How Cold Is Too Cold For Climbing? – (Stay Warm Outside)

Every climber at some point in life wants to go outside and try rock climbing, it just comes naturally. Those trips can be very different and will depend on our needs for example if we are going climbing in autumn we should ask “Will it be too cold for climbing?” or “What should I wear for climbing in cold temperature?” and many more, but we will give you all necessary answers and make sure to prevent to from catching a cold!

Let’s start with the main topic’s question which is “How cold is too cold for climbing?” a simple answer for that is every day that’s above 0 degrees celsius can be a great day for climbing, but it depends mostly on the things that you will be wearing, and some other aspects that we will be talking in a while. Note that places outside cities tend to be a bit colder, and the temperature on your phone won’t show that difference, due to technical issues, so you should always expect a lower temperature on your climbing spot in the wild.

Weather conditions that should make you stop climbing

Some weather conditions can ruin your climbing trip, but you should watch out for them just to be safe. Weather conditions that will make it almost impossible to climb are:

  • Raining – all of our clothes wet very quickly which can lead us to get sick, also our route will get harder due to the wet surface. When the holds are dry it is easier for the climber to generate more friction on it with his or her hands.
  • Wind – The wind is often ignored, but it can be very dangerous and you can see the effects of it the next day. Wind can make you lose body heat a lot faster, and also it is one of the biggest factors in catching a common cold. If you want to know more about it you should check out our new article “Why Am I Sick After Outdoor Rock Climbing?”.
  • Snowing – If the temperature is below zero degrees celsius there is a chance of snowing which can make your climbing route harder than it was before, due to the snow on your holds which with contact with your skin will make snow turn into water, and as we all know dry skin is better for climbers, also the hold will get slippery over time. When handholds are wet there is a chance that they will cover up with an ice surface due to the low temperature and that won’t let you generate much friction.

You should always check the weather forecast before you move to your climbing spot, and remember to check the forecast for the nearest city to that spot and not the city you are living in because that can make a difference.

Weather conditions that should make you stop climbing
Weather conditions that should make you stop climbing

What should I wear for rock climbing?

Climbing outside requires bringing a lot more than you previously did to your local indoor climbing gym. The crashpads to prevent you from injuries after you fall to the ground, some brushes to clean the dirt and chalk off the holds, or warm clothes which we will describe in detail here.

Clothes that can protect your body from cold. Especially if you are climbing in winter, autumn, and even spring. The important thing is to not climb wearing the things that you just have on at the moment you arrive at the spot like a jacket for example.

So at the start, you should wear everything you have to keep your body warm, and that will let you safely get to the climbing spot, and then at that spot, you will change into something more suited for climbing.

What should I wear for rock climbing?
What should I wear for rock climbing?

Things that climbers can wear while rock climbing outside to keep them warm:

  • Scarf – Scarf can make it harder for you to look around at every move you will do, but if you know how to tie it well, then it won’t hold you back, and won’t fall off.
  • Winter hat – A good layer hat is very important because the heat from our body runs out mostly from your head so it’s crucial to wear something warm on your head.
  • Long underwear – It is often forgotten but something under your pants like thermal underwear or long johns will make your lower body part warm, without blocking your movements.
  • Multiple layers on your upper body – If you are wearing a hoodie then make sure to put on yourself something warm like a sweater.

Remember that you can wear many layers on every part of your body but make sure that those layers won’t hold you back while climbing, because too many things will add additional weight and also won’t let your arms and legs move as they used to without all those clothes.

Note that your climbing shoes can be very stiff while they are cold, that’s why you should heat them up before your climbing session because that will make the rubber more flexible. You can use for that your own body’s heat or put your shoes into your coat for a few minutes before your first attempt.

How cold is too cold for climbing?
How cold is too cold for climbing?

In Summary – How cold is too cold for climbing?

Climbers tend to be unstoppable so there is no strict limit to the temperature, but lower temperature means that you will have to wear more layers of clothing on you while climbing, so think about it before you will start to pack up for your climbing trip.

Make sure to check the weather forecast, because the weather conditions can make it impossible for you to climb. Even a drizzle can ruin your rock climbing day, so make sure that you will be climbing in the glare of the sun! If there is a chance of rain or it is going to be a windy day, you should postpone your adventure.

If you want to know more about climbing clothing then you should check out our new article “Should I Wear Gloves While Climbing? – (Is It Safe?)“.