Outdoor vs Indoor Climbing: Pros and Cons

Outdoors are the place to be one with nature. This is where climbing was born from the inspiration of our forefathers. These are the pros and cons of climbing outdoors:


  • Use any hold you would like
  • Fresh air
  • It’s free! (for the most part, some areas like, national parks, require a small entrance fee)
  • The adventure is amazing, the amount of nature to explore is almost limitless
  • Climb any time, any day
  • More variety to climbs: taller, cool caves, different styles of holds
  • Bring your dog (most climbing areas are dog friendly)


  • Too hot/too cold
  • Rain/Snow
  • Sun in your eyes
  • Cost at certain parks
  • Long approach to climbs (I’m not a fan of long hikes)*
  • Difficult to find where route starts
  • Hard to find holds
  • Takes a long time to set up
  • Figure out how to get your gear down, if you can’t finish the route
  • Carry all of your gear
  • Have to bring a crash pad
  • No bathroom
  • No sink to wash your hands
  • No chairs
  • More dangerous

*disclaimer: not all approaches are long! As I mentioned, I am not a big fan of long hikes, fortunately, I don’t have to sacrifice outdoor climbing because of the approach. There are many canyons, for example, Big and Little Cottonwood and American Fork, which have the shortest approaches (some climbs are ten feet from the road).

There are advantages and disadvantages to climbing at an indoor gym. Whether or not you’re an outdoor enthusiast, an indoor gym can be an excellent place to train. Here are the pros and cons of indoor gym climbing:


  • Social scene – You are likely to meet more friends and climbing partners
  • Access to several routes, quickly!
  • Can climb more routes in a shorter time
  • Routes are changed periodically to provide variety
  • There is no hike to approach climbs
  • Top ropes and quick-draws are already set up
  • Clearly marked routes (routes are marked with tape or matching-colored holds)
  • Great for training (a lot of gyms have a separate area with training equipment)
  • Air conditioning/heat
  • Rent equipment (gyms supply harness, shoes, and a belay device)
  • Soft floor and padding to land on


  • Plastic holds create wear and tear faster on your shoes
  • You can only use marked holds
  • Cost of day pass (ranges from $10-$20 for an adult day pass)
  • Crowded
  • Only open certain hours
  • Climbs/holds are not realistic (you do not usually see teddy bear shaped holds outside)
  • No pets allowed

There are great advantages for climbing both indoor and outdoor. If you are fortunate to have both options, within a reasonable distance, then climbing indoor vs outdoor is a personal choice. I prefer, both! I like to climb indoors during the winter and at night. The gym is a perfect place to train and meet belay buddies to go outside with, but there is nothing like climbing outdoors. The fresh air and radiant sun makes you feel alive. The views are amazing and the rock is incredible to climb on. The way the rock is formed and some of the holds you just cannot recreate indoors. For these reasons, I will continue to climb indoor and outdoor.



Do you have any pros or cons to add to this list? Comment Below!


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