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Climbing shoes

First things first you’re going to need a pair of climbing shoes. Pretty much every type of climbing apart from ice climbing requires them. There is a whole array of different types of shoes which are meant for different styles, preferences, conditions, moods, zodiacs you name it. But regardless of all that, if you show up to the gym or the crag without shoes, you’re gonna have a pretty hard time getting on the wall.

Chalk bag and Brush

Next up, it’s a great idea to bring a chalk bag full of chalk. Same as the shoes, no matter what kind of climbing you do (again apart from ice climbing) it’s gonna help a whole lot, unless you’re Janja Garnbret and can top a route in the world cup after losing your bag on the second hold. The chalk is used to dry your sweaty palms, giving you better grip on the holds. But beware, you can use too much of it, then it just makes you slip off the holds and it’s sort of counterproductive.

The third piece of equipment is a brush which sort of goes together with the chalk. Now again there is many kinds of brushes some being fancier and more expensive, but in essence it’s just meant to get some of the excess chalk off the holds and help with a better grip. It’s especially helpful with that old chalk mixed with rubber and grime that can be found adorning the holds in super busy gyms. If you are only planning on climbing indoors, you might not even need a brush since lots of gyms have them lying around for people to use. Or of course you can just bother other climbers to borrow theirs, but I guess that goes for any piece of equipment (apart from shoes maybe, because ew)

So with these three basic pieces of equipment you’re all set for bouldering, no matter the level, this is still all you’re gonna need to slap some volumes and take some tumbles. Further lets look what we need in addition to do some outdoor rock climbing.

If you’re ready to jump on some longer routes you most definitely will need a harness. The reason for mentioning this before the rope is because a rope is not much use if you’re not wearing a harness. There are different kinds, for different kinds of climbing, but generally a sport climbing harness has some more reinforcement and cushioning in the lower back area, since it’s meant to be fallen into al lot more.

Climbing rope

As mentioned above, for virtually every kind of climbing apart from bouldering (and free soloing, but let’s leave that to the Alex Honnolds of the world) you’re gonna need a rope. There are different lengths and thicknesses for different uses, but it all serves the same purpose, which is to prevent you from falling to the ground. Sound quite useful right?

Now if you’ve gone to the trouble of getting a harness and a rope and think you’re all set to get onto a route you’ve forgotten about a crucial piece of gear which is needed for belaying. That is a belay device. Now here is where things get a little more complicated. The most basic type of belay device (other than using a Munter hitch or a figure of eight piece) is a belay plate. It’s very versatile and simple to use, but it has quite a significant downside which is that unlike other more involved devices it has no breaking system. This means that in the event of the belayer making an error, there is nothing to stop the climber from falling from the wall. The other kinds of devices are assisted breaking devices. There are passive and active ones, the passive ones having no moving parts and stop the rope by pinching it between the device and carabiner. The type of belay devices that are most popular are active break devices, an example being the Petzl Gri-Gri. A device like the Gri-Gri which has the ability to stop a climber from falling is at the end of the day undoubtedly the best option to choose, since there is no real reason to sacrifice safety.

Helmet

Last but certainly not least, for any climbing which you are doing outside it’s a good idea to wear a helmet. It’s gonna protect your head in the case of a fall or falling rock and in my opinion there are no legitimate arguments against wearing one.

So to sum up, with these seven pieces of equipment you should be all set to take on any bouldering or sport climbing situation whether it be indoors or out. We recommend buying gear that is in line with all the safety standards and made by brands that are trusted in the climbing community. It’s not worth saving a few bucks on crappy gear that can fail on you. High quality gear  can be expensive but if you’re on the lookout for some good deals when buying, you can save a significant amount. There’s also the option of shopping second hand but be careful and make sure the gear you’re getting is still up to par with safety standards. And then you can use all that money you saved to buy more climbing gear!

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