Monthly Archives: July 2017

Consolidated Climbing Gear List

Indoors, at the gym

  1. Harness: Any new, all-purpose climbing harness. I think they are all mostly the same.
  2. Locking carabiner: I like Black Diamond Magnetron VaporLocks because they are super easy to clip, lock automatically, and light. Now they come in cool black.
  3. Belay device: I use the original Black Diamond ATC for gym climbing because it operates smoothly with burly gym ropes.
  4. Shoes: I use La Sportiva Mythos, a popular, unlined, flat-soled leather shoe, for comfort. Most performance climbing shoes hurt, a lot. Because they are unlined leather and will stretch, buy a half size too small.

Outdoors, Top-Roping at Carderock or Great Falls

  1. Harness: Any new, all-purpose climbing harness. I think they are all mostly the same.
  2. At least three locking carabiners: I like Black Diamond Magnetron VaporLocks because they are super easy to clip, lock automatically, and light. Now they come in cool black. You need one for belaying and two to set up your top-rope anchor.
  3. Belay device: I use a Black Diamond ATC-Guide. For outdoor climbing, your rope won’t be as burly as a gym rope, so you might want something with more bite than the classic ATC.
  4. Shoes: I use La Sportiva Mythos, a popular, unlined, flat-soled leather shoe, for comfort. Most performance climbing shoes hurt, a lot. Because they are unlined leather and will stretch, buy a half size too small.
  5. 40 meter climbing rope: Regular dynamic climbing ropes work, but they stretch a lot when weighted and that can make them frustrating in top-rope situations. If you’re willing to buy a rope reserved for just top-roping, get a semi-static rope. I like the new Sterling ReVo because it’s only slightly stretchy. It’s marketed to the indoor gym market so it is burly and will withstand heavy use and abrasion. Do not ever lead climb on a semi-static rope because it does not stretch enough to absorb a leader fall.
  6. 30-40 meters (100 feet) of burly (10+ mm) static rope for tying anchors. REI sells static line by the foot. Sterling sells odds and ends for even cheaper. Earth Treks sells static line as part of a kit.
  7. Climbing helmet. People don’t wear helmets at Carderock and Great Falls because after 100 years, all the loose rock has been kicked off the top. But climbers wear helmets most other places. I don’t think which helmet matters. The more expensive helmets have better ventilation.
  8. Rope tarp. I have a rope tarp, but my rope stubbornly crawls itself off the tarp. I think you can live without this.
  9. Large mountaineering backpack (30-45 liters) to store all this stuff, plus your lunch. Mountaineering backpacks have helpful a clip on top for carrying rope and they are easier to climb in than camping backpacks.
  10. Water bottle.

Outdoors, Seconding/Following on Trad

  1. Harness: Any new, all-purpose climbing harness. I think they are all almost the same.
  2. Climbing helmet. This protects against loose rock, and the occasional dropped gear – like that time I dropped my ATC from the top of Seneca Rocks. Check out these reviews for men and women.
  3. Climbing shoes: bring your comfortable, flat-footed (“trad”) climbing shoes like the La Sportiva Mythos. See above about why I recommend comfortable shoes like the Mythos for everything. Don’t try to climb all day in uncomfortable shoes or you will be the most unpleasant follower ever.
  4. Two ATC belay devices: The Black Diamond ATC Guide is good for trad because it can be used in guide mode. Clip one ATC onto your harness. Leave your backup ATC in your pack. People drop ATCs all the time up high. (I’ve dropped mine). If you drop your ATC and don’t have a backup, it becomes a chore to rappel down using a Munter hitch. And that rappelling was supposed to be fun!
  5. Optional Petzl GriGri: these are safer than ATCs for lead belaying. But, you still typically want an ATC to rappel down.
  6. Optional approach shoes: these are hiking shoes/boots lined with sticky climbing rubber for scrambling up the approach and occasional class five climbing. Regular hiking boots slip more on scree. Check out these reviews for men and women. I use FiveTen Camp Four GTX because although they aren’t the absolute best approach shoes for climbing class five terrain in, they are waterproof and great for hiking.
  7. Headlamp. Keep this in your backpack in case you end up stuck after dark. One time at Seneca Rocks in late November my rope got stuck up high after our final rappel.  By the time we dislodged it, which took two hours, it was pitch black. A friend had thankfully lent me her headlamp before heading down. I don’t know how I would have safely scrambled down the 550 vertical foot approach otherwise. Check out these reviews on headlamps.
  8. Three or more locking carabiners. I like Black Diamond Magnetron VaporLocks because they are super easy to clip, lock automatically, and light. Now they come in cool black. You need one carabiner for belaying, and two more for rappelling: one to clip in your autoblock, and one for your harness extension.
  9. One 60 cm nylon runner. Black Diamond 18mm nylon runner in 60 cm length (this will be yellow).  You will want this runner to build an autoblock for rappelling. Pre-sewn runners brake better than cordelettes. Do not get a Dyneema runner. Dyneema is theoretically strong, but in actual use it has weaknesses.
  10. One 120 cm nylon runner. Black Diamond 18mm nylon runner in 120 cm length (this will be blue).  You will use this runner to build a harness extension for rappelling. Do not get a Dyneema runner. Dyneema is theoretically strong, but in actual use it has weaknesses.
  11. Small (16-18 liter) climbing backpack. These ‘follower’s packs’ are designed for ease of movement and have a useful clip on top for carrying a rope. (Leaders often don’t use backpacks, or if they do, they use an even smaller pack). Check out these reviews on climbing backpacks.
  12. 2-3 liter hydration bladder. You need a lot of water for all-day climbing. I used to climb with a big jug of water in my climbing pack, but I rarely had the opportunity to actually pull it out and drink, so I ended up dehydrated. Also, that big jug bounced around in my pack and awkwardly shifted my weight around. Check out these reviews on hydration bladders. Personally, I use an inexpensive Platypus.

I hope this helps someone. Climb on!

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