Climbing is beautiful and simple. Climbing is hazardous and complex. The concept is simple, the details are complex. Using specialized gear can keep it safe and simple and reduce the risk associated with adventuring above ground. Climbing requires a bevy of gear and it's essential to have your concepts straight before you get started. We endeavor to familiarize you with the requisite gear to have a good and safe experience. Below is not a “how-to” on climbing rather a compass of the gear Altrec.com carries and how you can get what you need and get on with it.
The styles of climbing are as varied as the mountain terrain and each style requires its own selection of specialized gear. Regardless of your endeavor, climbing always requires a short list of “don't leave home without” gear essentials:
Climbing Harness: Brands to look for are Black Diamond, Petzl, Mammut and Arcteryx. And we've got you covered on all fronts. The Petzl climbing harness is the stalwart of rock harnesses and they cover intro to advanced rock climbing harnesses alike. Black Diamond, Arcteryx and Mammut also offer sturdy, minimalist harness designs that are flexible, supple and lightweight and provide all day comfort.
Climbing Helmet: Whether mountaineering, trad climbing or cragging is your cup of tea, every climbing kit should include a helmet. The staples in this category come to us from Petzl, Black Diamond and Mammut. The Petzl Ecrin Roc Climbing Helmet is the old standard, however, new designs from the aforementioned brands add streamlined, lightweight and extremely safe options for different styles of climbing. Each are adjustable, offer ventilation and will keep your noggin safe from falling rocks and climbing head bumps.
Climbing Ropes: Your first and best line of defense! Climbing ropes fall into a few categories and focus on mountaineering, alpine, ice, traditional climbing and sport climbing. Different widths and lengths are generally style specific. Make sure to read our product descriptions and customer reviews before you make your purchase decision. For mountaineering, alpine and ice, two ropes of about 8.2mm width will reduce weight per rope, will reduce drag and increased safety during wandering routes. A pair of Petzl Dragonfly climbing ropes is a great option as well as the Mammut Genesis. For most trad and sport climbing, widths of 9.5-10.3 mm and lengths of 60 and 70 meters are the ticket. Look to Petzl and Mammut for workhorse ropes that are durable with high fall-rate safety. Most ropes we carry at Altrec are “dry”, an innovation that will increase longevity, reduce friction and eliminate water-logging.
Climbing Footwear: Similar to ropes, climbing footwear is specific to climbing style and variations cover mountaineering, ice, alpine and face climbing. We put our faith in La Sportiva for mountaineering and ice climbing boots and for good reason. Look to the La Sportiva Nuptse, Nepal and Trango boots for a taste of the top shelf. For face climbing, La Sportiva, Five.Ten and Boreal produce some of the best climbing shoes in the business. We carry a blend of rock climbing shoes that are aggressive for face climbing, cracks and shoes that provide all day comfort for long multi-pitch routes. And if indoor rock climbing is your gig, our selection of face climbing shoes has you covered.
Approach Shoes: From the car to the climb offers some of the most demanding terrain you'll encounter and appropriate footwear will keep your feet dry, supported and comfortable. We carry a long list of great options and they often go by the name of approach, lightweight backpacking, hiking and or trail running shoes. That is to say that sturdy, supportive, water-resistent shoes with good traction will do the trick. Look for footwear by The North Face, Garmont, Boreal, Salomon, New Balance and Montrail to get your feet there in one piece.
Belay Device: A requisite for your climbing tool kit, the belay device is the mechanical piece of equipment that connects you to the climbing rope and to your climbing partner and is used to arrest a fall. We carry a handful of the best Black Diamond and Petzl belay devices. Check out the Petzl Reverso or the Black Diamond ATC Guide. Be sure to read customer reviews and product descriptions to find the rock climbing belay devise that fits your needs.
Climbing Protection: This catch-all phrase refers to anything that protects a rock climber from falling to the floor. “Protection” is a critical category in climbing and understanding the gear and how to use it is essential for safe climbing. Quickdraws, climbing carabiners, TCU's, Camelots, hexes and stoppers (among others) all constitute protection be it active or passive. We cannot express enough how important it is to have acute knowledge of this category. First aid kits are always a good item to pack for the trip. Covering all forms of protects requires a book, so do a bit of research, get outside and be safe!
Chalk Bag and Chalk: Most climbers use chalk and so should you! Chalk reduces the moisture on your finger-tips and is the best way to get good purchase on any climbing hold. We carry a handful of Arcteryx, Blurr and Petzl chalk bags as well as Black Diamond chalk at a good price.
Headlamp: This should find its way into your backpack regardless of endeavor. The Petzl Tikka Plus Headlamp is the most popular model, but look for lightweight headlamps by Black Diamond and Mammut as well.
The gear outlined above aims to provide a quick list of climbing gear essentials. This is just the first step – read our product descriptions and customer reviews for greater detail and feel free to log into our chat feature or pick up the phone to speak with our knowledgeable customer service team. They help you make the right choice for the gear that will ensure a safe and exciting climbing adventure. And with FREE Standard Shipping available on most orders shipped within the lower 48 U.S. and our satisfaction guarantee, Altrec.com will do you right.