Rock Crawling Tips


Rock crawling is an area of off roading that many off roading enthusiasts enjoy. It has become a favorite for many because of the different levels of challenges that it presents. There are levels ranging from beginner to expert, the important thing to remember is if you’re not an expert do not attempt a course designed for them. In rock crawling it is important that you start off slow and learn the proper techniques that are required for successful crawls. If you start off thinking you can handle a challenging trail too soon, you may bite off more than you can chew.


Rock crawling requires that certain modifications be made to your vehicle prior to attempting a climb. You should have a lift kit installed onto your vehicle so that you can safely clear any larger rocks that you may encounter on the trail. Before beginning a climb you should also check your tires to insure that they are at the proper level. Instead of adding air to your tires, in rock crawling you want to air down your tires to approximately 15 – 20 psi. By lowering the amount of air in your tires you will be able to place more rubber on the rocks. It also allows you to lessen the chance of high centering while attempting a crawl.

It is also important that you survey the area you are about to climb. This process allows you to see all of the obstacles, as well as take note of the safest way to maneuver your vehicle up the rock surface. Once you have started the climb, if you feel uncertain about the path you are taking, you may want to use a spotter to help you safely reach the top. A spotter can alert you to any problem that you may have overlooked when planning your path.

When rock crawling, speed is not your friend. Anytime you are attempting a crawl you should keep your speed low. Using a lower gear allows your tires to grab the surface of the rock safely and allow for a safe climb. A slower speed also allows for you to stop instantly should a problem arise. When rock crawling it is important to be as safe as possible and follow all of the proper safety guidelines.

Written by Andrew

"You're telling me it's got four wheels, two seats and goes faster than the speed limit? Good, I'm driving."

5 comments

  1. I wish I had kept track of the number of hot shots I’ve seen in Hells Canyon who started out on the toughest courses because they thought they could. A few actually made it through but the majority end up wrecked or stuck. They need to understand that you have to walk before you can run!

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  2. I’ve tried the rock climbing a couple of times. It was pretty scary. I’m used to the river bottoms which means water and mud. I couldn’t believe the difference in the terrains. I also never knew about lowering the tire pressure. It sure makes sense though. I’ll try reducing the pressure next time and hopefully that will give me a feel for better control.

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  3. Even though I did my homework before I went rock crawling the first time, I don’t think I was prepared enough. Because I knew what to expect I think I acted a little too hasty. Knowing something and experiencing it are not the same thing. Drivers beware!

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  4. The most important message you gave is probably the one that will be ignored. Survey the area, walk the trail. Sounds so easy that it’s often over looked. I have to admit there was a time when I did not do it either. I was in an all fired hurry to start the climb. Time is a good teacher and experience the best.

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  5. I wish I had some rocks around here to try out these tips. The biggest rocks in these parts are the ones in the driveway! Not very challenging to say the least. One of these days I’m heading in a big rock direction to see what all the hype is about.

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