5 Unmissable Climbing Games To Get Stronger

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I’ve always thought that rock climbing was the epitome of “fun” and “working out.” It’s like a secret workout disguised by a fun activity. Instead of getting motivated to walk in place on a treadmill or lift heavy objects in front of mirrored walls, you monkey around your climbing gym with your friends and get stronger at the same time.

But just in case “regular” rock climbing wasn’t already fun enough, I’d like to share some rock climbing games you can try by yourself or with your friends. On-the-wall games can be fantastic tools for functional and fun training. When played correctly, any of these games will surely deliver a pump!

5 Fun Rock Climbing Games

boulderer with instructor

Add On

Add On is one of the most classic rock climbing games. It’s a wonderful climbing game that combines the mental challenge of remembering a sequence of moves with the physical challenge of holding on long enough to beat your opponents.

Number of Players: 1+

You can play Add On alone, but it works best with a couple of friends. But if the group gets too big, it can make things too difficult.

How to Play

To start, the first person must designate starting holds and add on a single-hand movement. Then, the next person must start at the beginning, climb the move set by the first climber, and add another move. The process repeats this way for as many climbers playing.

If you climb the incorrect sequence or fall off the wall, you are eliminated. The last remaining climber is the winner.

You can play this game on a regular climbing wall at your gym, but on busy days, it may be best to play on a systems board or spray wall.

What it Improves

Ninja Feet

Ninja Feet is a game where players must focus on making their footwork as silent as possible to successfully climb a boulder problem without getting caught.

Number of Players: 2+

Ninja Feet works best with a minimum of two players– a ninja (the climber) and a guard.

How to Play

The object of the game is to climb a boulder with the quietest footwork possible to reach the top without getting caught by the guard.

To start, select a bolder problem that is well within the ability levels of the participating players. The ninja gets ready to climb, and the guard closes their eyes (or gets blindfolded) and faces away from the wall. The ninja climbs while the guard listens.

If the guard hears the ninja, they shout “halt”. The ninja that reaches the highest or tops out the boulder wins the round. Once the round is over, switch the boulder problem and go again.

Ninja Feet is a great rock climbing game for teaching young climbers to slow down and focus on body awareness and footwork. Eventually, the challenge of engaging footholds quietly will transfer into their “real” climbing and help them improve.

What it Improves

  • Long endurance
  • Precise footwork


male climber indoor bouldering

Elimination is the evil twin of Add-on. It’s a great climbing game that helps you hone your dynamic climbing skills and provides a new challenge on boulders you’ve already mastered.

Number of Players: 1+

You can play this climbing game with one person, but it’s not nearly as fun with only one climber. For maximum fun, play with other climbers who have similar abilities. Or, for an extra challenge, play with someone who can do harder climbs than you.

How to Play

Start by selecting a boulder well within the ability level of the players. Next, climb the boulder from bottom to top. Then, instead of adding holds one by one, you eliminate holds to make the boulder problem more difficult.

As the game continues, the boulder will progressively get harder. The game ends when all the holds have been eliminated or when the other climbers fall off.

What it Improves

  • Power
  • Dynamic movements
  • Dead pointing

Boulder Draw

woman watching man indoor climb

Boulder Draw is a rock climbing game that combines the luck of the draw with creative route setting that challenges not only your ability to design routes but also to incorporate new climbing techniques.

Number of Players: 2+

How to Play

First, using small slips of paper, write down as many climbing moves as possible. For example, “gaston,” “heel hook,” “layback,” “toe hook,” “drop knee,” “right arm lock off,” “left hand dead point,” etc.

Then, one person draws four slips at a time and designs a boulder that incorporates all the moves. Then, take turns climbing and finetuning the boulder. Once everybody has had a chance to send, draw four more moves and create a new boulder.

What it Improves

  • Problem-solving skills
  • Route setting


woman uses toe hooks indoor buoldering

Pointer is a great game where you get to blend the creativity of being a route setter with the power and endurance to be a world-class climber.

Number of Players: 2 players

Pointer is best played with two players– a pointer and a climber

How to Play

The object of the game is to hold on and not fall for the allotted time limit. To play, designate one person as the pointer and the other as the climber. The pointer’s job is to point at climbing holds on the wall to guide the climber move by move. The climber’s job is to stay on the wall until the timer runs out.

If the climber falls, the pointer wins a point, and if they stay on the climbing wall, the climber wins a point. After the time limit expires, switch positions and repeat the process in the next round. The climber with the most points at the end wins.

As the pointer, it’s important to remember that the point of the game is building endurance. Therefore, you don’t want to make the climber fall right away. Instead, match the moves to their skill level so the route is challenging enough but still climbable within the designated amount of time.

The easiest way to be the pointer is with a laser pointer, but you can also use a broomstick, stick clip, or just your finger.

What it Improves

  • Power endurance
  • Long endurance
  • Problem-solving

Final Thoughts: Climbing is Fun!

Sometimes, we take climbing too seriously, and we get wrapped up in being “the best climber.” Rock climbing games are a great way to remember, contrary to popular belief, the best climber is the one having the most fun!

So, the next time you want to mix up your climbing workout, or are having a hard time getting motivated at the gym to try your project for the hundredth time, try out some fun climbing games on the bouldering wall instead.

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