Basic equipment for climbing indoors

Posted by Tina Gardner on 07/06/2005

Just what kit do you need to start climbing indoors?

When starting out you can usually hire kit from the climbing wall however once you're hooked you'll look to buy your own kit.  Starter kit includes:

  • Rock shoes
  • Chalk bag - one big enough to get your hand in!
  • Chalk ball - use chalks balls NOT loose chalk in climbing walls to reduce the amount of dust
  • Harness - all harnesses have to meet the same standards, and different people will find different brands most comfortable.  The choice is between adjustable or non adjustable leg loops. Again this will be down to individual preference.
  • Belay device - choose a device with 'grooves', as this will provide more friction when belaying - an important consideration in climbing walls. To be able to belay competently is a vital climbing skill, as when done wrong serious injuries can result. When you buy equipment ALWAYS read the manufacturer's instructions before use. It's also a good idea to read the BMC's belaying leaflet to get some essential tips.
  • Large screwgate karabiner suitable for belaying
  • Loose or lycra clothing - but no so baggy that it gets caught in your belay device!
  • For very young children, a full body harness and a helmet is common practice. Non-climbing parents can download the parents' guide to get some idea about what climbing entails.
  • Rope - climbing walls generally have ropes for top-roping but when you move on to leading routes you will need to take a rope with you.


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