Most Important Outdoor Climbing Hardware
Sport climbing outdoors is a fun summer activity that helps you get out and enjoy the wilderness. Even still, there are some important pieces of gear you should always have with you. Key for both rock climbing performance and safety, the following items of climbing hardware are essential whenever you head out on the mountain.
Climbing shoes are essential for sport climbing outdoors, and tennis shoes are not a perfect substitute. The strong rubber soles and sturdy toes keep you secure on the course, and keep you from slipping. So try a few pairs on to see which are the most comfortable to you, but be aware that climbing shoes should fit rather tight.
There are many different types of climbing ropes out there, but sports climbing requires one that is both lightweight and sturdy. After all, you need a rope that will be able to catch you and support your weight when you fall.
Another crucial piece of equipment when climbing is a harness. Some experts even see it as the most important piece of safety equipment for climbing. But you can’t get just any other harness–you need to find one that fits you correctly and will keep you safe and secure at all times. Some have even said that wearing an ill-fitting harness is worse than not wearing one at all, so have an expert help you find one that fits you properly.
When you head out to climb, popular sport routes already have the bolts in place, you just need to have quickdraws to attach to them. A quickdraw is two carabiners connected by a webbing called dogbone. On most courses, you should have 12-18 depending on the length of the course so you have one for each bolt plus a few at the top and some extras.
Personal Anchor System (PAS)
In addition, you will need a PAS for outdoor climbing, which is a strong and sturdy piece of webbing with a number of small loops. This attaches to your harness with a girth-hitch, allowing you to clip directly onto the anchors at the top of the course. Otherwise, you’d have to leave two quickdraws at the top of every course when you finish. Thus, a PAS helps you clean your gear.
A belay device is what a partner will use to catch you when you fall. They can range in complexity, so make sure you understand how to use the one you own, and be aware that they don’t all have the same capabilities. Thus, you must be well-trained with your gear in order to stay safe on the mountain.
When it comes to sport climbing outdoors, each of the pieces listed here are non-negotiables, though it is certainly not an exhaustive list of everything you’ll need. So, make sure you always have these on hand when you head out to the rock climbing courses this summer, and be aware of some of the other gear you might need.
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Bailey Schramm is a writer in partnership with Seattle Fabrics recreational and outdoor fabrics.