There are a lot of “unspoken” rules to climbing, some of which are so subtle that they take years to learn. Because of these non-overt rules there is this kind of “mean girl” humor about newb’s amongst climbers. I know we are all guilty of doing this at some point. I always feel bad though when I see a climber, who is clearly new to the sport, doing something really silly or obnoxious. Maybe its because I was a newb once too, or because I was nerdy in middle school and people made fun of me, or maybe its because I am a social worker and have a genuine concern for the well being of others. Regardless, I think, as bad ass climber chicks, we need to take it upon ourselves to help teach new climbers the things they need to know, rather than making fun of them behind their backs because they don’t know better. Oh, and by the way, here is some information on the “official” difference between noob and newb:

The top 10 things you should know if you are a new climber, aka: “newb”

1. Don’t boulder with your harness on. Also, you don’t need to load your harness up with gear to go climb at the gym. You don’t need a full rack of trad gear on your harness to sport climb a 5.9.

newb style, she looks strong though

bouldering newb style, she’s got some muscle though

2. Distracted belaying is dangerous belaying. Don’t interrupt someone who is belaying. Saying “hi” to your long lost sorority sister can wait until their climbing partner is safely on the ground.

3. Don’t ask people how hard they can climb, watch them and if they are climbing around your grade, join them.

4. Don’t brag and don’t give beta (the way to do the problem), unless someone specifically asks for help or you are climbing together. You can say “Want beta?”

5. The first thing you should buy is your own climbing shoes…nothing yells NEWB like wearing a pair of gym shoes with socks Oh, and please DO NOT dare wearing Vibram Five Fingers to climb in.


newb bouldering in a harness and Five Fingers

icky gym shoes

icky gym shoes with socks

6. Don’t think you know everything, actually don’t think you know anything. Just because you took a belay class at the gym last week doesn’t mean you know jack shit about climbing. Learning about climbing takes time, open mindedness, practice and responsibility.

7. If you don’t know something, ask, you are responsible for your safety. nothing makes you look stupider than falling 40 feet because you clipped the auto belay into your chalk bag

8. LISTEN to the Enormocast (or other climbing podcasts), READ climbing blogs, WATCH climbing videos, GET ON Mountain Project.

     splitter_logo_black1             405705_340534842623315_1523055823_n








9. Wear appropriate climbing attire…if you are not sure what that means, click on the picture below.

10. Be open minded to the suggestions of other climbers and do not take it negatively if someone offers you advice…it could save your life.

Have fun and don’t forget to finish your 8 knot!!


You know you are a bad ass climber chick if:

  • you don’t mind the look of chipped nail polish  and you won’t let the lady at the nail salon touch your calluses


  • there is spilled chalk that you haven’t had the chance to clean up in some area of your home or car
  • all of your leggings have holes in the butt
  • your friends ask you why your car smells like feet
  • you spend more money on Patagonia, La Sportiva and Prana than you do on C&C California, Michael Kors, or Prada.


  • people wonder what kind of relationship you are in because of the bruises all over your legs and cuts on your hands
  • you aren’t shy when it comes to talking about poop
  • it’s hard find a guy because you “only date climbers”
  • you don’t have to watch what you eat, carbs = power

Nom face on Cat in the Hat in Red Rocks, Nevada

  • people introduce you as a “professional” rock climber (even though you only climb V3, shhhhh, they don’t know what that means)
  • if you run out of toilet paper or tampons at home you always have extra in your climbing pack
  • you have seriously considered wearing hiking pants, sports bras, approach shoes, etc. to work
  • you have to size up your tops, jackets and dresses because otherwise you can’t get them over your shoulders without them ripping


  • your sister thinks you are “granola”
  • you don’t care if he has a job as long as he can climb V8 or ascend 13s. The girl version of beer goggles!
  • Taking two trips to carry groceries from your car is not an option. You hang a bag from each finger and consider it training
  • you are planning on naming your future child or pet: Grigri, Crimp, Beta, Sharma, Sierra Nevada, Purcell Prusik, Buttermilk, Whitney Portal, or some other insane climbing term or destination


  • your life evolves around your next climbing trip