I been looking online everywhere to see what level of climbing you have to be at to become a sponsored climber (sponsored enough to make it your profession).

I know there are a lucky few that get sponsored despite not being very good. I wonder however what ratings most athletes can climb when they become professional rock climbers. Is 5.13 enough to get sponsored by a certain company? If not then is 5.14 enough? Can you climb 5.14 and still not be able to find a sponsor? If so what does it depend on?

Is it harder to get sponsors as a person that only boulders?


Finding Sponsorship is not easy in any sport, you have to win a couple of competitions at a decent grade and then you stand a small chance.

Climbing 5.13 is the minimum really, if you can climb 5.14 you stand a much better chance.

Also, it is easier to get bouldering sponsorship overall, but you should be able to climb in most forms, these people are giving you money, saying "I am not a very good lead climber" or "Top-rope climbing is not my forte" then they will probably think twice.

  • 3
    Sponsored boulderer here... "you have to win a couple of competitions" - I have never won a competition (nor have I participated in one). Quite a few of my friends are only focusing on outdoor climbing and "general publicity", i.e. advertising the sponsor brand in videos et cetera.
    – pudelhund
    Nov 17 '14 at 0:49

I got two sponsors about 10 years ago. A lot of things happened in the meantime in the world of climbing but here are a few sure things:

Is it harder to get sponsors as a person that only boulders?

No, it is not, and as of now (2019), it might even be easier. Bouldering experienced a huge boost in the past years, a much larger public than before has its eyes on it and being able to play big in this scene is something sponsors are very interested in.

what ratings most athletes can climb when they become professional rock climbers.

Having a sponsor is a first step towards being a professional rock climber but not at all equal to being one! That being said, you should present all your skills as an athlete, not only your highest grade. Getting sponsored means advertising the products of a brand in exchange for those (and possibly money). Any possibility you have to attract attention for your sponsor is a relevant argument to present:

Obviously the better you climb, the higher your chances are. But:

can help too. That may be technically (e.g. trad, bouldering, multi-pitch, drytooling, FA, competition) or geographically (climbing in a region where a given brand isn't known yet, advertising a new climbing spot).

is also very relevant. Climbing 5.13 with 15 might sound (even) more impressive than 5.14 with 25.

Contacts with magazines, climbing forums, online platforms and social media followers can be a heavy argument. Climbing just "okay" but being known and seen by many, you'll have better chances than a much better climbing noone knows.

Finally, don't forget that sponsorship is a job (you provide a service to your employer and get a compensation for it) and applying for it works like for any other job: keep sending applications and wait for one positive answer.

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