The sport of rock climbing is intense, exhausting and wholly thrilling. Whether you’re working on an indoor wall or in the great outdoors, the strength and determination needed to scale your objective is a challenge for anyone.
Unlike conventional exercise, rock climbing is far from monotonous. Nature offers so many tempting surfaces to scale that as long as terrain has hills and rocky outcrop you’ll find something to interest you.
The sport doesn’t require the use of heavy gear, just a few essentials which are imperative regardless of how seasoned a climber is. Discard reality and record-making drama that feature professionals scaling objectives without safety equipment. The chances of a serious or fatal fall are just too high.
Beginner climbers begin with walls several meters high and progress to higher and more challenging objectives. Even so, professional-grade equipment should be chosen at the outset because they meet quality standards and last for long. So once you’ve learned the basics of the sport, invest in some quality gear and get ready for adventure. Here are some important pieces of gear you need to pack while going out on a rock climbing weekend.
Rope – The rope is your primary safety gear because it’s the only thing that’s preventing you from falling. Don’t skimp on cost and quality. Cheap ropes tear easily, will have difficulty supporting quick movements with a lot of weight. UIAA-rated is the best quality ropes since they conform to international standards.
Thinner ropes are lighter and allow you to climb quickly but they also wear out faster. Choose a protective bag to prevent yours from damage and don’t leave it lying around when not in use.
Harness – Together with the rope, a harness is your next best friend. Where ropes should typically be thicker and a little weightier (unless you’re a seasoned climber), choose a lightweight harness that fits well and doesn’t hinder movement.
Belay device – Third on the list is a belay device that controls how much friction is applied to the rope. Some can control one rope while others can control two. Tubular devices are the most common as they dissipate heat caused by friction, and allow the rope to stop faster. Assisted-braking is another which prevents the brake line from being pulled through. You’ll find several variations produced by companies.
Shoes – Just like how exercise requires training or running shoes, rock climbing needs good climbing shoes. All-round styles are ideal for beginners, and you can progress to more specialized types once you’ve begun to master the sport. When buying your shoes, don’t be surprised if you have to spend a couple hundred. You get what you pay for, and with a sport like this, it’s not wise to settle for less.
Chalk – Chalk is for rubbing on your hand when they are sweaty to increase grip. Do remember that some climbing zones do not permit its use so find out what the rules are before using any. When purchasing chalk, include a chalk bag as well. Be sure to pick which lets you maneuver it to the left and right side.
Helmet – Of course you can can’t without a helmet. Purchase one that is hardy, comfortable and has good ventilation. As with all gear, don’t skimp on cost and quality. If you do fall, it may very well be the only thing protecting your life.
This list of rock climbing safety equipment works for both beginners and experts. When shopping, choose gear relative to where it’s to be worn. Those meant for indoor climbing may not be ideal for use in the outdoors so make sure you buy suitable components. Check out places like LL Bean or REI and no doubt you will find all this and more.
Check out what gear other climbers are bringing: