Frequently Asked Questions


I’m a beginner and I've never climbed before, can I still join the team?
Of course! A lot of people that initially join the team have never climbed before. We are here to help people get stoked on climbing, and we'll teach you all the necessary techniques you need to know to get better. The climbing wall at Rob Gym has many climbs for beginners to work on. We even have beginner categories for our bi-quarterly in-house competitions where you can compete with teammates of similar skill level and win prizes!

I’m not a beginner, what’s in it for me?
We provide a great environment where people who want to climb better and harder can train and meet other like-minded individuals. We offer boulder problems of higher difficulty at Rob Gym and frequently reset, so that there are always new climbs to work on. We have a Moonboard and a Hangboard for climbing specific workouts, offer two in-house competitions every quarter where prizes can be won, and compete in the USA Climbing Collegiate Climbing Series during the Winter Quarter. Most importantly, we frequently participate in formal and informal outdoor climbing trips throughout the year!

What gear do I need?
The only thing you must always bring is a can-do-attitude. Shoes and chalk are also highly recommended. Both can be bought at REI, although in a pinch, chalk can also be purchased at the Adventure Climbing Center.

How do I join?

You are welcome to attend practice once or twice to see what the team is like, but to become a member of the team, you must sign our general waiver and pay team dues to an officer. As one of the least expensive sport clubs on campus, team dues are $40/quarter or $100/year.  We accept cash, or checks made out to "Adventure Programs Staff".

What’s the difference between the different types of climbing?
- Climbs that go up to 20ft in height, where one climbs without a rope and crash pads are laid out on the ground for protection. To ensure that falls are non-threatening, the UCSB climbing team advocates for several crash pads and active spotting by team members. Active spotting entails watching the teammate that is climbing and guiding their body to the crash pad when they fall, making sure that vital body parts are protected. Any climb higher than 20ft is considered highball bouldering and the UCSB climbing team does not participate in this style of bouldering due to increased risk from fall height.

Top Roping
- Climbs where the rope is threaded through a permanent anchor at the top of the climb. A belayer on one end of the rope will actively take out slack as their climber ascends, and will engage brake to catch their climber if they fall, preventing the climber from hitting the ground.

Sport Climbing
- Climbs with pre-drilled bolts where quickdraws are placed and the rope is clipped to create a temporary anchor as the climber ascends. This is the most commonly practiced form of rope climbing outdoors and involves additional instruction in belay technique and climbing than that of top roping.

Traditional Climbing
- Climbers place removable protection with camming devices that will act as temporary anchor points should they fall or require rest. Like sport climbing, in traditional climbing the climber clips the rope as they ascend to the top, while their belayer belays them in the same manner as if their climber is sport climbing.

*We do not do free-soloing (what Alex Honnold does). 

What types of climbing do we do?

When we are in Rob Gym, we will only be bouldering. Our outdoor trips are predominantly focused on bouldering because it is more accessible to large groups and we have several team crash pads. However, many members of the climbing team are avid rope climbers and go on informal trips with more emphasis on this type of climbing. Additionally, the USA Collegiate Climbing Series Regional and National competitions offer bouldering, rope climbing, and speed climbing.

When are the practices? What should I do if I can’t make it to one?
We offer 3-4 practices a week, usually in the afternoon or evening. Practices are completely optional. At practice, you are welcome to climb at your own pace and progression, or join in our training workouts.