A quick search for the term ‘how to make money rock climbing’ brings up a raft of professional rock climbing results as it should.
However the bulk of the responses are;
‘Find another sport if you want to make money’
‘Top earners make a lot but career rock climbers or hobbyists can’t make anything’
I’ll be honest, I’m not a rock climbing expert.
But I am an experienced online business professional and even if you aren’t the next Alex Honnold or Chris Sharma, I can assure you there are plenty of ways you can monetize your skills.
Plus you can do so while traveling around the world enjoying your favorite sport.
Here are 10 ways to turn your passion into profits and make money rock climbing;
How to Make Money Rock Climbing; 10 Fun & Profitable Ways
1. Start a Rock Climbing Blog
A quick search for the term ‘rock climbing’ generates 1.6 billion results across google.
Within the niche there are millions of searchable terms each with tens and even hundreds of thousands of searches a month.
If you’ve never considered starting a rock climbing blog, perhaps now is the time to do so. The audience is certainly there!
To start a blog, you would need to choose a name, purchase a domain, invest in a hosting account & create a simple WordPress website.
Then start writing about the sport in general or pick a specific niche within rock climbing such as travel and all the amazing places to go rock climbing, or a specific area or set of mountains, or a site dedicated to the rock climbing greats. Whatever floats your boat.
Use free tools such as the google keyword planner, Ubersuggest or ahrefs keyword tool to discover keyphrases people are searching for and write content based on those searches.
As you grow you’ll want to invest in a more advanced keyword tool such as Semrush to help you dominate the search engine results pages.
As your traffic increases you’ll be able to monetize your site in a variety of ways including;
- Ads using an ad program such as adthrive or mediavine
- Affiliate marketing – promoting other people’s products on your site & earning a commission
- Amazon associates – as with affiliate marketing but for climbing products on Amazon
- Creating & selling guide books
- Selling your services as a guide or trainer
- Selling video courses or information products
If you’re passionate about the sport and could talk about it all day, plus would love to travel and explore new rock climbing opportunities around the world, starting a blog is a great way to make money rock climbing!
Image source: climbingblogger.com
2. Become a Rock Climbing influencer
Similar to starting a blog, but without having to build a website is becoming a rock climbing influencer.
Instead of a WordPress site, you might choose Instagram or TikTok as your platform of choice.
The goal is to build up a large and engaged audience other brands would pay to get in front of.
Once you have the audience you can monetize via;
- Brand sponsorship deals
- Affiliate promotions
- Inbuilt creator funds (TikTok & YouTube shorts)
- Selling your own products
To get started choose the platform you’d like to master, create a compelling profile and start to post frequently & consistently.
Videos are huge right now, even on Instagram where images have traditionally been the medium.
So if you can get some great rock climbing videos, ideally telling a story around your climbs, the places you visit, how to prepare for climbs, etc, they’ll likely attract a lot of views.
Take the time to like, follow, comment & engage with other accounts & posts and gradually your audience will grow.
Image source: @jimmychin
3. Become a Rock Climbing Photographer/Videographer
Talking about video, if photography or videography is something that you’re interested in or good at, becoming a videographer is a great way to make money rock climbing.
Aside from being able to build an audience online and become an influencer, you can also monetize your skills by;
- Selling your photos & videos to stock photo sites such as istock.com, depositphotos.com & shutterstock.com
- Being contracted by other rock climbers or adventurers to video or photograph their exploits
- Being contracted by sports magazines to take epic photos for editorials
- Turning your images into wall art or posters that can be sold on Etsy
4. Create Rock Climbing Documentaries
If you’re an exceptional videographer why not become a rock-climbing documentary filmmaker.
It’s easier than ever to create your own mini-movies these days. You don’t need to be Steven Spielberg to get in front of millions!
Simply publish your movies on YouTube and watch your audience grow.
You’ll make money initially from YouTube ads, but as your audience grows you’ll likely be approached for sponsorship deals and brand partnerships, and who knows maybe even Netflix will get in touch!
Image source: Mani The Monkey
5. Partner With Brands or Attract Sponsorship
This is how most of the top guys bring home the bacon. Alex Honnold is quoted as generating as much as $300k a year from brand or sponsorship deals.
This means he wears the gear from a brand such as Black Diamond while movies are being made about him, giving the brand plenty of exposure.
The normal route to brand partnerships would be for you to build your reputation in the climbing community via competitions or wild climbing exploits.
However, you can create your own reputation via any one of the ways I’ve outlined above and a brand will pay you based on the exposure it thinks it can obtain.
As I said you don’t have to be Tommy Caldwell or Sebastian Bouin to attract sponsorship.
These days millions of rock climbing amateurs are hanging around on Instagram, TikTok, or YouTube just waiting for you to inspire & enthrall them!
Image source: blackdiamondequipment.com
6. Become a Rock Climbing Guide
For some reason becoming a guide seems to be frowned upon in the professional rock climbing world.
It’s as if you’re being told ‘if you can’t do, teach.’
What a load of baloney. There are some incredible professional rock climbers who are also guides. If you love the sport why not share your passion!
Guiding can be an incredibly fulfilling way to live and breathe the sport you love while making money and creating amazing experiences for others.
Plus you get to travel the world, earning money doing something you love. You can’t get a better definition of a lifestyle business than that!
You will need to have at least 5 years of rock climbing experience, get all of the required qualifications to become a certified AMGA rock guide, and have led or shared the lead on multiple climbs at varying grades.
You can get more details of what’s required on the AMGA website.
7. Create & Sell Video Courses
Did you know that the average Udemy course instructor makes around $60k a year on video training courses?
And Udemy isn’t the only video training platform in town. You’ve also got Skillshare, Coursera, Masterclass and loads more.
If you know your stuff about rock climbing, why not create and sell some video courses around the sport.
You could create a course specific to training tips for rock climbers, technical tips to improve your rock climbing ability, guiding tips and how to pass the AMGA exams, how to make money rock climbing (you could literally turn this post into a video course) and more ideas as a rock climber I’m sure you’ll think of.
You don’t need any fancy equipment or state-of-the-art cameras. All you need is your phone, a wireless microphone, and a sunny personality!
Start by sketching out an outline of what your course will include. Create specific modules and the lessons to be covered in each module. Look out how other popular course providers have split their modules and lessons up for inspiration.
Then create bullet points of the topics you want to cover in each video and get recording!
When you’re ready, you can either upload your course to a marketplace such as Udemy, or create your own course site using Thinkific or Teachable to attach to your blog or social media account.
Before you know it you could be generating five or six figures a month teaching others how to improve their rock climbing skills!
Image source: Udemy
8. Write & Publish Rock Climbing Books
If creating videos isn’t your jam, perhaps you’d prefer writing your stories or all your tips in book format.
A quick search on Amazon reveals a hungry market with a wealth of books on all aspects of rock climbing.
Write about your story of learning how to rock climb, interview other climbers for the scariest stories to collect and add to a book, create a climbing training guide or a rock climbing travel guide with some of the best climbs in the world.
You’re only limited by your imagination!
Once you’ve written your book, upload to Amazon using the Kindle KDP program and tell the world your book exists. The more sales you can make in that first week, plus reviews from readers, will help you to hit the Amazon best sellers list and get more exposure.
If you want to make money from becoming a rock climbing author, the trick is to either build a huge audience as an influencer who you then sell your book to, or write and publish multiple books which all promote each other.
9. Become a Public Speaker
It’s been said that the only thing scarier than death is public speaking!
I’m pretty sure, however, that if you can scale a mountain I can’t see the top of, you can get up in front of an audience and share your story.
Companies and conferences are crying out for people with inspirational stories. As I sit here typing this post on my couch with a cuppa in hand, I know I could use some inspiration to get off my butt and do something exciting!
If you’ve embraced any of the other opportunities in this article and are building an audience by way of a blog or social media, then you’ll be in demand even more.
Try your hand at telling stories via video format on social media first to hone your speaking skills. Maybe host some live streams on YouTube or Instagram to get comfortable with a live audience.
Then start by signing up for smaller talks. Look for local business events or conferences. Follow other popular rock climbers or sports celebrities to see where they’re speaking.
Create a 60-minute talk and practice, practice, practice!
It may take a while to get paid the big bucks for speaking, but the more you do, the better you’ll get and the more you can charge.
10. Create Your Own Rock Climbing Brand
Rather than sign up for brand partnership deals, why not create your own brand? A online beginner can make money with this method.
You could sell climbing gear, clothes, climbing shoes, journals, you name it!
There are three potential ways to get started building your own brand and selling physical products;
Sell on Amazon FBA
FBA stands for fulfillment by Amazon, meaning they store, package, and ship the product on your behalf.
To get started go to the Amazon bestsellers list to see what is selling best in the rock climbing niche. Source a similar product from a reputable manufacturer, get your brand printed onto the product, and ship to the Amazon warehouses.
List your product and use promotional strategies to rank your product for your main search term on Amazon.
It sounds simple but there are quite a few moving parts, plus you will need upfront investment to get this off the ground. For a step-by-step guide, read my journey on how we generated 7 figures within 12 months using Amazon FBA.
Create a Print on Demand Store
Print on demand is exactly what it says; products are only printed with your brand and designs and then shipped once a customer has purchased. It’s an easier, lower-cost way to get your brand off the ground.
To get started sign up for a print-on-demand company such as Printful. Select the products you’d like to sell in your store, such as t-shirts, caps, and wall art, etc, add your designs (or awesome photography), and promote them on your store and across social media.
There are no (or very low) upfront costs to get started and you only pay the print on demand company once a customer has ordered the product.
You can even integrate a print-on-demand company with Etsy and sell to their ready-made marketplace.
Start a Dropshipping Store
If the limitations on the type of products you can sell via print on demand are too much, consider creating a dropshipping store.
Dropshipping simply means that you source and advertise a product on your website which gets shipped directly from the manufacturer at the time of purchase. Meaning you don’t have to purchase inventory upfront.
To get started, invest in an ecommerce platform like Shopify and add the dropshipping app Spocket which makes the whole dropshipping process super easy.
You can see my dropshipping 101 guide here for more details.
I would, however, be careful which items you sell via the dropshipping method. You really don’t want your buyers to be 2000 meters up the side of a mountain to discover the rope is bad quality!
How to Make Money Rock Climbing Summary
I’ve covered 10 fantastic ways to make money rock climbing however, there are still tons more options available.
You could become an online personal trainer for rock climbers, a rock climbing stuntman, or even a freelance writer for travel, sports, or rock climbing magazines and publications.
Sometimes we get so caught up in our hobby or sport that unless we can go pro and get paid like the big boys we can’t see any other way to generate an income doing what we love.
I hope this post has given you some great ideas of how to make money rock climbing and travel the world doing something you love to do!