Rock Climbing Courses & Certifications

Camera Matt Hage

Why Choose NOLS for Rock Climbing Courses?


Expert Rock Climbing Instructors

At NOLS, we pride ourselves on our team of expert climbing instructors who possess extensive climbing experience and a deep passion for teaching. They are not only skilled climbers but also outstanding educators, committed to sharing their knowledge and helping you become a confident climber.
Students learning about top rope climbing, at the top of a cliff face

Comprehensive Curriculum

Our rock climbing courses are carefully crafted to provide a comprehensive learning experience. From fundamental techniques to advanced skills, our curriculum covers everything you need to know to excel in the vertical realm. You'll gain hands-on experience in belaying, rappelling, anchor building, assessing the best approach to the route, and much more.
Student climbing with ropes on a cliff face at Cochise Stronghold.

Exceptional Rock Climbing Locations

When you choose NOLS, you choose to climb in some of the most breathtaking locations on the planet. From towering granite walls to majestic desert spires, our courses take you to iconic climbing destinations such as Wyoming’s Wind River mountains, the beautiful Pacific Northwest rock-climbing mecca of Squamish, and Red Rock Canyon.
Students happily getting prepared for the climbing ascent

Small Group Sizes

To ensure personalized attention and an optimal learning environment, our rock climbing courses maintain small group sizes. This allows you to form close-knit bonds with fellow climbers and receive individualized guidance from our climbing instructors. Together, you'll foster a supportive community that encourages growth and exploration.
Students look on while mountaineering instructor organizes cams in the Wind River Range.

Focus on Risk Management

Learn to identify subjective risks and anticipate objective risks. We provide rigorous training in risk management, hazard assessment, and emergency response, equipping you with the knowledge and skills necessary to navigate the vertical world with confidence and caution.
Many students backpacking to the base of a climbing wall in the Wind River Wilderness

Wilderness Leadership Skills Development

NOLS rock climbing courses go beyond climbing skills, focusing on wilderness leadership. Learn decision-making, communication, and risk assessment in rugged landscapes. Develop resilience, adaptability, and problem-solving abilities for unpredictable environments. Become a capable and responsible leader on and off the rock.

Featured Rock Climbing Trips & Courses

Whether you're a beginner climber seeking to conquer your first rock face adventure or an experienced climber looking to enhance your skills, NOLS has the perfect course for you. Join us and discover the joy and excitement of rock climbing while immersing


Southwest Rock Climbing Courses

Head to Arizona’s Cochise Stronghold, an area renowned for its climbing and unique desert environment. You’ll start with the basics of climbing, including movement on rock and getting to know the equipment. As you gain competence, you’ll progress to more advanced skills like gear placement, multi-pitch climbing, and vertical rescue. Prepare to become a confident leader and rock climber through transformative this experience.

Women’s Rock Climbing Courses

Join a motivated group of women and experience the beauty of Red Rock's sandstone cliffs through our empowering women's climbing course. Gain new skills and conquer new heights in one of the country's most stunning climbing destinations. From mastering movement techniques to building anchors and placing rock protection, this course covers the essential fundamentals of outdoor rock climbing. Elevate your climbing foundation and forge lasting connections with fellow women climbers on this transformative journey.
A student rock climbing above the waters of Fremont Canyon in Wyoming.

Rocky Mountain Rock Climbing Courses

Explore classic climbing areas in the West like Wild Iris, Vedawoo, or City of Rocks. From basic camping skills to advanced techniques like lead climbing and anchor building, develop your climbing prowess and leadership abilities. Immerse yourself in the natural environment, studying the area's human history, observing wildlife, and exploring geological features. Take your climbing to new heights in this thrilling adventure.

21 Day Backcountry Rock Climbing Course - 18+

Starting with a backpacking journey to establish a base camp, you'll learn essential outdoor living skills before progressing to rock climbing techniques, including knot tying, belaying, and advanced skills like lead climbing and vertical rescue. On non-climbing days, explore local lakes and lodgepole pine forests, delving into the area's ecology and history. The course emphasizes leadership development, offering daily opportunities to enhance communication, decision-making, and self-leadership. By the end, you'll have gained climbing proficiency and a unique leadership style applicable in any setting.

Learn More About Rock Climbing with NOLS

Rock Climbing Courses FAQs

  • Q: Do I need any prior climbing experience to join a rock climbing course with NOLS?

    NOLS offers courses to everyone, regardless of their level of climbing experience. It is important to note that we do not have courses specifically tailored to beginners, intermediate, or advanced climbers. Our courses are designed to accommodate individuals with a wide range of climbing backgrounds and abilities. Whether you are a beginner or an experienced climber, NOLS provides opportunities for individuals to develop their skills and knowledge in rock climbing.

  • Q: What equipment do I need to bring for a rock climbing course?

    A detailed gear list will be provided upon registration. You can rent or purchase all necessary technical climbing equipment, including harnesses, helmets, climbing shoes, ropes, and protection from us. You'll need to bring appropriate outdoor clothing and personal items.

  • Q: Are NOLS rock climbing courses suitable for all ages?

    NOLS offers rock climbing courses for a range of ages and abilities. While some courses may have specific age requirements, we have options available for both youth and adults. Please refer to individual course descriptions for age restrictions and our essential eligibility criteria.

  • Q: Are NOLS rock climbing courses physically demanding?

    Rock climbing courses require a moderate level of physical fitness and strength. You should be prepared to engage in physical activity throughout the course, including hiking, climbing, and carrying a backpack.