Is Bouldering Expensive? – (Make It Cheaper)

Did you finally discover what bouldering is, and want to try it out but you are wondering if is bouldering expensive or not? Is that sport affordable, and how much should I invest to start bouldering? Don’t worry we will cover those questions and show you how you can lower those costs to a minimum so stay with us to learn more.

Bouldering, in general, is a low cost sport and affordable for almost anyone at the beginning of your adventure, but when you will reach a higher level then it can start to be expensive, but it will take years for you to reach those levels so don’t worry too much, and let’s focus on the most basic things for the beginning. If you don’t have anything for the climbing yet, then you will have to spend about 50$ USD to even think about bouldering, but if you want to follow the right path and buy the most important gear then the cost will be about 150$ USD to cover up the basic expenses and tickets to enter the gym.

Later down in this article, we will describe 2 cases based on the amount that you want to spend, the first will be the bare minimum to start and the second will be what we recommend to begin with.

Is bouldering expensive
Is bouldering expensive?

If you want to start you should at least have a gym outfit like shorts and a t-shirt, and also some climbing shoes but those can be expensive, so for the start, even your old trainers should be enough. The average price for cheap climbing shoes is around 100 $ USD so they are expensive but that is the most expensive thing in your basic climbing gear, and we can move to the cheaper things like chalk or magnesium carbonate.

A bag of chalk and magnesium carbonate will cost you about 5$ USD, and it will last for about 10 to 15 bouldering sessions, and after that, you will need to buy a new one. For example, you should do some 2 days break between every bouldering session so that will give us about 10 sessions in a single month. Also, remember that if you want to buy chalk you will need a chalk bag and that will cost about 10$ USD dollars.

Let’s jump into the real deal and sum everything up. We will describe here 2 cases, the first will be the cheapest possible, and the second will focus on the important things that we recommend you to buy if you want to try bouldering more than once or twice.

What is the bare minimum cost to start bouldering?

“The bare minimum cost to start bouldering” case will focus only on the things necessary to even enter the bouldering gym:

  • Trainers or running shoes – The climbing shoes, in general, should let your feet generate more friction, and also stiffen your foot to let you move freely on the footholds. Unfortunately, there aren’t many types of shoes that would let you stiffen your foot, but the trainers and running shoes have soles that would give you some friction, and also they are light which is an important factor. I bet you can find something similar to this in your wardrobe but if not, then the cost of simple trainers should be around 20$ USD.
  • Gym passes/tickets – That is a must to enter the bouldering gym, and it highly depends on the state or country that you live in but the average price should be around 15$ USD for a day pass. You can lower that number with a monthly pass for example and that will give you a much lower cost after 10 sessions on average, so consider buying a monthly pass.
  • Sport outfit – A plain t-shirt with shorts should be enough and you will be able to find something similar in your wardrobe, but even when you don’t have anything to wear for a bouldering session (which I highly doubt), then the cost of cheap shorts with a t-shirt should be about 15$ USD 

In this case, we won’t add anything that is not necessary like chalk, gloves, or bags, so let’s sum this up and that will give us a range of 20$ to 50$ USD depending on the things that you can have already in your wardrobe, so make sure to check it out before buying anything. To be precise if you can use some of your old clothes and shoes then your only cost will be a ticket!

bouldering equipment
bouldering equipment

What is recommended to start bouldering?

In this case, we will add things that you should have after 2 months since you have started bouldering that will be handy for you:

  • Climbing shoes – Shoes will be the most expensive out of all here, the average price for poorly rated climbing shoes will be around 100$ USD, be they will give a huge boost. If you previously used only trainers then you will fall in love with your new poor climbing shoes and don’t buy anything expensive because you won’t be able to use them like a pro, and you can do a wrong decision like buying shoes that are too big, or you will feel better in lace-up shoes rather than velcro shoes.
  • Chalk or magnesium carbonate – Chalk will make your hands dryer to increase the coefficient of friction generated by your palms, you have to know that chalk in climbing is a common thing and everyone uses it, so don’t avoid it and go with the flow. You can buy magnesium and chalk at your local bouldering gym for about 5$ USD, but note that you will need a chalk bag to store your chalk somewhere and that will be an additional 10$ USD for a cheap chalk bag. So if you want to lower the cost use magnesium carbonate.
  • Sport outfit – There are branded suits specialized for climbers but most climbers wear normal shorts, and many don’t even wear a shirt (That’s common in bouldering to off the shirt as a man). A cheap sports outfit should be around 15$ USD, just note that clothes don’t matter in bouldering unless you want to show off a bit, but in general weight of your outfit won’t make much difference.
  • Protein drinks – You can use plain water but after a workout, it’s good to drink something that will give your body a protein supply to make you stronger with every session. That can cost about 20$ USD for a full bag of protein powder.
  • Gym passes / tickets – As we described above, the day pass costs around 15$ USD but we recommend you to buy a monthly pass if you are sure that you are going to visit a bouldering gym quite often, which will lower the cost of an entry pass.

If we sum this case up then it will be in the range of 150$ to 200$ USD to pay for the basic and important bouldering gear, and we highly recommend buying those.

There are many things to prepare for your bouldering session, that’s why we’ve recently added a great article about “How to prepare for a first bouldering session?” Make sure to check it out to not forget about something important for your first bouldering session.

Will bouldering become expensive after some time?

When you will be more experienced after let’s say 2 years then you can have additional expenses like crash pads for outdoor bouldering, and travel costs related to this. Also, the bouldering can lead to some injuries so health consultations should be added. I bet that you won’t stop only at the bouldering and you will try normal climbing also, and the gear for it is more expensive.

Climbers tend to look for a diet to improve their skills because lower body weight will give you big results on the wall. The cost of the diet can differ a lot, but overall if we sum this up even when you will be more experienced then bouldering or climbing won’t become an expensive sport unless you want to travel around the world to climb your dream boulders.

In summary – Is bouldering expensive?

Bouldering is considered to be a cheap sport because you don’t need to buy full climbing gear. Only shoes, sports outfits, and bouldering gym passes are needed to start. You can easily go under 50$ USD before you start bouldering.