Rock climbing is one of the most physically demanding outdoor adventures that a person can try out. But it isn't for the faint of heart. There are a lot of injuries and accidents that can happen when a person is scaling up the side of a mountain or rocky slope. That's why it is crucial to have these ten essentials when you go:
- Climbing Clothing
Loose clothing can get caught in the ropes and snag on rocks that you pass by. So wear fitted clothing that won't get in the way of your gear. Fashion is less important than safety and practicality with this sport.
- Climbing Shoes
Regular shoes don't allow the feet to be as flexible as rock-climbing shoes do. They also don't grip as well. So don't skimp by using your old pair of tennis shoes, they could cause you to fall. Instead try using a snug, but not constricting, shoe with a durable sole for those rough surfaces so you get the best grip without any slip up. No one wants to tie a loose string or even lose a shoe 30 ft into a climb.
The head has to be protected in case of a bad fall or accident. Falling rocks, weather conditions, or other climbers may cause injury during a climb, so never start climbing without your helmet on. Again, it may not look the best but it could end up saving your life.
A body harness with loopholes for the arms and legs to slide through will support your weight if you slip off the side of the mountain. Be sure to buy one that has a place in the front for connecting carabiners to the ropes. Body harnesses that rely on fabric loops are susceptible to wear and tear making them not as safe.
A container of chalk is helpful to have for absorbing sweat on the hands. And no, this isn’t the crayola sidewalk chalk but it's more of a powdery mix used by powerlifters, gymnasts and rock climbers alike. It will also help give you more grip if you use fingerless gloves. Don't use it on the bottom of your shoes or any other gear though because it could make it malfunction.
These metal hooks are designed to support hundreds of pounds of weight. They are different than cheaper snap-together hooks for holding a set of keys because they are made of a much stronger type of metal. The only carabiners that a rock climber should ever buy are those that are certified to have passed safety inspections and requirements.
- Dynamic and Static Ropes
You'll need both dynamic and static ropes for rock climbing. One is designed for stretching to prevent injury and absorb some of the shock from falling. The other stays elongated intended for carrying other equipment during a climb. Both of them are important for climbing, so ask a rock-climbing instructor about them if you aren't sure how to properly use them.
- Crash Pads
Those who are first starting out with rock climbing tend to fall down a lot. So it is best to bring along some crash pads to absorb the impact. These are perfect for indoor practice sessions and for beginner runs at a the real deal.
- Climbing Pack
A backpack is helpful to take for carrying all your equipment and the best travel first aid kit. Choose one that is designed especially for climbing and is compact without being overweight and can be secured to your person under harsh conditions. Other types could get in the way of your recreation gear.
- Belay Device
A belay device pulls the rope along for you as you climb. Otherwise, you have to have a second person do the task for you, which isn't as safe. Make sure that the thickness of your rope matches the width of the belay device that you buy.
While most sports have their risks of injury, the risks of rock climbing are much more severe. The best way to prevent these injuries is with the best gear and knowledge on how to use it. As always, be sure to consult an instructor and put in a lot of practice time before going out and climbing.