The Climbing Kit for the First Time Rockclimber

Headed rockclimbing this weekend for the first or almost first time ever? No worries! We can cover the basic equipment that you will need to participate in one of the most challenging and interesting sports you can find.

1. Climb with an experienced partner or guide.

While rockclimbing can be a ton of fun, it is inherently dangerous, so take your safety seriously and climb with knowledgeable people. Investing in a class or professional guide is well worth it. Would you teach yourself to go bungee jumping?

2. What should I wear?
Of course, this depends on the time of year and location. But, in most cases, a layering system of synthetic clothing is your best bet. Synthetic activewear is designed to allow you to move freely, yet it wicks sweat away- keeping you cool when it is hot and warm when it is cold. The weather up on the rock can be significantly different than the weather in the parking lot, so keep in mind how sun, wind, and cloud coverage will affect the temps and be prepared for varying conditions. Your clothing should allow you significant freedom of movement, yet be sturdy enough to withstand the abrasiveness of the rock face. Outdoor brands like Mountain Hardwear and Prana make pants and shorts that are well suited for climbing thanks to fit, durability, and stretchy, wicking fabric.

3. What equipment do I need?
The most basic equipment you need includes:Your experienced friend or guide will likely provide other essentials, like the rope and quick draws or a trad rack. If you are going bouldering, you won't need a harness or a belay device, but you will need a nice, beefy crash pad to cushion any falls.
*Keep in mind that climbing equipment has a life span, so your brother's harness from a NOLS trip he took 20 years ago is unlikely to still be usable or safe.

4. What should I pack?

Food/ Water - Depending on the duration of your climb, you will need to pack adequate food and water. Remember, you could easily burn over 600 calories an hour climbing, so high energy foods and snacks like Cliff Bars and Shot Blocks are a great supplement to a bagel sandwhich.
First Aid Kit - A simple first aid kit can be critical in unexpected situations.
Headlamp - Many climbing days last a lot longer than expected! A lightweight headlamp, like the Petzl Tikka Plus will help you hike out in the dark.
Extra Layers/ Rain Gear - A lightweight rain shell like the Marmot Oracle is worth carrying in your crag pack every time! Temperatures can vary greatly as the weather changes or the sun sets, so be prepared.
Bug Spray / Sunscreen - It is a good idea to apply these products before heading out climbing, since they make your hands slippery and can degrade climbing equipment. Climbing often includes significant sun exposure.
Cell Phone - While a cell phone may not work where you are headed, you should still consider carrying one in case of emergency. At the very least, tell a friend or family member where you will be climbing.


More info on the basics of climbing equipment here.

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