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Night Crawling - Night Rock Climbing

Updated on October 31, 2014
Rapping off after the climbing.  6 pitches, Boulder CO
Rapping off after the climbing. 6 pitches, Boulder CO

About night crawling ...

Here we are talking about roped rock climbing: sport or trad.

We’re guessing that you probably do your rock climbing during the day. Have you ever had a feeling there’s something more?

There are many reasons to consider climbing at night - hot days, limited light after work, or maybe you’re just one of those people who can’t stand a line at your local crag. Night climbing can be a fun change from your ordinary experience, and even a familiar climb takes on new challenges after the sun has set.

Think you’re ready to give climbing by the light of the moon a try?

Think you’re ready to give climbing by the light of the moon a try? Here are some things to keep in mind for a fun and safe experience.

  1. Get a good headlamp. Choose a bright headlamp with a wide field of light. We like the Sprinter headlamp from Black Diamond as it is bright, has a low profile lamp (which keeps us from bonking it against the rock), and is rechargeable. We also find the rear red blinker to be a cool feature for keeping track of a climber as she nears the top. Your belayer will also need a headlamp to safely belay you.
  2. Consider having a backup headlamp, especially if climbing multipitch routes. Setting up rappels and finding the next station can be very dangerous without light… We’ve been there, and it wasn’t fun.
  3. Route-finding can be more interesting at night, particularly on trad. lines. Everything looks a little different, and shadows can make things really interesting, especially when placing gear. If your line wanders, be familiar enough with the route to staying on it.
  4. If you are multi-pitch climbing, consider putting reflective tape on rap stations you intend to use later as they can be hard to locate on rappel if they are more than a few feet off of the rap line.
  5. Good communication becomes even more important at night. Even with good light, it will be difficult for the belayer to see the actions taken by the climber. Have a discussion beforehand about commands.
  6. Knot the end of your rope when rappelling. This is even more important at night given visual limitations.
  7. Consider placing glow-in-the-dark tape on certain core pieces of gear, and at the ends of your rope. Your ATC, lockers, and the end of your PAS can be more easily located if marked.
  8. Consider trying out your skills and processes on a route you have climbed before. Expect things to be a little unnatural on the first pass.


And in Summary ...

Well that’s it. Have a great night out and remember, everyone needs to sleep sometime!

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