7 Best Rock Climbing Books for Beginners (2023)

The excitement of scaling heights and overcoming natural barriers make rock climbing a delight to avid mountain climbers. Climbing mountains for pleasure or as a sport is not only thrilling to experienced climbers; it is also stimulating to watchers on the ground. But no one wakes up one morning and attempts to climb a formidable mountain without prior experience; mountain climbing must be learned.

best rock climbing books for beginners

Best Rock Climbing Books for Beginners: Our Top 7 Picks

You can learn rock climbing as a self-starter. There are more than 1,000 books out there on mountaineering. But they are not all suitable for beginners. Rock climbing books for beginners must include detailed guides and explanatory illustrations or videos on climbing techniques, climbing equipment, training methods, face climbing, getting off the rock, and top-roping among other things. A helpful book would be a complete how-to that covers the entire essentials of rock climbing.

You are here because you wanted a curated list of the best rock climbing books for beginners, so sit back to check out the listing below. The books highlighted here are thoroughly revised and updated with new information and skills for successful climbing exercises. They reflect the experiences and proficiencies of veteran mountain climbers who even formulate policies for the rock climbing community. Let’s check them out.

1. Self-Coached Climber: The Guide to Movement, Training, Performance


This book made it into the finalist position for the Mountain Exposition Category at the 2007 Banff Mountain Festival for its detailed exposition on climbing techniques and essentials. Written by veteran climbers with a combined experience of over 30 years, the Self-Coached Climber is a comprehensive guide covering the fundamentals of rock climbing, human movement, climbing gear, and age-long principles for mountaineering success.

To further illustrate the instructions highlighted in the book, the authors included an 85-minute DVD that showcases live-actions of gripping, climbing, and training exercises. The training and activity videos are comprehensive and leave nothing to the imagination for any amateur climber. As can be expected of a book designed for beginners, this climber resource contains all the required movement, training, and performance exercise necessary for successful climbing.

  • Author(s): Dan M. Hague and Douglas Hunter
  • Publisher: Stackpole Books
  • Current Edition: Pap/DVD Edition (February 2006)
  • Pages: 240

2. How to Rock Climb! (How to Climb Series)


If you ever require an instructional rock climbing book that covers the fundamentals and resources for effective climbing activities, then How to Rock Climb! is the book for you. Updated with over 400 color photographs and illustrations, this paperback covers the techniques, trainings, and equipment for mountain climbing. One of the most attractive aspects of this climbing manual is the simplicity of language used and particular attention to climbing safety.

Written by a professional rock climber who has authored more than 40 books on mountaineering, this book for beginner climbers covers footwork and handhold positions, lead climbing and top-roping, downclimbing and rappelling, sport climbing, navigating cracks, as well as climbing equipment among others. First published almost 20 years ago, this book is in its fifth edition and remains of the best-selling literal resource for rock climbing.

  • Author(s): John Long
  • Publisher: Falcon Guides
  • Current Edition: Fifth Edition (June 2010)
  • Pages: 336

3. Rock Climbing for the Absolute Beginner: A Complete Guide to Bouldering, Mountaineering, Top-Rope & Trad Climbing- Includes Knot Tying Tutorials


If you have always wanted to push your limits, then you might consider rock climbing – after studying this book. Although this is a rock climbing book for beginner and amateur climbers, it covers bouldering, top-roping, knot-tying, gym training, and all aspects of mountaineering. It also examines all the technical terminologies and lingos often used by expert climbers. It equally covers climbing gear and safety of use for successful climbing.

While the ultimate of any climbing experience is to get to the top, the act of learning about yourself on the way up is part of the overall climbing experience. Rock Climbing for the Absolute Beginner includes more than 80 photographs and illustrations that serve as guides for climbing exercises. The tutorials are detailed in a step-by-step fashion and cover handholds, footholds, body movements, and transitions among others. This is one book all learners must have.

  • Author(s): K.J. Moore
  • Publisher: Self-Published
  • Current Edition: December 2019
  • Pages: 181

4. Toproping: Rock Climbing for the Outdoor Beginner (How to Climb Series)


If you are a newbie climber looking to become a pro, then you need a professional book that covers the basics and essentials of rock climbing. Since lead climbing and top-roping are fundamental essentials of climbing safety, the book Toproping: Rock Climbing for the Outdoor Beginner comes in handy as a lesson guide. It focuses on safety climbing rather than speed climbing, and it deals extensively with climbing techniques where the rope is safely anchored above the climber to minimize the risks of falling.

This second edition explores the intrigues of slab climbing, steep face climbing, and crack climbing among other climbing methods. It also deals especially with climbing equipment and safety operations during climbing activities. If there is one climbing book on the fundamentals of mountaineering, it is this book written by a certified rock instructor with the American Mountain Guides Association and founder of a rock climbing school in California.

  • Author(s): Bob Gaines 
  • Publisher: Falcon Guides 
  • Current Edition: Second Edition (October 2020)
  • Pages: 256

5. Rock Climbing Basics: The Beginner’s Guide to Indoor Climbing


If you are a beginner rock climber that wants a 78-page guide on mountaineering, then you must acquire The Beginner’s Guide to Indoor Climbing. Available in eBook and paperback formats, this concise resource will introduce you to the rudiments and essentials of rock climbing. Filled with helpful photographs and illustrations, the mountaineering guide covers basic climbing equipment, rope anchorage, climbing safety, climbing with partners, and avoiding falls among others.

  • Author(s): Vdiff Climbing 
  • Publisher: Independently published
  • Current Edition: June 2019
  • Pages: 78

6. Rock Climbing, 2nd Edition: Mastering Basic Skills (Mountaineers Outdoor Experts)


Rarely do you find a mountaineering book authored by one professional climber and updated by another professional climber. One of such is the Rock Climbing: Mastering Basic Skills (Second Edition). It covers Craig Luebben’s original bestselling work on rock climbing with extensive updates by Topher Donahue in the areas of climbing gear, sophisticated climbing techniques, safety implementation, and exclusive photographs among others.

This current edition is expanded with European climbing techniques as alternatives to those adopted in North America. It also includes the newest climbing techniques developed exclusively by Donahue and approved by mountaineering associations; these techniques are the Adjustable Hitch, High Friction Tubes, and Bight Method. This edition also includes the fun and pleasure sides of climbing, being your best while scaling the heights.

According to Donahue, “Rock climbing is the safest of the different genres of mountaineering, and modern climbing equipment and attentive technique make it quite reasonable to climb a hundred days a year for an entire lifetime and never have a serious accident.”

  • Author(s): Topher Donahue and Craig Luebben 
  • Publisher: Mountaineers Books  
  • Current Edition: Second Edition (September 2014)
  • Pages: 320

7. Rock Climbing: Mastering Basic Climbing Techniques, Skills & Developing the Climbing Warrior’s Mindset


While most rock climbers focus on the gear and techniques of mountaineering, many do not know that there is a mindset for climbing. The mindset determines the body positioning, choice of equipment, fun factor, and skilled tenacity applied despite unfortunate accidents that happen to other climbers. If there is one rock climbing book that deals with the fun factor and mindset for successful rock climbing, it is Rock Climbing: Developing the Climbing Warrior’s Mindset.

This book for beginner climbers makes it clear that wall climbing is for everybody: males, females, slim, obese, brave, fearful, adults, and teenagers alike. It covers the fundamentals of gear selection, climbing technology, mountaineering techniques, rope knotting, and anchoring, as well as building the warrior mindset for successful climbing. This resource also gives you insight into climbing in the snow and in dangerous weather with ease and safety.

  • Author(s): Jack Norwatch
  • Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform
  • Current Edition: July 2016
  • Pages: 92

Get the books

Apart from the fact that these 7 best rock climbing books for beginners are authored by professional climbers, they are endorsed by various climber associations and have thousands of positive reviews on Amazon and other book retail platforms. Most of the books have also been updated with the latest climbing techniques and technology as well as helpful photos, videos, and climbing exercises. They also contain activities for indoor and outdoor climbing operations.

As a beginner, these resources are invaluable to your mountaineering efforts and they set you on the track to becoming a pro in no time. They can also be gifted to other ardent climbers and archived for future climbers – to some people, climbing runs in the family! You must invest in a proven and certified resource produced by an acclaimed professional to become a professional yourself in a given sport or undertaking. Investing in these 7 best rock climbing books for beginners is the first step in that direction.