Equipment

There are numerous pieces of climbing equipment used by serious climbers and, as a sport, climbing can be quite costly. For marked climbing routes, however, there is a relatively small amount of equipment required and this can be bought from climbing shops or hired from any good climbing centre.

Necessary for all climbs except bouldering, a harness is used to attach the climber to the rope, allowing the climber to hang safely in the air when ascending the rock. It is made from padded nylon, and sits around the climber’s waist and thighs, although certain types of climbing may require chest or full body harnesses.

There are two types of rope usually used for climbing. Dynamic rope has a certain elasticity that reduces the maximum force experienced by a climber if they fall. Static ropes have no elasticity and are generally used for carrying or attaching equipment. Rope is attached to the harness by a carabiner, a metal clip that goes through the front loop of the harness.

Not essential for beginners, but vital for challenging rock faces, climbing shoes have a layer of vulcanised rubber which allow the foot to grip the rock by friction. The shoes are thin and may have a layer of foam padding to increase comfort around the climber’s heel. Another technique for gripping is using chalk, rubbed on the hand to absorb sweat and stop the hand from slipping on the rock.