7 of the Best Christmas Gifts for Climbers 2012

If you are not a climber yourself, if the thrill of scaling a mountain or sleeping out under the stars does not appeal to you, it can be difficult to pick out the right present for someone who lives to climb. Perhaps the idea of being against Mother Nature frightens you more than it intrigues, but for a dedicated climber the rush is incomparable. In order to give the best Christmas gift for climbers 2012 take a peek at these 7 gift-giving options fit for any climber’s agenda.

1.  Casio Men’s Watch with Hiking Features 

casiomensdigitalcompasswatch 180x300 7 of the Best Christmas Gifts for Climbers 2012This Casio Men’s watch has a very high customer rating, paying tribute to its sleek design. Perfect for anyone, although best suited for climbers or hikers, this watch offers a built-in compass. Perhaps you get worried about the climber in your life—you worry about things like, what if their compass breaks and they can’t find their way home? With this watch—a backup compass will help ensure their safety. Casio also included date and time features along with the capabilities of going under water up to 600 feet without breaking.

2. High Quality Compass

compasBrunton 300x300 7 of the Best Christmas Gifts for Climbers 2012

Any climber can use a spare compass, especially one so highly rated as the Brunton Gentleman’s Compass. The design is a compliment to the original DW Brunton design, something the climber you know will surely appreciate. There is even the option to extend the life of this compass by stopping the needle when it is not needed, making sure a climber’s compass does not run out of juice when they need it most. Also, this top-quality compass works in cardinal directions.

3. Buried in the Sky—A Book Written for Climbing-Enthusiasts 

Buriedintheskybook 7 of the Best Christmas Gifts for Climbers 2012This book, Buried in the Sky, is an in-depth look at another world in the sky, where the mountaintops are dangerous and need to be handled with caution and just the right skill. Follow the tail of Edmund Hillary and Sherpa Tenzing Norgay, both known for their amazing climbing skills. Anyone who has spent a good amount of time among the mountains will appreciate this story, especially if they enjoy cuddling up with a good book by the fireplace, almost as much as they love fighting the elements out up on the mountain tops.

4. Hiking Shoes 

Teva hiking waterproof shoe 300x300 7 of the Best Christmas Gifts for Climbers 2012If you regularly hike, you can never have enough pairs of shoes. Just like runners, new shoes are often needed because they wear down and then become dangerous, potentially causing one to slip on uncertain footing. Although a pair of reliable climbing shoes can be found for under $100, people still tend to put off purchasing new shoes. Although getting a pair will be exciting for them, it will also be beneficial towards a climber’s safety—giving you (the gift-giver) some peace of mind! These Teva climbing shoes are highly rated and waterproof, made to withstand the elements.

 5. A Safe Place for Electronics While Climbing 

eaglecreekprotectelectronics 300x245 7 of the Best Christmas Gifts for Climbers 2012

This protective case made by Eagle Creek will keep anything electronic safe from the elements, allowing the hiker in your life to take along cell phones, small tablets, and even cameras without fear of them getting destroyed. This allows a climber so many options, including the ability to take breathtaking images, all the while assuring their high-priced technology is in no danger of being destroyed—when dropped or submerged in water.

6. Climbing Man Inspirational Desk Sculpture 

climbing man inspirational desk sculpture 300x300 7 of the Best Christmas Gifts for Climbers 2012Even the most avid of climbers have to take a break to work and make some money. When this time comes, allow the joy and inspiration of hiking to remain with them with this desktop sculpture.  This piece is made even more special with an engraved quote by John Quincy Adams. 




7. Training Climbing Suit for Babies

TraineeClimberBabyClothes 7 of the Best Christmas Gifts for Climbers 2012Perfect for climbers with a new baby in the house, this little suit is perfect to inspire laughs and to make the climber in your life happy! This little suit is perfect to inspire laughs and to make the climber in your life happy! Every new parent loves receiving gifts for their children, especially when the gift is suited to something they are passionate about. This little outfit is sure to spark laughter for the next few months, that is until it becomes too small for the growing bundle of joy.


Christmas Gift Ideas for Climbers

climbing kalymnos 225x300 Christmas Gift Ideas for ClimbersDesperate to find the perfect Christmas gift idea for a friend or family member who’s obsessed with climbing? Never fear: even if you can’t tell a carabiner from a Camalot, I can help point you towards the gear that every climber will be craving this year! As a lifelong climber and gear-head who thinks there’s no better feeling than making someone happy with the perfect present, gifts for climbers are my specialty!

First, you should know what kind of climbing the lucky recipient practices, because much of the gear is totally different:

  • Bouldering: do they spend every evening in the cave at the local climbing gym, and every weekend trekking through the forest with a mattress on their back looking for little rocks to climb? They’re probably into bouldering, so check out my post on gift ideas for boulderers.
  • Mountaineering: Do they run up and down the stairs of their apartment building wearing a backpack full of canned goods? Do they have a closet full of various sharp pointy metal objects? Do they occasionally disappear for weeks at a time to places like Tibet, Alaska, Chile, or the Karakoram? Read my article on gifts for moutaineers.
  • Trad climbing: Do they spend weeknights at the climbing gym, and weekends road-tripping to the nearest big cliffs? Do they have a poster of El Capitan on their wall? Is the back of their Subaru full of various ropes and colorful metal gear? Do they live in the back of their Subaru? You’re dealing with a trad climber — see gift suggestions below.
  • Sport climbing: Have they ever used the phrase “training periodicity”? Do they own spandex or lycra clothing? Have you ever wondered how they manage to spend an entire day climbing without getting dirty or scraped? Do they go to the climbing gym to teach yoga and meet girls? Do they work at the climbing gym? This breed of rock climber is called a sport climber — see gift ideas below.

Gift Ideas for Trad Climbing

You’re in luck! Trad climbing requires a lot of gear. Worried they already have something? Doesn’t matter! With trad climbing you actually need doubles of a lot of gear. And most gear needs to be replaced at regular intervals. So basically it’s hard to go wrong!

When I first started climbing as a kid, every Christmas for 3 years in a row my entire family pretty much only gave me climbing gear, and it still wasn’t enough. Here’s the top of every trad climber’s wish list this year:

camalot c4 Christmas Gift Ideas for ClimbersCamalot C4 Cams
A trad climber can never have too much protection, and the piece of gear they’re going to wish they had more of when the climbing gets really dicey is the new Black Diamond Camalot C4 cams. Silky smooth, easy-to-place, and strong enough to hold a truck, these beauties are worth their weight in gold when you really need them.

CountourRoam Helmet Camera Christmas Gift Ideas for ClimbersCountour Roam HD Helmet Cam
If you do an awesome climb in the forest, but no photos exist to share on Facebook, did it really happen? The second best thing about climbing is impressing your friends with tales of your exploits. Countour’s Roam HD helmet cam is waterproof, burly, weighs only 5.1 oz, mounts on a climbing helmet and takes 1080p video.

approach shoe Christmas Gift Ideas for ClimbersApproach Shoes
Approach shoes aren’t just about rockhopping to the base of the crag (though they’ll make that a lot easier). They’re about taking your climbing lifestyle with you



ArcTeryx Backpack Christmas Gift Ideas for ClimbersArc Teryx Arrakis 50
Arc Teryx is the Louis Vuitton of the outdoor industry, making products that are just so darn sexy you can almost forget how much they cost. The Arrakis 50 may cost more than other packs, but it’s burly enough to last a lifetime, and with seam-sealing throughout it doubles as a ski pack, trekking pack, or summit pack.

Rock Warriors Way 150x150 Christmas Gift Ideas for Climbers
Rock Warrior’s Way
The Rock Warrior’s Way won’t just improve your climbing, it will change the way you think about performance and achievement in life. I’ve read and re-read this book and feel like I still glean something new from it every time. Fear of falling, performance anxiety, and other “mind games” in which all climbers unwillingly participate any time things get dicey, are for most of us one of the major obstacles holding us back. Dealing with them is not as simple as doing a few more pullups; best to have Arno Ilger’s book as a guide.

Gifts for Sport Climbers

Sport climbers desire one thing above all else: to climb harder. Well, that, and to look good climbing harder. So any gift that can give them even the slightest performance edge will be warmly welcomed as the greatest thing since sliced bread. And doubly so if it also looks cool.

arrowhead climbing shoes Christmas Gift Ideas for ClimbersFive Ten Arrowhead Climbing Shoe
Remember that performance advantage sport climbers are always looking for? The new Arrowhead “crushes every angle of rock” according to Climbing magazine.



self coached climber 150x150 Christmas Gift Ideas for Climbers
Self-Coached Climber Book
In my opinion this book is something of an undiscovered gym. Many climber’s own and recommend Eric Horst’s series of books on Training for Climbing and Conditioning for Climbing, but I only recently discovered this book/ DVD set by climbing coaches Dan Hague and Douglas Hunter. H2, as no one calls them, ambitiously set out to create an entire conceptual framework for understanding (and maximizing) climbing performance which revolutionized the way I thought about climbing movement, even though I’ve been involved in the sport for almost 20 years. Much of what they describe experienced climbers sort of know intuitively on some level, but the promise of this book is being able to short-circuit the learning time on the most crucial aspect of climbing performance: technique. In any case a fascinating read which most certainly will improve your climbing ability.

Beal Rope Christmas Gift Ideas for ClimbersBeal Joker 9.1 Climbing Rope
Sport climbers take lots of falls in their pursuit of ever-harder climbs. Thus, to be safe, they should replace their rope after about 2 years of regular weekend use. But how many actually do? Send ‘em the message that you care about their safety by replacing their dying old rope. Make it Climbing magazine’s Editor’s Choice the Beal Joker 9.1, and they’ll also love the easy handling and soft catch!

harness Christmas Gift Ideas for ClimbersArc’Teryx S220 LT Harness
Like ropes, harnesses need to be replaced on a regular basis to ensure they’re always full strength — and who wants to take a risk on something like that? But when you have a chance to replace your clunky old rig with one that’s lighter, more comfortable, cool-wearing and cool-looking, doing the safe thing suddenly seems pretty easy!

The Scene 150x150 Christmas Gift Ideas for ClimbersThe Scene Climbing DVD
For those of us climbers unfortunate enough not to live in a place like San Diego, it can be a long, cold winter of trying to stay stoked enough to keep up an indoor training routine that we’re ready to pull hard come spring. Climbing DVDs can make staying psyched a whole lot easier, and recently-released DVD The Scene by Chuck Fryberger is the latest and one of the best made climbing movies out there, which both boulderers and climbers will love.

Alpinist’s Alphabet
alpinists alphabet large 150x150 Christmas Gift Ideas for ClimbersA unique gift for climbers with young kids, the Alpinist’s Alphabet represents each letter in the alphabet with an essential piece of climbing gear. A fun way to teach Climber Jr. the alphabet while also surreptitiously getting him ready to be your ropegun as soon as he’s old enough.


Colorful Campfire Roasting Skewers
roast my weenie roasters 150x150 Christmas Gift Ideas for ClimbersLast but certainly not least, this very cool gift idea comes via Erica AKA CragMama. Not really a present that is unique to climbers, except that it’s probably about right for most climbers’ sense of humor, but also something that anyone who enjoys roasting hot dogs or marshmallows over a campfire will appreciate — so long as they are not too prudish!

Bouldering Gifts

This season’s best gift ideas for people who like to spend all their free time climbing lots of little rocks.

Bouldering is not as gear-intensive as other forms of climbing, but that doesn’t mean the boulderer in your life won’t appreciate a gift that helps them pursue their passion for small rock domineering. Try these suggestions for great gifts for Boulderers:

O’Keeffe’s Working Hands
Working hands 150x150 Bouldering GiftsIt’s no secret that climbing can be rough on hands, and a number of expensive specialized products exist to help climbers repair damage done by pulling, scraping, and jamming hands against rough rock. On a tip for a friend I recently discovered O’Keeffe’s Working Hands — it’s not marketed at climbers, which means it costs 1/3 the price of the specialized products, and works twice as well.

Crash Pad
crash pad 150x150 Bouldering GiftsLike cams for trad climbers, boulderers can almost always use an upgrade to their crash pad. A good crash pad is expensive, and ever-higher boulder problems require use of more, bigger crash pads to make them safe. Check out the line of crash pads from Organic for money-is-no-object cush, or check out the deals on Amazon for some pretty sweet crash pads from Metolious and Black Diamond (pictured).

Gibbon Slackline
slackline 150x150 Bouldering GiftsYes, technically slacklining is a totally different sport, but most people who love climbing will also enjoy slacklining — especially boulderers, who often find slacklines help them refine their balance and focus, while retaining the social atmosphere of bouldering.


Bouldering Brush
bouldering brush 150x150 Bouldering GiftsA good brush counts among the truly essential gear for a bouldering, especially for those who have aspirations of discovering untouched new problems on their local rockpile. This set by Black Diamond includes different size brushes for different size holds, and will work equally well for cleaning chalk and grime off the popular routes as it will cleaning dirt and cobwebs off the untouched ones.

The Scene Climbing DVD
The Scene 150x150 Bouldering GiftsFor those of us climbers unfortunate enough not to live in a place like San Diego, it can be a long, cold winter of trying to stay stoked enough to keep up an indoor training routine that we’re ready to pull hard come spring. Climbing DVDs can make staying psyched a whole lot easier, and recently-released DVD The Scene by Chuck Fryberger is the latest and one of the best made climbing movies out there, which both boulderers and climbers will love.

Grip Strengthener
grip 150x150 Bouldering GiftsGrip strengtheners let climbers strengthen forearms while sitting through those mind-numbing conference calls, on their morning commute, or while watching TV. They also help warm up for climbs, and as an added bonus can make great for a great stress reliever. I’ve got one right here on my desk that I received as a gift last year, and love it!


hangboard 150x150 Bouldering GiftsOne of the biggest challenges in climbing is keeping your grip strength up when you don’t have time to hit the climbing gym or the crags a couple times a week. A hangboard can be a good solution for that — I keep mine mounted above the door in my apartment, and find that even 10-15 minutes of hangboard workout is enough to keep my fingers in climbing shape, and it’s a heck of a lot cheaper than a home climbing wall!

Better Bouldering Book
Better Bouldering 150x150 Bouldering GiftsI think it’s a testament to the meteoric rise of bouldering as a sport that there are not one, but two brand new books out to help you improve your bouldering technique. What, a book on bouldering? Isn’t the whole point that you don’t have to learn all that stuff you need for climbing? Well, yes, but eventually most boulderers will reach the point where they’d appreciate a few tips from the experts to take their bouldering to the next level. So unless your bouldering buddy’s name is John Sherman, consider buying his book as the next best thing to personal advice. Besides the 2nd Edition of Sherman’s Better Bouldering, the other new book out is Bouldering: Movement, Tactics, and Problem Solving by John Beal.