• Pathloom Guest Blogger

Rock Climbing: Beginner's Gear Guide Checklist

All The Equipment You Need To Climb Safely and Effectively


A woman making a near-impossible-looking climb at an incredible angle, as the sun beats overhead through partly cloudy skies in Bishop, California

Rock Climbing in Bishop, CA - Photo Credit: Yuta Shiraki


 

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As the snow begins to thaw, temperatures rise, and Spring begins to bloom across the country, many prospective rock climbers are turning their attention to the mountains in anticipation of a summer full of action. But imagine getting to the base of a cliff, ready to get climbing, and realizing that you don’t have all the necessary tools to make the ascent - how frustrating! This guide is aimed at beginners who want to come prepared for their first rock climbing adventure. Here’s what you will need!



Harness

A climbing harness consists of a waist loop and two leg loops. It allows you to securely attach the rope via the carabiner (more on those later). Harnesses also typically have attachment loops for other accessories such as chalk. A good harness will be comfortable and have ample padding. They should be chosen on a personal preference basis, based on how your body shape fits into the harness. All harnesses need to meet a special safety rating. But usually the more expensive ones will allow you to stay suspended for longer due to the way in which they distribute weight.


Our harness of choice: Black Diamond - Momentum Harness

 

Rope


A good rope is necessary for a comfortable climbing experience. Make sure the rope you choose is strong and has adequate safety ratings for your weight. Materials can differ and some types of rope will burn your hands – so if you have delicate skin definitely go for smoother materials. You may also choose to wear gloves to minimize calluses.




Our rope of choice: Beal - KARMA 9.8mm Rope - 60m

 

Related on the Pathloom Blog: Top 5 Climbing Areas in the Pacific Northwest

 

A man climbs up a sheer rock face in Bishop, California, high above a lush forest below that waits to swallow him up

Rock Climbing in Bishop, CA - Photo Credit: Yuta Shiraki



Liquid Chalk



Chalk has long been a climber’s best friend. As you exert yourself, you will find that your hands start to sweat. This makes it difficult to cling on to the cliff-face. By applying liquid chalk to the hands, you will remove any excess moisture on your hands and will have a stronger and more confident grip.


Liquid chalk is a revolutionary type of chalk that can make your climb much more enjoyable. Liquid chalk comes in a convenient bottle, and can often be hooked directly to the climbing harness. It’s less messy than regular chalk, and provides a superior and longer lasting grip.


Our chalk of choice: Liquid Chalk Shop - Liquid Chalk

 

Climbing Shoes


Climbing shoes are extremely useful. They allow for more technical climbs due to them having hooked toes in the front. The soles of the shoes are specifically designed for climbing, and have a strong grippy rubber that provides better traction on rock surfaces.








Our climbing shoes of choice: Scarpa - Origin Rock Shoe

 

Related on the Pathloom Blog: Life Lessons From Climbing Dragontail Peak

 

An expert climber shows off his gear, featuring a harness laden with everything needed to attempt some of the most difficult climbs in Bishop, California

Showing off Gear in Bishop, CA - Photo Credit: Yuta Shiraki



Carabiner


The carabiner hooks onto the belay loop of the harness and provides the intermediary attachment between the harness and the belay device attached to the rope. A good carabiner should be safe, but also easy to attach and detach. Many different types of carabiners exist, each with their own opening and closing mechanisms. Make sure to choose one that suits your style of climbing.





Our carabiner of choice: Kong - Argon RF Carabiner

 

Belay Device


This device allows you to belay back down the cliff instead of falling – super important, obviously! It requires a bit of training to use, but once you get the hang of it’s not so bad. This device attaches to the rope and is clipped onto the carabiner already attached to the harness.








Our belay of choice: Black Diamond - ATC-XP Belay Device

 

Helmet


Better safe than sorry! Even with everything correctly set up, accidents happen where climbers are not able to react, or when loose pieces of rock are dislodged. It’s very important to keep your head protected. A good helmet can be the difference between a mild concussion and permanent brain damage. Make sure to use a safety certified helmet.






Our helmet of choice: Black Diamond - Half Dome Helmet

A woman climber is completely upside-down, navigating a small crevasse as practice for bigger rock faces in Bishop, California

Rock Climbing in Bishop, CA - Photo Credit: Yuta Shiraki



Keep these things in mind to purchase prior to the next time you go climbing. With your equipment in order, you’ll be able to conquer any mountain!


 

Guest Blogger Vic Vale is a personal trainer with an interest in climbing, gymnastics and bodyweight fitness. He's passionate about movement, and understanding how the human body works

 

Get exclusive stories, trail reports, National Park alternatives, recipes, and more delivered directly to your inbox from our growing team of experienced thru-hikers, former National Park employees, and fellow adventure lovers.



 

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