Advice on climbing gear

Discussion in 'Sports, Adventure Training and Events' started by the_mentalist, Oct 20, 2007.

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  1. Hi, I am just getting a taste for climbing, I have only done it twice outdoors but have joined a climbing club who own an indoor wall and now climb twice a week there.

    I think it is time to invest in some climbing kit of my own, but it is a minefield out there with so much gucci stuff I just dont know where to start. I am also on a tight budget!

    The club does have all the basic gear so I at the moment I am using theirs. Could anyone advise me on what essentials to start off with, what brands to buy, where to go for discount etc.

    Many thanks, but please only sensible comments. T_M
  2. Your own shoes are a must however dont go for brand go for comfort as we all know climbing shoes are murder to wear anyway.

    Belay device i would say is up there with nice to have your own.

    Dont bother with ropes. I'm sure the walls will have some sort of rotation to make sure that they dont exceed their falls.
  3. Are you going to progress onto outside climbing at all? A couple of pieces of kit depend on what type of climbing you're doing, such as a harness and the number of slings you need.
  4. Petzl do in my mind the best kit for the price you pay. There are better companies but more expensive.

    Black Diamond do cheep and cheerful but safe belay device for indoor work. It all depends on whether you plan to stay indoors.
  5. Yes, I am going adventure training to Capel Curig soon and I would like to get my RCP under my belt.

    Do you need your own gear for RCP?
  6. No, you should be able to get all of that at Capel if i'm right.
  7. Top tip when starting out.

    What kit are you borrowing at teh moment?
  8. At the moment I am borrowing everything, shoes, harness, chalk bag, belay device, the whole works.
  9. for climbing outside, a harness, climbing shoes belay device and such are all you need. with only two or three sessions your a while of leading climbs, so you dont need much in the way of fancy gear.
    however a 24 inch or bigger sling, a couple of screwgate krabs (karabeaners or however they are spelt), and probably a smaller sling and some prusiks, will enable you to climb some single pitch climbs with a friend, assuming you anchor at the top, if they cant lead.

    your own rope is always a bonus, and if its a single pitch with a rope above, you can just buy one 'double' rope. while meant to be used with another of the same type, the falls you take when you top rope have very little fall factor, and you'll be safe.

    some tips from when i started (while ago now :p):

    -firstly, ditch the chalk bag. everybody who starts out uses it 'wrong'. learn to climb properly, and on any route a beginner will be doing, you wont need chalk. nothing personal, but if you dont use chalk, you learn how to use holds properly, and not to rely on your hands so much. if you cant hold on to a hold without chalk, you need to change your position, or choose another hold.

    -on indoor walls, try to spend some time climbing, but get your partner to keep the rope a little slack. if you spend all your time with the rope pulling the harness halfway up your arse, you dont learn to climb and work with your entire bodyweight. also, will build your confidence and help you commit more. if your going to fall rather then just swing out, you will be less flipant about taking difficult holds. obviously, if you fall, you only fall like half a metre at the most, but its a psych. thing more then anything.

    - get somebody who is an experienced climber to show you how to anchor ropes and slings and such. if you can secure a top rope, you and a friend who cant lead can both climb single pitch routes. anchoring on a tree is simple. give it a big kick or 5, make sure its not dead and is solid. pass a sling round it, and clip both ends together with a krab. then just put the rope into the krab as well, screw it up, and chuck the rope over the edge, so there should be both ends at the bottom.

    not having to depend on an experienced climber to set up your climbs all the time, means you can climb assuming you have a friend who will go with you. not everybody knows people who can climb well enough to lead, and that can be a major problem (i personally spent a lot of time climbing on my own, as i knew no climbers who would be able to climb with me. with no protection, i tended to climb to about 3-5 time my height and then climb down again. without ropes or harness' you can be more athletic, and climb harder. obviously, your not competant enough to try that yet i would bet.)

    if you have any problems, feel free to ask away :p

  10. Whilst I agree with pretty much everything else this is a massive NO!NO!, never ever apply a 3 way load to any form of Krab! If you are going to use a tree, obviously make sure it is solid and well rooted and at least about 8" thick, personally I never use a tree which is within about 3m of the edge(the voice of experience and the word timber! spring to mind). Pass the sling around it and form the loop with a double screwgate Krab. Turn the sling so that the Krabs are away from the rope attachment point, fit another double Krab over the sling through which you pass the rope. It may sound over the top but is the correct way to set up a top rope, it ensures that each Krab is only 2 way loaded and is the method taught on a the SPA. My top tip would be save your money, use your clubs kit for as long as possible but do a SPA or minimum novice climbers course. If you want to climb the best way to get proficient is to live, the longer the better, you will have a long time to gather gucci kit, I have about £2k worth but it took about 10 years to gather all that, piece by piece as and when I really needed it.

    PS. As a novice I would suggest getting a fully adjustable Alpine harness to start with, as you get into the sport you will find you have 2 or 3 eventually for indoor, alpine and long multi-pitch rock. Add to this a good belay device, I like the bug or an ATC, it's personal choice. My next investment would be a good climbing rucksack to be honest, then some decent comfortable shoes (buy the lace up type which you can use indoors or outdoors, the slippers are only good for indoors) go from there. Never concern yourself with brands, all climbing kit meets the BS, so price is irrelevant.
  11. ah yes, i stand corrected. its been so long since iv set up a top rope around a tree!

    while of course the above is the bible on safety, i personally would climb with a sling and single krab, but would probably chuck a gear anchor as well.

    generally, when you top rope, krabs are ok triple loaded in my experience, as long as the ropes tight. shock loads are what fucks up your gear.

    as you'll learn, when your climbing your own set up, you generally have to make a judgement on how safe it is. its like driving:
    when you teach someone else to drive you teach them to stick to safety regs. to the letter, but when you drive yourself, you dont neccesarily obey them to the letter :p

    this however did remind me of these things:

    -also, be aware of things like sharp edges. you could have bolts into the rock for anchors, but if your rope cuts in half your screwed.

    -if your not sure of something, be safe rather then sorry. two krabs linking a sling is stronger then one, and two slings are stronger then one.

    -keep tension on your anchors. if you had a sling as an anchor, tied yourself to it, kept it lose, and jumped of a cliff, you bet it would snap, but when its under tension you could carry a car and it would be fine (well nearly.., if your carrying a car halfway up a crag, you've got far bigger problems.)

    -put screw krabs with the top facing down, or they will come lose because of gravity. also, they are stronger when loaded from top to bottom rather then side to side. if you have only wiregate or snap gate, putting two, opposite ways round (one with gate facing right, the other gate facing left for example) means that the rope cant twist and open the gate.

    regarding shoes, i tend to go for ones that have no more then about 1/2 a centimetre at very most between the end and your toes. if they are too tight, you wont be able to wear them for long.
    if you need to put a toe on a small hold, assuming you dont have rock hard soles, it will bend enough to get the hold, but generally a toe is not the best, unless its a very small indent, go for the side of the foot, standing on your toes will knacker your calfs, and using the side of your foot allows you to get closer to the wall, and move weight on your feet, rather then having to grip on like a madman and knacker your forearms.

    edited for mongness.

  12. If you buy a rope, keep a rope diary and read up on fall factors. Before a climb feed the rope through your hands, checking for kinks, internal damage etc. Never climb without checking the kit (especially club stuff)

    Never 3 way load a krab, they can fail (scooped up climbers who have done that) putting a overhand knot in the sling is preferable and put the krab in the loop.

    Buy a nut extractor, as trying to get them buggers out of the rock can be a nightmare, especially when a few hundred feet up and your getting chicken legs!

    If you wear a ring, take it off before climbing.
  13. Cheers for the advice guys, all good stuff!

    So, where is the best place to buy my gear and who does the best squaddie discount?
  14. I use several suppliers, Cotswold will give 10% discount on ID card, 25%(I think) for membership of the Army Club, they do for RNRMMC. Field & Trek offer similar as do Blacks, I often find the small independents will price match. Top Tip, if you know anyone in Germany etc they can buy kit neg VAT!

    Although you are a novice look into the Physics of climbing, here is a good start:Calculating fall forces and knowing when your 3 way loaded carabiner will fail!

    Another tip, choose your climbing partners carefully!

    PS Forgot to add, climbing is one of the safest sports there is, falling however is not: ask Dan Osman probably one of the worlds greatest but not anymore
  15. Forastero

    Forastero LE Moderator

    Snow and Rock will give you a 10% discount if you're a member of the BMC. The Bristol store will also give you a 10% discount if you're HM Forces (although the Chertsey store won't :x ) but not together mind!

    As for the Dan Osman clip - bloody hell! Seriously nails..