Gym climbing has exploded in popularity in recent years, which has lead to an enormous increase in first-time outdoor climbers.
Are you someone who has learned to climb in a gym, but wants to get set up to start heading outside for some introductory rock climbing? Assuming you’ve already got basic shoes, harness, and a belay device, here’s what you’ll need to get going for toproping or sport climbing.
- 10-12 wiregate quickdraws, 4-6 extendable sling (alpine) draws — Even if you’re only sport climbing, buy a few 24″ (60cm) slings, they are needed for building anchors, cleaning anchors, or clipping into bolts on wandery climbs. If or when you move on to longer routes and trad climbs, you can take the wiregate carabiners off your shorter quickdraws, and repurpose them for the day with longer slings.
- 70m ~9.6mm rope — Don’t worry about a dry coating, and don’t buy a super skinny model, which will wear out much faster than a ~9.6mm rope.
- 3 or 4 small keynose lockers — You’ve probably got a few of these from indoor climbing, but you’ll want a few more for outdoor routes
- Cragging pack — You can use any durable pack with a 30-50L capacity, but having a long duffel-style zipper is very helpful.
- Rope Bag or Tarp — Outdoor crags aren’t cleaned every night. Extend the life of your rope by keeping it clean.
- Helmet — Not all sport climbers wear helmets, but many people do. And given how light modern helmets have become, it’s hard to excuse getting out without one.
- Belay Gloves — Outdoor falls are bigger than gym falls, and the climbs may result in the climber being out of view from the belayer. Additionally, everything is dirty and dusty. Keep yourself safe and your hands clean with some lightweight workhorse gloves.