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How Many Calories Does Rock Climbing Burn

how many calories does rock climbing burn

Rock climbing is a challenging sport that will challenge your mind, body, and spirit. However, with all its physical challenges, the sport is good for the physical well-being of the climber. But the question most health enthusiasts ask is: is rock climbing good for weight loss?

In this article, we discuss in detail how many calories does rock climbing burn for us to learn if the sport is perfect for a weight loss program. In general data, a climber who weighs at least 180 lbs can burn 754 kilocalories when doing an hour of rock climbing. But how do we arrive at that data? Let us find out in this article.

Estimated Calories Burned for Outdoor Sports (Weight: 180 lbs)

Sports MET 30 Min 60 Min
Abseiling 4.6 197 394
Jogging 7 300 600
Fishing 2.7 116 231
Ultimate Frisbee 5.3 227 454
Rock Climbing 8.8 377 754

In the table above, you can see the estimated calories burned for five different outdoor sports, including rock climbing. The most notable figure is the second column which shows the MET value or the Metabolic Equivalent of Task for rock climbing.

The MET value measures the amount of energy used while sitting inactive. The MET value is usually measured per hour and is the measure of the amount of energy your body uses when you are at rest.

While sitting inactive, you can measure your MET value by computing your weight in kilograms. The unit used for MET values is 1 kcal/kg/hour. A good example is a 180 lbs man (81.6 kilos) who comes with a MET value of 81.6, where he is burning 81.6 calories while sitting and inactive.

However, when you are doing other activities other than sitting and idle, the MET value tends to change. So, each activity that you do has its own MET value. The base calculation is when you are sitting and inactive. If an activity has a MET value of 5, it means that you exert five times the amount of energy when sitting and inactive.

The table above shows the estimated MET value of every outdoor activity, including rock climbing. Keep in mind that the MET value is only an estimate but can be used to track the number of calories burned per activity. In addition, the calculation also depends on the person’s age, gender, body composition, and so many other factors.

Calculating the Calories Burned with Rock Climbing

is rock climbing good for weight loss

Based on the Compendium of Physical Activities, which lists everyday activities and the estimated energy cost associated with each activity, the MET value for rock climbing is from 5 to 7.5, depending on the level of effort. However, the current rate for rock climbing comes with an 8.8 MET value.

This value will be used when calculating the calories burned when rock climbing. The formula uses the person’s body weight in kilograms. Once you have the weight, you can multiply it by 0.0175 and the number of minutes you will be doing the rock climbing activity. Please check the example below:

  • Weight: 180 lbs
  • MET Value: 8.8
  • Time Consumed: 60 MInutes


(180/2.20642) times (8.8) times 0.0175 times 60 minutes equals 754

Factors that Determine the Number of Calories Burn in Rock Climbing

As they say, the sport of rock climbing is very dynamic since it involves aerobic and anaerobic exercise. While we have the formula for measuring the number of calories when doing the sport, determining the right amount of calories burned is hard to do as there are various factors that you must consider.

Check below:


The longer your climbing activity, the more calories will be burned. Actually, the duration of any activity aside from rock climbing can influence the number of calories your body will burn. So, the longer you climb, the more calories are burned in the body.

Speed and Intensity

factors that determine calories burn

When doing rock climbing, you are expected to work out your entire body. It is also expected that you will let all the muscle groups work, which means it will expend more energy which is equivalent to burning calories.

However, the number of calories burned can be influenced by the intensity and the speed of your rock climbing activity. For example, a one-hour of intense climbing should have a similar number of calories burned when you are doing a 3-hour session at a lower skill level. So aside from duration, the intensity of your workout can influence the number of calories burned during the whole duration of the rock climbing activity.

As a climber, if you want to increase the intensity of your workout, you can carry a weighted vest as an extra weight. Doing this action will help in increasing the intensity even more, which increases the number of calories burned in your rock climbing activity.

Route Difficulty

calculating the calories burned rock climbing

In every rock climbing route, there are difficulties that you need to conquer while climbing. The route’s difficulty can also influence the number of calories burned, as the most difficult one also enhances the intensity of your climbing activity. An easier 5.5 route will not enhance the intensity of your climbing compared to a higher-graded route.


If you want to know how much calories does rock climbing burn, the formula we presented in this article can help you. However, do not expect the result to be accurate since other factors can influence the number of calories burned in a rock climbing nativity. From the speed, intensity, and duration, the difficulty of the route can all influence the number of calories we burn in every rock climbing activity.

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