Heading out for an outdoor rock climb can be an exciting time – particularly if you are a beginner or fairly new to rock climbing. To make sure the experience remains enjoyable it is important to make sure you have all the right equipment before you head out.
You will need the right technical and safety gear, the right clothing and footwear and there are some essential personal items as well – so we have compiled this quick list which you can tick off before you head out on a climb.
A light shell jacket
This will help to repel wind and light rain providing protection that is breathable and also very light weight to carry.
An insulated jacket
If it’s colder then bring a warmer jacket which you can wear over your shell jacket, for when you are not moving and need to keep warm. If it’s not that cold then a sweatshirt should do.
A baseball cap
To protect your eyes and head from the sun
- Personal equipment
Your climbing rucksack
It needs to be light, simple and compact and easy to carry and one that fits well so you have no fear of it slipping from your shoulders.
Food and water
If you are going to be out for a while you need to bring snacks and lunches that are easy to eat on the go and provide you with ongoing nutrition and energy for the climb. You also need to bring several bottles of water with you to make sure you remain hydrated.
You should always remember to protect yourself from the sun as it can be quite exposed out on a rock face so bring sunglasses, sun block and lip balm with sun block included in it. You might also want to bring your camera.
- Climbing and safety equipment
Depending on where you are going you might need to bring your own ropes, carabiners and protective equipment, or it might be provided by your guide – always check before you leave as you don’t want to turn up without it and find you can’t climb.
You might need to wear lightweight shoes for the walk or hike up to the climbing spot – as you will likely be carrying these afterwards it’s best to avoid heavy hiking boots.
Rock climbing shoes
You need to have tight-fitting rock climbing shoes which are not going to slip off and will let you use smaller holds securely while you are climbing. They need to be tight but not so tight that they cause you pain. Check out these reviews for some good options.
Rock climbing harness
Your harness needs to be in good condition and needs to fit securely over your clothing and under your pack. Some rock climbing places will have harnesses to hire so it’s worth checking before you go and out and buy one.
Rock climbing helmet
The helmet is essential to protect your head from falling rocks or if you were to fall so make sure you either have one of your own, or hire one from your guide before you set out. It is the most essential piece of protective equipment.
- Equipment for longer climbs
If you are planning a lengthier climb with multiple stops then there is some additional equipment which you might want to think about taking with you:
- Extra clothing layers, synthetic material is best for keeping warm along with a light shell jacket over the top to keep out the wind and cold.
- A headlamp with new batteries in case you end up climbing in the dark either early in the morning or late at night.
- A belay and locking carabiners are also useful items to have with you on a longer and more complicated rock climb. You might also want a sling with you in case of overnight rest stops.
As you can see, going out on a rock climb, particularly a longer climb, requires a lot of basic equipment to ensure safety not only while climbing but also to protect you from the elements as well.
However, once you have everything on this list you are set up for any kind of rock climbing scenario and can go out there and find a suitable guided climb to take part in. It’s always advisable to get used to climbing at an indoor practice wall first, before attempting to take part in an outdoor event.
However, once you have the training and experience, all of the right equipment to keep you safe, there is nothing stopping you from finding a great guide to take you along a great route so you can thoroughly enjoy the climbing experience outside.
Never go rock climbing by yourself as it can be incredibly hazardous, so either go as part of a guided trail, or with a climbing buddy in case of any problems.