[an error occurred while processing this directive]
Equipment. Gear. Stuff. Whatever it is, you need it if you are going to climb. Even if you aren't going to be on belay, you still need equipment. If you are a beginner, or a mostly indoor climber, you can probably get by with renting from whatever gym you frequent.
If you visit the gym often, it is probably more economical to buy your own equipment. Rented gym equipment usually isn't tailored to your exact size, and is well-worn by a number of people (just imagine all that foot sweat that goes in there... did the last guy that wore these shoes wear socks?)
|Whether you are going on a three day climbing trip,
or a two hour bouldering session, you will need climbing
shoes. Climbing shoes aren't just special tennis shoes.
Climbing shoes are fitted very tightly around the foot,
with a sticky rubber sole that provides the friction you
need for climbing. The laces usually extend all the way
to the toes, and to the very top of the shoe, making them
Another option for experienced climbers is the slipper. A slipper does not have laces, and is generally more comfortable than a lace-up. However, a slipper requires much more foot strength than a lace-up does, so it is usually used only by experienced climbers.
The next most important essential is a chalk bag and chalk. You wouldn't think your hands get sweaty enough to make you fall off a climb, but wait until you get on the wall, twelve feet from your last badly placed piece of protection. Your hands get very sweaty while climbing, even bouldering, so chalk is a good idea.
Those are your two essentials for any kind of rock climbing. If you are going to be climbing on belay, then you will need a lot more equipment. If you are going to be placing protection on your way up, or "tradding", then you will need even more! The more advanced you get, the more equipment you will need.
Climbing equipment can be expensive, but don't let that throw you. You don't necessarily have to go for the cheap stuff. In fact, buying used equipment is a big no-no, unless you know the exact history of every piece of equipment you buy. If you blindly purchase used equipment, you are setting yourself up for an equipment failure. Comfort is another factor that is directly proportional to price. A diaper harness can be very uncomfortable if you wear it for extended climbs, especially in a hanging belay situation. A foam padded harness with adjustable leg loops is expensive, but can make hanging off an anchor almost comfortable.
|Since equipment is expensive, it is best to begin your climbing venture with a partner. Since only one of you are going to be climbing at one time, you only need to buy one rope (if you aren't doing extended pitches where more than one rope is necessary). You will only need to buy one set of quickdraws. A set of quickdraws usually numbers between 5 and 10. On a normal section of a climb, or pitch, there are only four to six bolts, or anchors for clipping into with a quickdraw. You always want a few extra, in case you drop one or two.||
You will want a few pieces of good webbing, usually ten to twenty feet in length. The ends are tied together to form a ring of webbing called a sling. Webbing is used for setting up anchors, clipping into an anchor at the top of a lead route, and securing the belayer.
These are the basics. To learn more, you should browse through our equipment descriptions, an index of equipment with pictures, descriptions, and how to use instructions. A checklist of what you will need top roping, leading, tradding, and other forms of climbing is available.
What do I need to for a trad route? What do I need for a top rope? What do I need to set up an anchor? All these questions are asked frequently, and it is important that you don't forget anything! If you have a long approach to your route, then you don't want to bring anything more than you need for your climb. After all, carrying around a backpack full of metal and nylon isn't that fun when you are slapping mosquitos and hopping from rock to rock. If you can almost kick your equipment out the back of a truck to where you are climbing, then it would be wise to bring anything relevant to the route.
We don't mean for you to carry a duffel bag full of extra carabeiners up with you when you are climbing! In fact, you want to take the least amount of equipment you can up on a route that you can complete it with, safely. Safety means having a backup if something fails. Or if you fail. Equipment dropped by a leader is one of the common pitfalls encountered while climbing. Bringing extra quickdraws on a route is an excellent idea, unless you are planning to skip a bolt and create a twenty foot run out when you drop your third quickdraw!
Some rules of thumb for equipment:
These are just recommendations - if you know the route well, and are fairly confident, then you might be able to get away without any backup. Just remember, better safe than sorry!
Check out our shock force calculator to get an idea of how much force is exerted on your equipment when you fall.
Select a category to learn more about: