Sometimes when setting up rock climbs for people you will have climbers of various abilities and yet not have enough resources to set up enough climbs so that everyone has something that is hard enough to keep the interested.

In a case like this, are there any ways to make a rock climb harder for the the more skilled climbers to keep the interested?

  • 1
    I feel like this is a poll/big list type question. I can probably list at least a couple of dozen ways to make a climb more challenging.
    – StrongBad
    Feb 12, 2018 at 18:33
  • @StrongBad If I make it a community wiki would that work? Feb 12, 2018 at 18:33
  • 4
    I'm voting to close this question as off-topic because it will generate a big list of equally valid ways of making a climb more challenging.
    – StrongBad
    Feb 12, 2018 at 18:34
  • 1
    I don't think making something CW gets around the issue that it is a big list/poll question.
    – StrongBad
    Feb 12, 2018 at 18:35
  • @StrongBad See this one outdoors.stackexchange.com/questions/17595/… and there are a few more that fit the same format. Feb 12, 2018 at 18:37

3 Answers 3


The most common way to add difficulty to a climbing route is to climb it without using all the available features in the rock. There's a popular top roping crag in Waterton Lakes National Park that sees a lot of traffic. To mix things up a bit, the locals will climb the routes without using specific types of features, such as no horizontal cracks, no closed hold jugs, no pinches, etc. Or they'll play a variation of the climbing game "take-away" where the climbers will choose holds to eliminate from the route.

Another fun variation is to climb as dynamically as possible, skipping past entire sections of the route, or seeing who can add in the biggest dyno possible.

Once you've dyno'd all you can, you can try to campus as much of the route as possiple, or add in ridiculous beta, like unnecessary heel hooks or bat hangs.

After you've climbed a route enough times, you can start climbing it as fast as you can, to see who can red-point the route the fastest. Alternatively you could try to see who can climb the route with the fewest number of moves.

The most daring of challenges is to go full Honnold on the route and free-solo it (For expert climbers only! If you can't climb a route with ease, knowing for a surety you can climb it flawlessly without risk of taking a fall, then you should never attempt it).

  • 3
    I'm just making a note I'm upvoting this answer except for the bit about free soloing. I don't think we should be posting public climbing advice to random people here that makes a route that much more dangerous if you don't know exactly what you're doing.
    – Monster
    Feb 13, 2018 at 6:29

Some of the ways to make a rock climb more difficult include,

  • No hands touching the rock.
  • Climbing blindfolded.
  • Two climbers climbing as in a three legged race.
  • Avoiding certain holds.
  • Climbing really slowly.
  • Climbing really fast.
  • Different colored holds for different difficulties
  • Added weight for experienced/stronger climbers
  • 1
    Climb while drunk, climb while on fire, climb while fighting bears…
    – stib
    Nov 7, 2018 at 3:27

Just use the rule that you're not allowed to touch a hold with a hand until you've first touched it with a foot.

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