If you are coming from games like Uncharted or even Breath of the Wild, the climbing mechanics in Horizon: Forbidden west may leave you a little puzzled. Not only does Aloy not have the same quality of life benefits that prevent you from easily falling from ledges, but you also do not have obvious paths charted out on climbable surfaces that help you to know where to go.
The climbing mechanics are actually quite flexible in this game. You can climb pretty much any surface, which was not the case in the previous game. You do not quite have the full flexibility as you had in Breath of the Wild so getting up to speed with how it works in Forbidden West will do a lot to help you out.
Identifying Climbable Surfaces
The vast majority of rocky surfaces in the wild can be climbed upon, even though it does not appear obvious. The magic tool that you have at your disposal here is the pulse on your focus. Doing this will highlight all of the areas which you will be able to latch onto when making your way up a cliff edge. If you keep scanning the focus, you will be able to easily make your way across a rocky mountain.
Aloy can sometimes, but not reliably, reach her arm out, just as Nathan does in Uncharted, to signal that you are within jumping reach of a surface that you can climb onto.
Always Show Annotations On Climbing Surfaces
There is actually a very handy feature in the settings that will allow you to show the annotations on climbing surfaces, without having to use the pulse from your echo. This means you will be able to see exactly where you can climb without having to constantly check.
This feature can be very handy, but it does make for a lot of UI clutter when you are not climbing. As you can see from the image comparison below, it looks a lot nicer when the annotations are not there. The small inconvenience of having to use the pulse is a lot nicer than having to see the annotations cluttering the screen the whole time.