Rock climbing equipment can seem like a complicated business for the budding climber. To make your life easier, here is a list of the equipment you will need to start climbing safely:
Comfort is key here. Don’t treat climbing as a fashion show. The last thing you want is to get halfway up a rock face and realize that your clothing doesn’t allow you the appropriate level of flexibility.
Shorts and a t-shirt is a tried and tested combination. For climbing in colder climates, lycra or a base layer is recommended. Try some clothing on and see which is best for you.
Some people say that specialised climbing shoes are unnecessary. But for the beginner they can make life much easier. Sometimes you will not be able to find an adequate foothold. This is when climbing shoes excel. The grip they provide will allow you to ‘smear’ your foot in order to propel yourself higher.
Go to a sporting goods store and ask the sales assistant for advice.
Everyone falls at some point when first learning to climb. Your harness will keep you anchored to the rock face should this happen. Do not scrimp when buying one, it will save your life. Again, comfort is key; try on a few and see which one fits best.
More experienced climbers don’t bother with one, but as a beginner you definitely should! It will help to protect you against falling rocks and debris. When you learn to identify this sort of hazard, you can decide if a helmet is for you.
Another one not to scrimp on, your rope is what keeps you from falling. Good quality climbing rope can be very expensive, but worth every penny.
You want a rope which is both strong and flexible. Nylon fibre ropes are usually the best.
Be sure to check the amount of falls a rope can withstand before you have to replace it. Buying one fall ropes as a beginner can become a costly business.
Essential if you suffer from sweaty palms, highly recommended even if you don’t; chalk will help you to increase your grip. Chalk is very cheap, yet the benefits it provides are priceless.
The metal links used to quickly attach a rope in place are cheap and can usually be bought in large numbers. Start of by buying a few of the snapping variety; these are best for beginners!
You don’t want to get to the top of a wall and realise that you have no way down. Make sure you pick up some of these as they will allow you to descend safely.
All of this equipment can set you back a fair bit of money. It is worth renting some to begin with, then if you decide rock climbing is for you, start to invest gradually on your own.
This piece was written by Mark Enright, a writer for Mountain Leisure Perth, suppliers of high quality climbing equipment.