Valentine’s Day: What to Get Your Special Climbing Someone


So Valentine’s Day is a week away, and you still aren’t sure what to get your favorite belayer/spotter/partner who means a little bit more to you than just making sure you don’t die falling off your project. I’ve got you.


She’s awesome. You’ve hiked a few approaches, sent some routes, met up at the gym on a few rainy days, and taken her out for a few drinks after, but you don’t quite know where you stand. You should try:

  • Getting her some chalk. It’s something everyone needs, but it’s not expensive and if decorated correctly (stickers of hearts if you’re feeling bold, puppies if you want to seem cute, drawn-in stick figures if she might be friend-zoning you) could be fun. She’ll appreciate the thought but won’t feel bad if she didn’t get you anything.
  • Giving her chocolate. Everyone likes chocolate, and you can get her chocolate covered gummy bears if things are leaning more toward the friendly side or something in a heart-shaped box if you want things to get mushy.
  • Taking her climbing! If that’s what she loves, what better way to win her heart (or just get to know her better) than to guarantee her a belay and bring along her favorite climbing snacks?

She’s amazing. You’ve gone on weekend trips, climbed in the cold, heat, rain, and other miserable conditions, and you know her favorite crag and how quickly she takes her shoes off at the end of a pitch. Basically, you’ve been dating for a few months, but things aren’t too serious yet. You should try:

Chalk bag and photo by Arie Leeflang, who sells her handcrafted goods through Etsy. (Cam not include.)
  • Getting her a teddy bear chalk bag. Sure, normal stuffed bears are cute, but they soon become forgotten in the back of the closet. A teddy bear chalk bag, however, will be used frequently and commented on by other females and bear enthusiasts, so your special someone will be reminded of how sweet you are every time she goes to chalk up.
  • Getting her chocolate. As said above: everyone loves chocolate. You likely know her favorite kind by now, so get her some of that and maybe something new to try too. Better yet, cook her favorite breakfast, take her for a day of climbing with all her favorite snacks, and then take her to dinner after and give her her favorite chocolate for dessert.
  • Getting her that piece of gear she needs replacing. Resole her warm-up shoes if she’s wearing through or get her some extra quick draws. Is she always cold when you’re climbing and it’s below 50 degrees? Get her an extra jacket—try thrift stores for inexpensive down jackets and fill the pockets with hand warmers. You have been climbing together long enough to know what she needs, and she’ll appreciate your paying attention and getting her something useful.
  • Buying her a guidebook. If she happens to “have everything” already, buy her a guidebook to a place you’ve yet to explore. Give it to her with a note saying you’ll take her there for a long weekend, vacation, etc. She’ll be able to scope out projects in advance and have a fun trip to look forward to.

She’s incredible. You’ve gone on countless adventures filled with fun and riddled with mishaps, have trips planned for the next six months, and know which brand of tissues she prefers when she’s stuffy. You’ve been dating for a while, things are serious, and you want a gift that shows her how much she means to you. Note: Chocolate can—and should—be added to all of the gifts ideas below:

  • Nothing says I love you and I don’t want you to break your ankles like a Mondo crash pad.
  • A trad rack, or, more realistically, some of the pieces you’re missing, so you can complement each other with your gear too. Get her the pieces she’ll need for the next climbing vacation you’re taking together.
  • A portaledge. If you’re at that level in your relationship, why not take the next step in your climbing lives? You’ve already slept on crash pads; it’s time to take that to new heights.

GIFTS FOR HIM: For guys it’s easy: wool socks, a hangboard, and some beef jerky.

Originally published February 8, 2015, on

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