Gym to Crag – Transition from Indoor to Outdoor Climbing

Climbing in Maple Canyon is a great place to transition from gym to crag

Gym To Crag

I’ve been guiding climbing since 1998 but only in the past few years have I met climbers who have climbed for years, but never outside.

This phenomenon of having climbed for years, but never outside, is new to me and to the climbing world in general.

The popularity of climbing gyms and the almost universal access to indoor climbing have given rise to strong climbers skilled in gym climbing techniques.

Today there are gyms in every state in the nation, giving people exposure to climbing even if there is no local crag within 100 miles.

Indoor climbing gyms helped produce climbers who are stronger than ever!

However, when gym-only climbers finally decide to try real rock, they may find their honed gym-skills don’t immediately translate into rock climbing success.

Particularly, good for the gym to crag transition are our Maple Canyon Climbing and Rifle Climbing programs. Both Rifle and Maple have a particular focus on sport-climbing skills.

Sport climbing is a style of climbing that compliments gym climbing well. The gym to crag transition is a natural first step to crags like Maple and Rifle.

No matter what your gym-climbing grade, we can help you safely transition your gym-climbing skills (like knots and top-roping) to outdoor sport climbing.

Learn best rock climbing practices and principles to

  • Read the rock type and identify holds
  • Lead
  • Perfect your top rope and lead belaying technique
  • Practice falling
  • Project a route at the edge of your ability
  • Equip and clean routes and anchors

Our goal is allways for you to develop the skills and confidence to be an independent climber both indoors and out.

Climbing gym, L’Escalade, in Lexington, KY.

The climbing gym is a great place to learn climbing movement and basic leading skills. However, you may find it difficult to identify holds, route find and read different rock types.

Our all-female guides and an all-female environment helps you focus on your goals. 

Chicks Allum Angela Allen on the sharp end in Rifle, CO.


Gym climbing routes are typically set with the bolts close together. This is to be as safe as possible. Run outs and tricky clips are not a typical gym lead climbing dilemma.

Learning how to lead and  belay run outs is a critical gym to crag skill. It is also important to learn about leading and belaying ledges, bulges and roofs. 

We want you to be an independent climber, both indoors and out. Our biggest success is when you fledge!

Join us for Summer Sport Climbing in Maple Canyon and Rifle. Spend time outside, experiencing two of mother nature’s most beautiful crags.