As always, when you start practicing any sport, there is the doubt of what equipment will be necessary. Nobody wants to be in trouble because they don’t have the necessary tools and much less if you are climbing where, in best case scenario, the absence of a tool would prevent us for keep going up, and in the worst case scenario would bring serious consequences. We pretend to help solving those doubts about the essential equipment.
In other article, we already explain the different types of climbing and today will be focusing in elaborate a list of the necessary equipment to start practicing sport climbing.
A beginner in climbing usually has partners more experts tan him, who already have the equipment, so he only needs to buy the basic and support himself in the veterans’ equipment while he starts. That’s why he’ll only need three basic elements:
Also known for some as “dancers”, they are the shoes people use for climbing. There is much to say about them, and they deserve another article, but we can say that, unlike other shoes, these must be tied, because is fundamental the fit the feed as a second skin, which will be uncomfortable but shouldn’t be painful (that’s what’s tricky).
Another thing we must say about climbing shoes is that is in climbing equipment we should invest our money. I don’t recommend that you buy the cheapest ones because you can tell the difference… a lot. When climbing is fundamental to use feet, more that it will look like it. Good climbing shoes will make us feel safe when practicing climbing or putting all our body weight in a two centimeter deep corbel. This you cannot do it with cheap shoes, where bad quality on the sole will prevent you to start with the right foot.
There are many types, models for men, women and children. In general, it should be just above hips’ bones, they can also be tied to trouser leg. It should be tied enough, but also be loose to be able to take it off, or to put it with more clothes on.
There are many models and lots of climbers don’t use it (every time less people use it) but is necessary because it protect us from hitting and stones falling. If you are going to use it make sure it’s tied so it can work as it should.
We know we said that there were only three fundamental elements to start climbing. Actually, we can borrow slings and HMS carabineer from our friends that will probably have many of them. But, because is really cheap and really useful and important for safety we thought it won’t be bad to try a little more and acquire a sling and a HMS carabineer. The sling should be long and the first HBS carabineer big. This one is different from other carabineers because it has a nut or a similar device that prevent it to open involuntarily.
About the Maillon, this is used when we start on a path and have to abandon it without getting to the anchor, which can happened at the beginning, especially if we choose a route above our level. In that case we’ll lower ourselves from a bolt hanger, we won’t be able to pass the rope throw the corners of the edge and we’ll have to clip a carabineer that we’ll abandon at the bolt hanger. If you don’t want to lose the carabineer you can use a maillon of the rope’s width (bought at the climbing store, not in the hardware store, because is cheaper). This system, however, has a downside, because the difference in price in many places is not that big and while the carabineer will be used in many things, the maillon will only have one use.
In case you have to invest money at the beginning, do it in your climbing shoes. If you choose the cheapest ones in the market it will be more difficult to start climbing and that will difficult your learning. With the rest of the material you can buy the cheapest ones in the store. The difference between cheap and expensive is generally in the weight of the equipment or in things that won’t significant affect our learning.