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Climbing and Dating: The Perfect Match?

Published on: 02/08/2022

Who would have thought? Dating for climbers has developed into its own niche. As it turns out, when people in athletic clothing get together and exercise in a positive environment, they often end up finding each other attractive. Crazy, eh?

While it’s nothing new for people to date inside of their hobby, the world of rock climbing presents some uniquely perfect ways to integrate itself into the dating landscape. And it’s not just the pheromones from sweating either. There’s even an app!

Why Climbing and Dating Makes Sense

hikers on a nature date

Easy Ice-Breaker

New climbing friends are easier to make than those in other hobbies/walks of life. We all need a belay partner, hiking buddy, carpool crew, boulder buddy, or simply a climbing partner from time to time. To climb, you have to spend time with others. This means talking to people (even the cute ones, we hope) isn’t nearly as nerve-racking as it would be when you have to manufacture a conversation in a bar.

It also helps that our hobby gives your nerves a good working over. By the end of a session, you’re often relaxed, full of endorphins, and presenting a positive angle of yourself.

Do the Things You Love – Especially the Active Ones

The age-old dating advice goes like this – Keep doing the things you love and eventually you’ll meet the right partner. Which is great advice and all.

It’s just that many of us love sitting around in our underwear, reading books and drinking coffee. Not to mention those of us who love going out to a bar, having a couple of drinks, and cutting loose at the end of long a week.

couple climbers

Now we’re not here to say that either of those two activities is wrong. It’s just that neither of them is ideal for finding your ideal partner – they’re not even great for making new friends.

Reading in your underwear is a solo affair (until you’ve found the right relationship) and the bar and club often have all the subtlety of an old-timey horse fair. Not to mention you aren’t necessarily at your best when cutting loose at the end of a long week… Despite whatever you may imagine at the time.

Honest Chat and Eye Contact

At the crag, it’s pretty normal to look at others as they climb. Whether we can learn from their prowess or recognize ourselves in their mistakes, watching others helps us learn. This cuts down on one potential source of awkwardness.

gym climbers dating

There’s also a sense of community around climbing that’s unlike other activities. Climbing culture generally encourages honest interaction, giving advice, and eventually the swapping of details. People are often looking for climbing buddies.

They mightn’t have any romantic intent and you have to be careful not to mistake friendliness for interest. But the fact that swapping numbers in climbing is so common, makes it at least a little less embarrassing to ask for those digits.

Why Date Climbers?

couple hiking boots mountain

On dating apps, seeing a climbing picture on a person’s profile takes that person up a notch – admit it. And it isn’t simply that we share a hobby. If people, guys or women, are climbers, we can make some assumptions about their lifestyle, fitness levels, and priorities. Climbers are fit, as a rule. But so are gym bunnies – and they don’t get the same boost for their bicep picture on the app.

A climbing picture in someone’s profile also (and maybe more importantly) is a sign of adventure. Whether they’re more passionate about the hiking, bouldering, bushcraft, bouldering, or camping part, it doesn’t matter.

Having a partner that wants to hit the trail with you on the weekend will keep you sane as a climber. There’s no guarantee that climbing dating will be easy. But a shared hobby on a dating app is a positive sign.

couple climbing

Plans for the Weekend?

Climbing partners can be salty people. We get it. Rock climbing takes so much time and energy from its devotees that their significant others feel neglected. And it’s not just the evenings in the gym. It’s the weekend trips that cause most contention.

And while there are couples who can manage it (we’ve seen this happen when the non-climber of the couple is equally obsessed with something else). Having a partner who’s enthusiastic about trips to the crag and weeknights at the gym makes life for a climber so much easier.

A fellow climber is much more likely to understand the weekends away, chalk residue in the laundry basket, and stink from your rock shoes. It can be hard to date non-climbers if they don’t understand the depth of your passion.

Vetted by the Scene

couple belaying rock climbing

Someone’s being a climber doesn’t guarantee that you will become friends. And it certainly isn’t a sign of a potential romantic relationship. But a shared passion does increase the odds that you’ll get along. It also makes talking to people easier.

In a bar or club, you have to think of something to say, deliver the line, then hope you can keep the ball in the air long enough to break the ice and make an impression. You also have no idea about the person you’re approaching. In a club, everything is based on the person’s looks.

When you chat to someone at the gym or crag, you already know what they’re interested in and have a natural jumping-off point. Climbers love climbing! But you can also safely assume they love the outdoors in general.

This might be mostly a guy thing, but asking questions about equipment is a great ice-breaker. Typical male climbers will wax lyrical about their new shoes, chalk, tent, rope, etc for (literally) hours on end.

Weeding Out the Weird

climber belaying her friend

There’s also the likelihood that some of the worst romantic picks for you will be filtered out by your local climbing scene. This may sound like a bit of a stretch, so stick with us while we explain. If your closest friend says they have someone they want to introduce you to, you tend to listen.

Your friend knows you, your sense of humor, your likes and dislikes, and your general temperament. In short, your friend might have a pretty good idea of what you want/need from a romantic relationship. You’d listen to this person’s recommendations based on these factors. So like the filter on a dating app, your friend automatically rejects potential matches they know won’t work.

What if the clerk at your local convenience store told you he wants you to meet his cousin? You only know the guy to say hello to, you’ve never met his family, and have no social ties to him whatsoever. Are you as likely to trust this guy’s judgment as much as your friend’s? Of course not.

gym climbers top rope

Now we know your best friend is not the same thing as the hundreds/thousands of people that make up your local climbing scene. But the same principle applies. If you generally get along with other climbers and other climbers get along with you – there’s a better chance you both attract the same kinds of people socially.

And you probably vet the same kind of people too. Finding relationships (both platonic and romantic) that work for you is easier in a social group with similar values, dreams, and ambitions to you. Talk to people while you climb. You’ll be glad you did.

Why Avoid Dating Climbers?

hikers nature

Apart from the standard – the relationship went bad and now it’s awkward at the gym, there are a number of potential caveats to dating inside your hobby. Relationships can fulfill a lot of roles in life. For some people, the most profound relationship of their life will be one that changes them significantly.

Each person has their own story. But inside an activity like climbing, people are quite socially uniform and there’s a clear lack of diversity. You may close yourself off to some opportunities for development if you insist on dating inside your own hobby.

Note: Being someone’s belay partner can put an extra strain on romantic relationships.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

sunset couple nature

Are there Dating Apps For Climbers?

Boulder iOS App

Climbing and dating have proven such good bedfellows (forgive the semi-pun), that a free dating app specific to this niche has emerged. The Boulder app from Windfall Apps LLC is the brainchild of Wisam Alhamad, a novice climber who noticed a tendency in climbing gyms – lots of flirting, eye contact, and smiles between climbers. But for all this, he saw few opportunities for people to ask each other out due to social constraints.

The Boulder iOS app currently has about 12,000 users globally, with hotspots in climbing areas like Colorado, Nevada, and Utah. Like every other free dating app, the Boulder app is taking off in urban areas and allows users to extend their search range to 100 miles. Most urban areas in the US will have a small but growing number of users and Boulder app profiles are popping up from Sydney to London

couple bouldering date

In addition to verifying that users are climbers, Boulder has settings to show each users’ experience level and the type of climbing they prefer. The usual information on a dating app is also present. An example of where the Boulder app could improve is the nuance in the ability level selection.

When the only options are beginner, intermediate, and advanced – everyone tends to select intermediate. Choosing advanced sounds cocky and beginner probably doesn’t fit the average person who’s downloaded a climbing-specific free dating app like the Boulder app.

Though in its infancy, the Boulder app can help you cut through some of the guesswork in dating, allowing you to search through a bunch of single climbers. At present, the Boulder app is also exclusively a dating app. Its creator, Wisam Alhamad feels there are other sites that do a good job of connecting platonic climbing pals and plenty of dating apps to connect non-climbers.

What’s unique about the Boulder app is that it’s both exclusively for climbing and dating. People can use an app or the internet to search for a local club or climb buddies. And many countries have a sports matching website or fitness matching app.

Note: For a list of these websites and other tips on finding climbing friends, check out this article below: https://climbinghouse.com/how-to-find-partners/

Is There a Dating Website to Search for Climbers?

couple first date climbing gym

Fitness Singles is the closest website we could find. This site caters to all fitness and outdoor enthusiasts, so you’re more likely to find a climber there than anywhere else. It’s not a climber-specific site but there are search filters.

Is Rock Climbing Good for a Date?

Our short answer here is a resounding yes. And it doesn’t have to be climbing. Any activity where there’s a focus, things to learn, and a chance to have some fun is a safe bet for a fun date. Climbing is as good as any activity for a first date (and better than some).

Whether you’re an experienced climber and your date a novice or you’re both beginners, getting out into the open air (or into a busy gym) is a fun way to break the ice. There’s also lots to remember, scenery to point out (sometimes), and many laughs – awkward silences are unlikely.

couple outdoor climbing in the sun

Relationships that spring from an experience like someone’s first climb are off to a good start. Also, on the off chance that the date doesn’t work out, you may either find a new climbing partner, inspire someone to take up the hobby, or have a laugh climbing with someone new.

The climbing community is pretty happy-go-lucky when it comes to carpooling, making friends, and finding partners. All of this friendliness and mingling is a good way to meet new people.

Potential First Date Problems

If you’re going to take someone climbing, there are some things worth considering. One big one for us is – Is this going to strike fear into them? And we don’t just mean the heights and climbing part. In addition to being fairly socially uniform, climbing gyms can seem physically homogenous too.

Although we know there are (in reality) a range of fitness, ability, and experience levels in any gym. To the uninitiated, everyone is young and fit. If your date is not especially athletic or confident, they might feel intimidated.

One Comment

  1. So this is why all the guys on climbing social media groups act like predators. Now it makes sense. Will start emphathising that I’m not looking for sex/dating each time I look for a climbing partner, now that wouldn’t be weird at all.

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