With the days getting darker and winter setting in, now is the perfect opportunity to learn to climb or boulder. Indoor climbing gyms offer the perfect opportunity to nail basic techniques and gain confidence – just in time for the advent of outdoor climbing in the spring.
Before hitting the crags though, there’s just a few things every climber needs to get started. Take a look below to make a start on your climber’s kit.
Sure, it is possible to wear trainers for the first couple of forays into climbing or bouldering, but for those toe-jam or rounded footholds, climbing shoes offer the best grip on walls or rock. Beginner climbers should look for a shoe that holds their foot firmly, yet is comfortable enough to climb for hours. Outdoor stores will be able to offer suggestions on which shoes are most suitable, and many climbing walls have their own stores and can offer extensive advice based on foot shape, level of ability, etc.
While not required for bouldering, any climbing over 5 metres is going to require a harness! Fit and comfort is key here – the harness should fit snugly around your body, otherwise your weight can be unevenly distributed when climbing. Generally women-specific harnesses are slimmer around the waist and larger around leg-holes, but remember to choose what fits best.
While some might claim chalk is not a necessity, sweaty hands on a tiny crimp hold will soon make you think otherwise. Chalk is excellent for absorbing sweat and increasing friction on the walls. Plus, they come in a variety of designs, from the playful monsters at 8B Plus to the colourful models over at Etsy, or even their Sasquatch-sized cousin, the Boulder Chalk Bucket
Belay Device and Karabiner
This bit of kit is essential for climbing, as it helps act as a friction brake to stop climbers from falling. The most popular kind of device is the ‘tuber’ – some will be plain and simple, others will have nodes on the inside to give greater friction, which is particularly helpful when belaying someone with greater weight.