The following is an essential minimum kit list for anyone attending outdoor club trips and wanting to climb.
Any decent climbing shop will know what to advise you to get based on this list. Your club membership card will get you 15% off in Cotswolds / Snow and Rock and 10% in plenty of other places including The Castle shop.
Please contact the climbers rep if you have any concerns with advice given on this page.
- Climbing shoes: Not too uncomfortably tight!
- Harness: Any climbing harness should be fine for seconding. If you are buying one and want to progress your climbing within the club get one with at least 4 good sized gear loops for trad gear racking. Adjustable leg loops can be useful for winter climbing and mountaineering use. When buying a harness take advice on the size as the harness needs to fit properly.
- Helmet: Any helmet designed for rock climbing use, again make sure it fits properly.
- Belay device + belay carabiner: A basic-plate style device with two holes is very versatile, cheap and perfect for most of what the club does including abseiling. Specialist sport climbing devices like GriGris are not usually suitable. If buying a device it should be suitable for use with thin double ropes (8-9mm) as well as thicker (10mm) single ropes. In practice this means a device with ‘teeth’ to increase the braking force. The carabiner should be an HMS or specialist belay type.
- Nut key: Essential for seconding trad climbs and removing gear. The leader will want their second to remove any badly placed gear so everyone needs one. Try putting gear in and getting it out while on the ground, as getting gear out while hanging on one handed or dangling on the end of the rope is an added challenge!
- Personal anchor sling: Specialist anchor systems are available but a standard sling is fine. A 16mm nylon sling is a good choice for this use due to the increased safety margin over dyneema.
- 2x prusik loops: Essential for all sea cliff areas as they are used to back up approach abseils, but should be carried generally to allow ropes to be ascended. 5mm cord suggested as it will grip better on thin ropes. A good climbing shop will know what length of cord is needed.
- 2nd locking carabiner: screwgate, autolock or twingate type. Needed for either anchoring to belays when seconding or backing up abseils.
- 3rd carabiner: You will need at least one more to rack all of the above!
- Suitable clothing and approach footwear: For mountain areas like the Lake District and Snowdonia this means full hill gear, ie. waterproofs, warm clothes and mountain shoes/boots. Sea cliffs also generally have steep approaches so footwear with good grip is essential.
- Guidebook: Not strictly essential but if you're leading it will be helpful to have your own to maintain some independence from the group.
- Climbing manual: Also not essential, but learning how to climb safely rather than immediately pushing your grade will give you a solid base to work from. ‘Rock Climbing: Essential Skills and Techniques' by Libby Peter is a UK-focused guide that should cover all the essentials and also more advanced techniques. Most ropework and belay anchors etc. can be practiced on the ground.