Rock climbing and ice climbing are disciplines that require a certain level of determination, and more than a bit of guts. And unless you are planning to climb to the top of that cliff face without a rope, you are going to be relying on a range of climbing tools and aids to help you.
All it takes is a quick look at Outdoria’s online marketplace to see just how much equipment climbers use during their ascent.
The type of climbing you are performing will determine the tools and aid you will need. Most climbers, however, will all use a carabiner. Make sure you pick up a quality carabiner as it is your first point of contact with your rope and harness.
There are two types of carabiner to look out for: locking and non-locking.
Locking carabiners should always be used at major connection points whereas non-locking carabiners are for connecting to protection or carrying extra gear.
Quickdraws are an essential part of lead climbing – that is, climbing a face that does not have a pre-existing rope rigged up. A climber either carries quickdraws with them on their harness (when climbing outdoors) or uses quickdraws that are permanently attached to the wall (as with climbing in a gym).
Protection (or pro as it is often called for short) is the equipment that climbers use in order to anchor their rope (and themselves) to the climbing surface. Pro is designed to be wedged into cracks and gaps in the rock face. Pro is often colour coded so that a climber can tell what size and shape it is at a glance before choosing it for a particular anchor point.
There are two main types of protection: active and passive.
Active pro such as spring loaded camming devices put force on an anchor point by being spring loaded or having a dynamic shape.
Passive pro such as nuts and chocks must be selected to fit a space based on their particular size.
One of the most important aids climbers use is chalk. Chalk helps to dry your hands as sweat forms, enabling you to grip the climbing surface for longer. Climbers carry chalk in a chalk bag connected either to their harness using a carabiner, or on a separate waist belt.
Not all climbers carry protection, choosing rather to climb routes with pre anchored ropes. In order to create these routes, climbers will create permanent anchors drilling holes in the rock face or in an artificial wall indoors. Bolts, hanger and pulleys are sometimes used together to form a rope a climb, and also for abseiling.
Rope bags are an essential tool for any climber using and transporting their own ropes. A climbing bag not only protects you rope from wear and tear but makes it easy to carry around and can even be used as a haul bag if designed to do so.
Climbing ice is a demanding and dangerous activity, but with the right gear and training can be extremely exciting and rewarding. Ice climbers use a lot of the same gear as rock climbers, but also require specific equipment for the job, such as crampons which allow them to anchor their feet into the icy surface and ice axes that they use to anchor their hands to the wall.
Now that you know what you will need to help you on your next climb, it’s time to check out our marketplace for a range of brands and other gear such as harnesses, shoes, and dynamic ropes that you will need to be a good, safe climber.