

The concept of “transference,” or applying the lessons we learn in the backcountry to our daily lives, has stuck with me since my time as a NOLS student in 2010. Building the skills to direct a team across a glacier gave me more than the ability to avoid a crevasse fall; I left my semester in Patagonia transformed as a leader. Years later, in my personal climbing, I always try to connect with the “why” behind the activity.

Read More