Rock climbing is increasing in popularity. If you want to make it to the top and safely return to the base, you need the right equipment as much as you need the right plan and attitude. Here is the gear you need for a climbing trip no matter where you’re going. We’ll give a few pointers about the equipment you must have and the upgrades that are only important to the most advanced climbers.
A good rope is essential to make it to the top. Don’t buy cheap rope, and don’t try to take shortcuts because you really don’t have enough length. Always get a rope that is made specifically for rock climbing because it won’t wear down and break rubbing against a rock face. Thinner rope wears out faster. Consider buying a rope bag to protect the rope from dirt and dust.
Dynamic rope is often recommended because it stretches if you fall, saving your back and helping protect the bolts in the rock and thus your fellow climbers, too. This is recommended but not essential. However, if you’re going to be climbing over snowy or muddy terrain, you need a “dry” rope that takes longer to get wet.
A quickdraw is a piece of webbing attached to two carabiners. It is also called an extender. It is used by rock climbers to let the climbing rope run through bolt anchors while leading. Pre-assembled quickdraws are affordable and convenient to use in conjunction with rope and carabiners. Carabiners may be made of aluminium or steel; aluminium carabiners are more popular because of their lighter weight, though steel ones last longer. Hot-forged carabiners are lighter but more expensive than cold-forged carabiners.
A belay device is used to control a rope while belaying; it acts as a friction brake to take up slack in the rope. It allows a smaller, weaker climber to arrest the fall of a heavier partner more easily. Quality is more important than price when shopping for a belay device because you cannot put a price on your safety. If you’re going to take the hardest climbing routes, consider getting a self-locking belay device because it can catch a fall while requiring as little attention and effort to put in place.
All the other equipment is meaningless if it isn’t connected to you via a harness. A lightweight harness is good enough for sport climbing. You want at least four gear loops, each of which can hold several quickdraws.
Rock shoes are essentially shoes designed for rock climbing. Slippers are a popular type of rock shoe since they fit like tight gloves and cannot fall off your feet. Spend money on the right type and size of shoes, so you don’t have to worry so much about chalking your hands to keep a good grip.
If you’re going on a climbing trip, you need to take some means of self-defense. Whether it is bear spray, an air horn or handguns, it’s always better to have a protection device with you in case you encounter some wildlife.
Having the right equipment can make the difference between a great climbing trip and disaster. Make sure you prepare before you go on your climbing trip, both for your safety and leisure.