Going climbing is one of life’s ultimate thrills. Pulling yourself to the top of a rock face with little more than your own strength always feels like quite the achievement – because it is! Climbing is exhilarating and challenging all at the same time.
Unless you’re a free-climber, you’ll need some decent equipment with you when you’re heading climbing. Most of these are for your comfort, safety, and protection whilst climbing, aside from the normal harness and rope. Add these items to your climbing collection to make for an even more enjoyable day and safe, satisfying climb.
First up, proper climbing shoes. Real comfort and support for your feet are essential for climbing. You need to be able to trust that your shoes aren’t going to slip on your climb, either. This is why properly designed climbing shoes are an absolute must. They may set you back a hundred bucks or so, but it’s totally worth the expense for that added comfort and safety whilst climbing.
If you haven’t seen belay glasses before you should check them out. These glasses, as explained at this link, allow you to look straight ahead but actually see what or who is above you. These are truly amazing bits of gear, using prisms to deflect light and let you effectively look straight up, without tilting your head back.
For those of you who get a sore neck whilst climbing, these glasses could completely change the way you feel on a tough climb. They take some getting used to, mind. Don’t let that put you off. Once you are used to them, the added benefit and safety of the above-head view will change the way you feel whilst climbing.
Chalk and Bag
No climbers gear collection is complete without hand chalk. Top-quality chalk allows you extra grip, making your fingers far less likely to slip off the rock face. You obviously don’t have spare hands to carry the chalk up the cliff, though, so you need a chalk bag, too. These are handy little bags that attach to your harness using one of your (many) carabiners. Chalk and a suitable bag are absolutely essential, even for an indoor or man-made climbing wall.
If you are sport climbing you’ll need your own belay device and carabiner. These devices are very clever, adding a huge amount of extra safety to your climb. Belay devices act as a rope brake, quickly stopping a fall if a climber loses their balance. You will be able to use them to support the weight of your fellow climbers and assist them back down to ground level if they fall from the rocks. Without belay devices you are playing a much riskier game, so they are an essential piece of gear.
Quickdraws are effectively double carabiners with a cable holding them together. As you climb your route, you will attach these to bolts in the rock face, then attach your rope through the other end. Again, this is a critical safety device, especially for those climbing alone. These points you have anchored yourself to along the route act as further safety loops, stopping you from falling past them as the rope pulls on the quickdraw.
Of course, every adventure and action sports person should wear a helmet. Rock climbing is certainly no different, all climbers should wear helmets. When climbing, you are dealing with natural surfaces and great heights. These two combined can create serious accidents, with rocks pulled out of position falling down towards you, or slips and falls leading to clashes of the head. There is no reason to not wear a helmet and a thousand reasons to wear one. Buy a proper climbing helmet and wear it properly.
We end our essentials list with some personal care items. Climbing is often undertaken in harsh conditions such as intense heat or icy cold. As you climb, you become more and more exposed to the harsh elements. Wherever you climb, make sure you pack with you some sunscreen and lip balm. The last thing you need is to be hundreds of feet up and suddenly notice your neck, face, or shoulders are burning up in the sun. It’s bad enough if you’re on solid ground and this happens! Look after yourself and stay safe and un-panicked whilst you climb.
With all these items you can be sure to enjoy yourself whilst climbing, feeling totally safe when you do so. We hope you find this list healthy and strongly recommend you go out and purchase these items right away, especially if you’re planning a climb soon. Good luck on your next climb!