What Your Favorite Type of Climbing Says About Your Love Life

Over the last six years I have been painstakingly gathering data on the love languages of rock climbers. Climbers – although joined by their shared love of piles of rock – are a diverse group of people, with needs that go far beyond the desire to get to the top of things without falling. 

Most rock climbers are bold, but some are shy, some like to go outside, some like to stay inside. Some like the risk, and others like the security. Which one are you? This article should shed some light on what your favorite type of rock climbing says about your love life. 

**NOTE ON DATA** I have read, like, two books on attachment theory and dated several climbers. My methods are infallible.


The Basics

  • Strong fingers (wink)
  • Powerful
  • No stamina 

Love Language: Physical Touch

If your favorite style of climbing is bouldering, your love language is Physical Touch. You crave the gentle caress of an arm aid, the loving scrape of sandpaper on your finger tips, the feeling of your hands dipping into a bucket of soft powdery chalk. You want to be held by the homies, and you want to hold the homies back. Giving a good spot, with a soft landing, is what you’re all about. 

Attachment Style: Anxious-Avoidant

The attachment style of boulderers is anxious-avoidant. You’ve got one foot on the gas and one foot on the brakes at all times. You’re always climbing away from your friends, but then you fall back down into their arms. You want to climb alone, but you also want them right there with you. You need to know “you’ve got me right?” but you also can’t imagine tying into a rope and really being attached to someone. Classic anxious-avoidant behavior. 

Sport Climbing

The Basics

  • Very Pretty 
  • Showers often
  • Will not move to a small town with you to raise chickens and have a garden

Love Language: Acts of Service

The love language of sport climbers is Acts of Service. You need a belay on your proj, you want a soft catch, you need another belay on your proj, you want them to wake up at 5am to give you a belay on your proj before work, and then again after work, and then again this weekend. Acts of Service are how you feel most loved. What else could make you feel all warm and fuzzy than knowing your belayer is spending all of their free time watching you take mega whippers? It means they really care. 

Attachment Style: Anxious

If your favorite style of climbing is Sport Climbing, then your attachment style is Anxious. Is your knot tied? Is that whip safe? Do they got you? Do they really got you? You need the constant validation that “I’m with you” brings, and if your partner doesn’t spend every waking moment supporting you and your project, then you unravel into a self doubting mess. I’m here to tell you,  it’s going to be ok, they really do got you. 

Slab Climbing 

The Basics

  • Delicate yet bold
  • Zen masters
  • Very detail oriented
  • Bordering on sketchy 

Love Language: Words of Affirmation

Nothing holds together the abilities of a slab climber better than the words of encouragement from your horrified onlookers. Not during the climb, no. During your daring and ill advised adventure into cheese grater territory, you want silence so you can hear the sound of your own demons. But before (and after) you need the only thing of substance that will hold you to the rock: thoughts and prayers. After you clip the final bolt and avoid an ankle breaking slide/swing, you will need a good, “Holy hell that was scary!” from your belayer and anyone else who might be watching. 

Attachment Style: Avoidant

Always climbing long stretches of horrifically blank territory, you want to be alone with your thoughts and don’t need crowded gyms or lines at your favorite climb. You want to go off the beaten path, where no one will find your body should the worst come to pass. Slab climbers are so avoidant you even avoid bolts, if you can help it. 

Gym Climbing

The Basics

  • SAFETY. 
  • SMART. 

Love Language: Quality Time

After work sesh? Weekend sesh? Before work sesh? Mid lunch sesh? Gym climbers want to spend time with their friends, you like heading to the gym instead of going to the bars, but the quality time is the same. You want to chat about the beta, and encourage each other on the send go. You like the hubbub and the noise, “The gyms aren’t crowded, they’re cozy!”

Attachment Style: Secure

Good for you. You have a healthy relationship with climbing and a good work life balance. Must be nice. 

Trad Climbing

The Basics

  • Dirty
  • Good with protection
  • Loves cracks

Love Language: Gift Giving

Trad climbers love nothing more than to give or to receive climbing gear. Want to work your way into a trad climber’s heart? Give them an old 3.5 camalot, or a rack of ball nuts, or maybe a hex just to be funny. It’s ok, they will find a use for it. They might turn that old bolt you gave them into a bottle opener, or that climbing rope into a leash for their dog. The possibilities are endless. But safe to say, Trad Climbers love gear, and want to have as much as possible. Gift giving all the way! 

Attachment Style: Avoidant

Much like Smaug the dragon, hoarding his gold from the world in the book The Hobbit. You want to be alone with your treasures. You like to get away from everyone, paint your cams and carabiners with nail polish, and go off trail somewhere no one will be able to bother you and all your jangly climbing gear. You’ve avoided every problem life has ever thrown at you, and gone climbing instead. 

Offwidth Climbing 

The Basics

  • Into pain stuff
  • Covered in scabs
  • Comes with baggages

Love Language: Words of Affirmation

Offwidth climbers crave one thing and one thing only: to be told they are special. Offwidth climbers get a little rush everytime you say to them, “Oh my god this is so hard I don’t know what the heck you’re doing in here!” or, “This is impossible, you’re some kind of messed up freak.” or even, “What the heck! Why do you like this?” These may sound like words of refutation, but in reality they are giving the offwidth climber everything they need to hear. 

Attachment Style: Anxious-Avoidant

You only bring 4 or 5 cams with you on a route, but you keep them in front of you at all times. Never climbing above gear, but choosing a sport that makes most people want to puke. You are an anxious avoidant type all the way. 

Speed Climbing

The Basics

  • Self explanatory

Love Language: Words of Affirmation

They like it that everyone in the climbing community hates on them. Don’t let them tell you otherwise. 

Attachment Style: Anxious-Avoidant

I don’t actually know, I’ve never met a speed climber in real life and I’m still not entirely sure they’re real. 

Cover photo credit: Kaya Lindsay

About the Gear Tester

Outdoor Prolink Pro

Kaya Lindsay is a writer, photographer, and filmmaker with a passion for rock climbing and the outdoors.

In 2016 she converted a Sprinter Van into a tiny home and has been traveling around the US & Canada to pursue her passion for rock climbing. Since hitting the road she has begun a career in filmmaking and is currently working on her One Chick Travels series, highlighting solo female travelers who live and work to pursue an adventurous lifestyle. Her films have been highlighted by major brands such as Backcountry and Outside TV. To fulfill her passion for writing, she chronicles her many adventures in her blog. Professionally, she writes for the adventure sports company Outdoor Prolink and The Climbing Zine. Kaya hopes to spend many more years in her tiny home on wheels, Lyra, and is currently living in Moab Utah.


  1. Pat

    Alpine? Ice? Mountaineering?!


    1. Kelly Knauf

      Hey Pat! Thanks for your comment. Great ideas for a potential future post 🙂


    2. Kelly Knauf

      Hey Pat! Thanks for your comment. Great ideas for a potential future post 🙂


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