Our Favorite Small Group Climbing Activities
Using your Traverse Wall® as a station, with other stations, is a common way for schools to use their climbing walls. Whether or not you have a school climbing wall, using the climbing wall with small groups is a great way to help develop teamwork along with climbing skills. Here are our favorite climbing activities for small groups.
Climbers traverse the climbing wall by repeating and adding onto each other’s moves.
Grade Level: 4 and up
Grouping: 3-5 participants
Materials Needed: Tape, optional
Advance Set Up: Use tape to mark the holds that are being used to help climbers remember the sequence (optional).
Begin by deciding who will be the first, second, third, etc. climber. The first climber gets on the wall and does three moves. These moves must be distinct and involve no more than three hand or foot holds. Then s/he climbs down and the second climber repeats the moves of the first climber and adds one additional move, after which s/he climbs down. The third climber then gets on the wall, repeats the moves of the two previous climbers and adds one more move. The routine continues in this way, starting over with the first climber after everyone has had a turn, for as long as the group can manage. When they reach the end of the climbing wall, they can reverse direction. If at any point in time a climber cannot complete the series, simply have that climber step down and have the next climber in the rotation try. Encourage the climber who missed to try again after everyone else has had another turn. Or you can have group members let the climber know what the next hold in the sequence is.
Must Use Holds Challenge
Climbers are required to use certain holds as they traverse the climbing wall.
Grade Level: 3 and up
Grouping: 5-10 participants, depending on size of climbing wall
Materials Needed: Tape
Advance Set Up: Using tape, put a mark by the “must use” holds. Mark one hold at the start of the climb, one at the end of the climb and several in the middle of the climb.
This activity is an introduction to climbing a route, without the challenge of having no choice in what holds to use. Climbers must climb using the required holds, but along with any other holds, to traverse the climbing wall.
- Have climbers choose and mark the holds that are required.
- Add more required holds after each traverse to add challenge.
This is a cooperative climbing challenge that requires climbers to communicate and work together.
Grade Level: 3 and up
Grouping: 2-4 participants
Materials Needed: 1-3 hoops
Advance Set Up: None
Climbers make their way across the climbing wall with arms linked by a hula hoop. This requires climbers to adjust their speed and communicate so that they remain linked by the hoops for their entire climb. If they become separated, they should stop and climb down from the wall and start over. It’s good to try this activity first with two climbers and after they find success add one climber at a time up to four climbers.
- Challenge climbers to complete the activity without speaking.
- Time the activity and work towards faster times, while still making safety a priority.
Teaching Tip: For safety reasons, do not have more than four climbers attempt this challenge.