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Gear guide to start rock climbing

What gear do you need for indoor bouldering?



Indoor bouldering offers the best conditions for beginners with the minimum equipment. No need for harnesses, ropes, or crash pads; everything you need comes down to a list of just five essentials:

Climbing shoes:

Climbing shoes are the absolute basics, not just because climbing barefoot is prohibited indoors, but mainly because they allow you to use the full potential of your feet! Climbing shoes provide stable and reliable holds with a high level of precision. Whether you are heel hooking, standing on your toes, or toe hooking, they make your feet more suitable for climbing with a wide range of possible positions and excellent grip.




Socks:

Climbing-specific socks add a touch of comfort and hygiene without compromising sensations or precision, thanks to a thin construction that helps maintain feel. There are different schools of thought on whether to wear socks or not, but the most important thing is your personal preference. If you rent your climbing shoes, socks become more essential for hygiene reasons, as they will be worn by others after you.

Chalk:

Available in powder or gel form, it ensures very effective finger grip by absorbing excess sweat. However, be sure to check the rules, as some gyms do not allow the use of powdered chalk.




Finger tape:

Climbing tape is used to protect your fingers when climbing. It plays several crucial roles for climbers, including preventing blisters by reducing friction on the skin, which is particularly useful during repeated contact with holds. Besides skin protection, the tape can support joints, wrists, and finger pulleys, offering valuable biomechanical support.

Small brush:

Most gyms provide them, but it’s always handy to have your own to clean holds and ensure good grip.

Indoor bouldering clothing guide
Outdoor bouldering clothing guide

Outdoor bouldering essentials



The equipment is the same as for indoor bouldering, with a few additional items.

Crash pad:

You’ll agree it's much more pleasant to fall on a good crash pad than on a ground strewn with branches, rocks, and pebbles. The crash pad is an essential element for outdoor bouldering, often designed to be foldable to take up less space in the car. Some models can be assembled together to increase the total surface area, and others come with straps for easy transport to your favourite spot.





Chalk:

Outdoors, there are no restrictions between powdered and liquid chalk, so you can choose whichever you prefer.

Brush:

A brush is essential outdoors in case you encounter dirty holds or if previous climbers have left an excessive amount of chalk on them.

Essential equipment for indoor sport climbing



Ropes and quickdraws are readily available for indoor lead climbing, and they are already set up. However, for everything else, it's up to you to be prepared and kitted out!


Harness:

A harness is mandatory for indoor route climbing. It allows you to secure yourself with the rope and ensures optimal distribution of contact points.





Chalk powder and bag:

Powdered chalk is recommended for indoor climbing, as it is more easily accessible throughout the climb when stored in a chalk bag.

Belay device and appropriate carabiner:

For sport climbing, a belay device is essential for safety. Whether you use a tube-style belay device, a figure-eight, or an advanced braking system, these tools regulate the force with which the rope is pulled through, enabling controlled descents and securing the ascent. Renowned brands like Petzl, Camp, Black Diamond, and Edelrid offer a variety of reliable models, ensuring climbers' safety and confidence.

Belay glasses:

Our belay glasses are essential to prevent neck strain, allowing belayers to follow their partner's progress without constantly tilting their head upwards. Using specially designed prisms, these glasses redirect the field of view upwards while maintaining a neutral head position, providing maximum comfort and reducing neck fatigue during long climbing sessions.

Gloves:

Climbing gloves are designed to provide additional protection for climbers' hands. They help prevent burns caused by the friction of the rope, a common occurrence when belaying or rappelling. When the rope moves quickly through the belayer's or climber's hands, it can generate enough heat to cause burns. Besides protecting against burns, these gloves improve grip on the rope, offering increased control and contributing to a safer and more comfortable climbing experience.

Indoor climbing outfit
Sports climbing apparel guide

What gear is needed for outdoor sport climbing?


Be aware that you'll need to set up the gear, ropes, and quickdraws yourself and secure everything. Plan your trip ahead carefully. Check the route guide to determine the necessary rope length, number of quickdraws, and the route's difficulty. In addition to the indoor route climbing gear, you will need:

Helmet:

For outdoor climbing, a helmet is a fundamental safety item. It is essential for protection in case of falls or falling rocks and should be chosen carefully. A good helmet, both lightweight and robust, offers invaluable additional safety for any climber. Never neglect this piece of equipment, as it can make a critical difference in an accident.



Rope + protective bag:

For outdoor climbing, it is crucial to use ropes of appropriate length and diameter specific to the route. These ropes should be transported in a protective bag to shield them from external elements like dust and moisture, ensuring their integrity and prolonging their lifespan.



Set of quickdraws:

For outdoor climbing, it is advisable to choose robust quickdraws with good-sized carabiners for easy handling, even with gloves. The length of the sling can vary: shorter slings are preferred for direct routes, and longer ones to reduce rope drag in more complex or winding routes. A set of 12 to 16 quickdraws is sufficient for most routes, but this can vary depending on the length and configuration of the route.



Anchor tether and carabiner:

A personal anchor tether with its carabiner is essential for outdoor climbing, especially for temporarily securing yourself to a belay stance to rest, eat, or manage equipment.
Having two extra carabiners is often a good choice for outdoor climbing. It provides more options for rope management. If you lose your belay device, for instance, you can create a makeshift belay system with two carabiners and safely descend.



Quick Link:

At the top of a route, there is a ring that allows for rappelling. The quick link serves as an escape if you cannot finish the route while lead climbing. Instead of abandoning a quickdraw, you place the quick link to use it as a ring to descend safely.

Of course, after preparing all the necessary gear for your climbing trip, it's crucial not to neglect one final essential step: always check the condition of your equipment leaving. Ensure that everything is in perfect working order, with no excessive wear or damage. Carefully inspect the sole of your climbing shoes, the condition of your ropes along their entire length, and so on. This check can make the difference between a successful and safe experience and a potentially dangerous outing. Well-maintained equipment is the key to a safe and fun climbing.

What to Wear for Climbing?

For climbing, it is recommended to choose flexible and lightweight clothing. Whether you opt for shorts or trousers depends on the season, but in both cases, prioritise stretch clothes containing elastane for better range of motion. Leggings are also an excellent option. Thanks to their stretchability, they perfectly follow your movements, making climbing more comfortable.

Rock climbing apparel guide