Climbing Reimagined


ClimBall is a dynamic game that combines the three most common styles of competition climbing into one thrilling sport.

Object of the Game

The object of the game of ClimBall is to score more points than your opponent.  Teams do this by scoring goals, winning sprints, and making defensive stops.  Goals are made by sport climbers passing the climball through a hoop located at the top of a sport route.  Each successful goal is worth 10 points.

Players & Equipment

In ClimBall, each team consists of 10 players.  Three boulderers, three sport climbers, three speed climbers and one utility climber (capable of climbing in any position)

  • Boulderers alternate between turns on the initial climbing phase of the course.  Once they complete their route, they pass the climball to the climber at the second phase of the course.
  • Sport Climbers alternate between turns on the second phase of the course.  Once the sport climber receives the climball, they begin climbing up an 18-meter wall. A successful climb will allow the sport climber to drop the climball through the climbasket at the end of the route.
  • Speed Climbers alternate between turns on the third and final phase of the course.  The Speed Climber will begin up a 15-meter speed wall once the Sport Climber reaches their 10-meter mark.  Speed Climbers are responsible for catching and defending the Sport Climber thus preventing a successful basket for the opposing team.

The equipment needed to play ClimBall includes:

  • Climball = A ball with a 12 inch/30.5 cm circumference weighing 5 oz/142 grams attached to a dogbone and carabiner (for easy clipping while climbing)
  • Climbasket = Hoop at the end of each sport route in which the Sport Climber attempts to place or throw the climball.
  • Standard Climbing Kit = Harness, helmet, shoes, chalk bag, team uniform.
  • Standard Climbing Holds = Proper holds to set routes for all three phases of ClimBall.


There are three ways to score in a game of ClimBall.  

  • If the Sport Climber is able to put the climball through the climbasket their team is awarded 10 points
  • If the Speed Climber can reach the 15-meter mark before the Sport Climber reaches the 15-meter mark, then the Speed Climber’s team is awarded 2 points.
  • If at any point a climber in any phase falls off the wall, then the opposing team is awarded 1 point.

Rules of ClimBall

  • A game of ClimBall begins once a buzzer sounds indicating that the 1st 25-minute half has begun.
  • At the sound of the buzzer a Boulderer from each team begins their ascent from opposing sides of a 5-meter roof climb.  Once the boulderer reaches the top, they will grab and toss the climball to their Sport Climber teammate.  The boulderer who reaches their climball first can defend the throw from the opposing boulderer climbing from the opposite side of the same wall.
  • Once a Sport Climber has the climball in their possession they begin their ascent up the designated 18-meter sport route with the hopes of getting the climball through the climbasket.
  • When the Sport Climber reaches the 10-meter mark, the opposing teams Speed Climber races up their designated 15-meter speed wall with the intention of either a) beating the Sport Climber to the 15-meter mark or b) pulling the Sport Climber off the wall thus preventing them from scoring a basket.
  • If the Speed Climber both makes it to the 15-meter mark prior to the Sport Climber, and knocks the Sport Climber off the wall, then the Speed Climber’s team is awarded 3 points.  2 points for winning the sprint and 1 point because an opposing team member fell.
  • If the Sport Climber is pulled off the wall prior to placing the climball into the climbasket, they are permitted to throw the ball as they are falling.  If they score a goal while falling, they are awarded 10 points, and no points are awarded to the opposing team for the fall.
  • If the Speed Climber falls prior to making it to the 15-meter mark, and fails to successfully defend the Sport Climber, then the opposing team is awarded 1 point for the fall.
  • Once members from both teams are finished with a round either from scoring or falling, the next set of climbers take their mark.  A buzzer then sounds indicating a new round has begun.
  • Climbers must wait a minimum of two rounds between climbing attempts.
  • A team’s round begins when The Boulderer begins to climb and ends when the ball is scored, or a climber falls.  New rounds begin only when both teams have finished the current round (through scoring or falling)
  • Play continues in this fashion for the remainder of the half.
  • Following a 10-minute halftime break, teams switch sides and play continues according to the same rules laid out above.
  • Each team has two 60-second timeouts per half.
  • At final buzzer, the team with the most points wins.
  • In the event of a tie, the game goes to sudden death, and the first team to record a point wins.

Playing Area

The vertical court is composed of three distinct sections for each team.

  • Section One comprises a 5-meter bouldering wall composed of a roof which is sandwiched between a vertical start and a vertical finish (for each team).  Opposing players start at opposite ends of the boulder, then climb toward each other and the completion of Section One.
  • Section Two is an 18-meter wall (for each team) comprised of vertical sport climbing up until the 15-meter mark.  The final 3 meters of the wall are overhanging with the climbasket suspended at the end.
  • Section Three is a standard 15-meter speed wall (for each team).

The 5-meter bouldering walls from Section One ends at the base of the walls used in section Two and Three.  The two sport routes are set on the opposing ends of the 18-meter wall, and the two speed routes are set in the middle of the same wall.

Wall heights and climbing holds used must be identical for each team.  However, route setters will set different routes for each side of the 5-meter bouldering wall and the 18-meter sport climbing wall.  A winning coin toss is used to determine which team selects the wall they prefer to climb in the first half before switching in the second half.

Winning the Game

At the end of two 25-minute halves, the team with the most points is awarded the win.


  1. Climball was concocted with artist, climber and friend Mean McLean. Mead was kind enough to create and put together the story board for this new sport. To see more from Mead you can find his website Here and his Instagram Here.
  2. Phase 1 & Phase 2

3. Tentative Logo (National Climbing Association)

12 Replies to “Climbing Reimagined”

  1. Let’s take this up a notch. All climbers carry a small sword and are allowed to cut their opponents rope. Pulling their opponent from the wall afterward is optional but worth extra points. 🤨

    Liked by 3 people

      1. Eeeek, I need to work on a post about lollipops and rainbows, and see how quickly you guys are able to turn it into something dark…haha!

        Maybe mwahahah, would be more appropriate that “haha”?

        Liked by 2 people

      2. “Dark” Well, the sarcasm might have gotten the upper hand here. 😕 Or maybe we’ve been streaming too many slasher/chain saw movies in anticipation of Halloween. 😱

        Liked by 1 person

    1. I have to find some sponsors and make this happen, hopefully I can get a few meetings scheduled over the next few months.


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