One of our most frequently asked questions is How do I find climbing partners? Finding a consistent climbing partner can be a daunting task… but the gym is chalk full of potential climbing partners! Check in at the front desk at your local Touchstone Climbing Gym to find out about our next Partner Finder event – or heed these helpful tips.
Get Involved in the Community
Meeting solid climbing partners involves putting yourself out there. Internet forums and bulletin boards at the crag are one way to find new partners, but finding a solid long-term partner involves a little more personal effort. Get involved in the climbing community! Join groups like the Bay Area Climbers Coalition! Attend Access Fund meet ups or American Alpine Club events.
Meet other climbers and become a fixture in the climbing scene. While a boulderer may not want to climb El Capitan with you, they may know someone who will. Attending climbing events at the gym is a guaranteed way to meet new friends and potential climbing partners.
Provide a Perfect Catch
A good climbing partner offers a solid belay or spot. Nothing beats a partner looking out for your safety, and your skills will long way with developing solid partnerships. Beyond being a solid belayer, know how to manage the rope, learn how to clean pro, and how to arrange pads under a boulder problem. Work on your spotting, belaying, and trad climbing skills and any potential partner will be psyched. If you’d like to brush up on your skills so you can be the best partner you can be, check out our monthly climbing clinics.
When climbing with a new partner, be honest with your abilities. Hiking all the way out to the base of a long trad route and then learning your partner has never crack climbed can turn a casual climb into a total epic.
Honesty helps us find better matches and keeps us safe. Let your partner know your experience. If you love to top-rope and don’t want to lead climb, that doesn’t make you a bad partner. Also, don’t overestimate another climber’s abilities. A 5.14 rock jock may be able to crush in the lead cave at Berkeley Ironworks but can’t slab climb in Yosemite to have his life. Begin by climbing conservatively and testing the water. Learn what your partner is comfortable with leading, following, spotting, or bouldering. Establish an honest relationship with any new partner right off the bat to avoid epics later.
Don’t be Flakey
Show up on time. Never flake. Be pleasant to be around. While these ideas seem basic, a surprising number of socially inept climbers forget these basic concepts of human interaction. Being a nice reliable person goes a long way. Buying a huge trad rack, having a nice crash pad, or always driving to the crag are certainly nice… but these things can be bought. Having a great personality and being able to go with the flow are priceless. Being the ideal partner will ensure that anyone who climbs with you will want to climb with you again.
There’s times when everyone seems busy and unable to get to the crag. Head out anyway. A short trip to the boulders may yield a life long friendship. At the very least, climbing is always fun and going out will show potential partners your level of commitment.