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What Equipment is Needed for Rock Climbing?

Diana Bocco
Diana Bocco

Rock climbing is a very popular sport that attracts enthusiasts from all corners of the world. Because rock climbing requires people to ascend steep mountains and rock formations, specialized equipment must be used. The basic equipment consists of rope and webbing.

Climbing ropes can be dynamic or static, which refers to amount of elasticity. Rock climbing ropes are usually multicolored and made of twisted fibers covered with a protective layer. Webbing refers to a specific type of flat rope used mostly as anchor extension and in harnesses.

Other rock climbing essentials include:

  • Carabiners: metal loops with a screwed opening, or gate, used as connectors between ropes, climbing hardware, and assorted rock climbing material. Two carabiners that are joined together by a loop of webbing are known as quickdraw, and used to attach rock climbing rope to anchors.

  • Harness: Harnesses can be as simple as a piece of looped rope or as complex as full body versions. The most common type of harness is known as a "sit harness," and it consists of a belt that surrounds the waist and then loops around the legs. Some harnesses are padded to prevent chafing and making rock climbing more comfortable.

  • Belay Devices: Belaying refers to the action of "feeding" the rope to a fellow climber; this allows the belayer to control the rope so that a climber can never fall very far, even when he or she slips completely off the face of the mountain. A belay device is a simple piece of metal that causes friction and helps control or stop the release of the rope.

  • Rock climbing apparel: Climbing shoes, belaying gloves, and helmets are all important part of equipment. Climbing shoes are padded footwear which has a special sole made out of vulcanized rubber, which helps the climber grip to the rocks easily. Belay gloves are essential to keep a tight grasp on the rope while avoiding rope burn on hands and wrists. Helmets are rarely used by climbers, despite the fact that they are highly recommended. A good helmet can protect a climber from falling objects, impact, and weather-related dangers (such as icicles).

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Discussion Comments


This is a great article that outlines the rock climbing gear needed to make your excursion fun and safe. Once you learn to rock climb, gather the gear you will need, and get some friends together, there are many exciting rock climbing vacations available throughout the country that will allow you to fully enjoy this unique hobby.

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    • The basic equipment for rock climbing is webbing and rope.
      By: Christian Schwier
      The basic equipment for rock climbing is webbing and rope.
    • Carabiners are essential for connecting ropes when climbing.
      By: Andrey Bandurenko
      Carabiners are essential for connecting ropes when climbing.