How much does it cost to Start Bouldering? (bouldering expenses)

Going on your first trip to an indoor bouldering gym and wondering how much you’ll pay? Or maybe you’ve taken up bouldering and are curious how much this hobby will cost you? In this article, we’ll look at all the expenses bouldering brings to the table.

📚 This post is part of our extensive Bouldering Guide

How much does it cost to go Bouldering for the first time?

During your first visit to a bouldering gym, you don’t need to bring anything. Your expenses will be the following:

  • Price of entry: $10 – $15
  • Price of rental shoes: $3 – $5
  • Liquid chalk: $10 (optional)

So in total, you will pay around $13 – $20 for your first session at a bouldering gym. If you plan to use chalk, which isn’t necessary but will provide you with improved grip, you can pick up a liquid chalk bottle for an extra $10.

List of Bouldering Expenses

Here is a list of expenses for those who take up bouldering as a hobby:

  • Bouldering Gym Membership (monthly payment)
  • Climbing Shoes (about 2 pairs per year)
  • Chalk bag/bucket (one-time payment)
  • Powdered or liquid chalk
  • Climbing tape (every 3 months)
  • Climbing balm

Cost of Bouldering Gym Membership

Once you start taking bouldering seriously, you’ll benefit from getting a bouldering gym membership over paying for individual sessions.

Some bouldering gyms charge monthly while others charge every 3, 6, or 12 months. On average, the cost of a bouldering gym membership is $40 per month.

Cost of Climbing Shoes

The next big expensive for boulderers, are climbing shoes. After all, you can’t go bouldering without a pair of climbing shoes. A beginner pair of climbing shoes will go for around $60 – $100. A pair of performance shoes will range from $100 – $200.

Someone who goes bouldering about 3 times per month, will average about two pairs of climbing shoes per year. So the annual cost of climbing shoes is around $200 – $400 and the monthly cost is around $16 – $33 per month.

This cost can be lowered a lot if the boulderer chooses to resole their climbing shoes instead.

Cost of Chalk

Another recurring expense for bouldering is chalk. Chalk comes in multiple variations: loose chalk, liquid chalk, and the chalk ball. Chalk balls are the cheapest chalk option, costing around $5 and last up to 3 months. Next is powdered chalk which costs about $20 for 300 grams. This tends to last me around 3 months. Means powdered chalk is around $6 per month. Liquid chalk is around $12 for a bottle of 200ml which will last you a whole month, two months if you use it sparingly.

To sum up, here’s the cost of climbing chalk:

  • Chalk ball: $1.5 per month
  • Loose chalk: $6 per month
  • Liquid chalk: $6 – $12 per month

Price of Climbing tape

Climbing tape & bandages are used to patch oneself up once skin comes inevitably loose while bouldering. A roll of climbing tape will last anywhere from 3 months to a year. A regular roll of climbing chalk costs about $5, combine this with other expenses such as large packet of bandages, you’re looking at about $10 for every 3 – 6 months or $20 to $40 per year.

Cost of Climbing balm

Climbing balm is used to repair your hands overnight. While optional, most climbers will use either climbing balm or another type of lotion to heal to heal their hands. A typical bottle of climbing balm will cost around $12 and has an expiration date of 6 months past opening.

The average cost of bouldering

In total, the monthly cost of bouldering is around $65 per month. The biggest expense a boulderer has is their gym membership, followed by the cost of climbing shoes. Boulderers who go through more than 2 pairs of climbing shoes a year might have monthly expenses in the $100 range.

One-off bouldering expenses

While most expenses for bouldering are recurring (gym membership, shoes, chalk) there are some one-off purchases as well.

Cost of Chalk bag or Bucket

Unless you only use liquid chalk, you are going to need a chalk bag or chalk bucket. Luckily, this is only a one-time purchase. A chalk bag or bucket will cost you anywhere from $10 – $30.

Cost of a Bouldering Crashpad

Boulderers who plan on climbing outdoors will need a bouldering crashpad. Crashpads cost between $150 to $400 depending on their size and thickness.

P.S. if you don’t boulder outdoor a lot, you might be better off renting a crashpad instead.

Price of a Climbing Brush

Climbing brushes help you clean up holds and get rid of excess chalk. While a brush isn’t really something a beginner has to think about, it becomes a necessary tool once you start projecting boulder problems.

Bouldering brushes are very cheap and you might even have something lying around that will do the job. e.g. an old toothbrush or paintbrush works just as well!

If you plan on buying a climbing-specific brush, you can pick one up for around $5 – $10.

Do you need to spend money on Bouldering Clothes?

Bouldering is one of those sports where your outfit doesn’t matter that much. As long as you are wearing breathable, non-restrictive clothing, you will be fine. If you want to dress the part though, check out our article on what to wear to an indoor bouldering gym.


Bouldering is a relatively cheap sport. The only recurring expenses you’ll have are climbing shoes, a gym membership, and chalk. Bouldering is much cheaper to start than climbing as you don’t have to spend hundreds of dollars on safety gear.

The average cost of bouldering is around $65 per month. You can save money on bouldering by resoling your climbing shoes and buying less expensive chalk.

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