To climb safely, it's essential to choose the right equipment. This includes harnesses, ropes, carabiners and quickdraws, climbing shoes and helmets. It's important to analyze and select these items carefully to ensure you're properly equipped, whatever the type of climbing you're doing: indoor, crag, long route, bouldering, etc. This guide will help you make the right choices to guarantee your safety and comfort during your climbing sessions.
What's your climbing level?
Are you a climbing beginner, or do you climb occasionally for recreational purposes?
If you climb mainly in climbing gyms and enjoy outdoor outings when the weather permits, a pair of climbing shoes is essential for you. As for the rest of your equipment, that depends on your habits. Indoor and outdoor needs differ.
Are you an intermediate or advanced climber?
If you've mastered the techniques of climbing and like to go out regularly on cliffs, boulders or long routes, you'll needa full range of climbing equipment. It will be important to take more advanced criteria into account when choosing your equipment, particularly when it comes to comfort and durability.
Are you a professional climber, always on the lookout for performance?
If you're an expert climber who's always on the lookout for more performance, your climbing gear needs to live up to your expectations. You usually know exactly what you need to achieve your goals. You also like to equip your home with training apparatus and beams for regular training. At AlpinStore we've got what you need to meet your climbing needs and aspirations.
What kind of climber are you?
Are you a passionate cliff climber, looking for great routes and thrills on the rock?
If you prefer natural routes and feel comfortable in a climbing gym when the weather doesn't allow you to climb outdoors, your climbing equipment needs to be adapted to your climbing style. In addition to your climbing shoes, you'll need a harness, a belay system, a pof or chalk bag, chalk of course, a brush to clean the holds used by yourself and other climbers, a climbing rope with a bag and a tarpaulin to protect it, a helmet, a set of quickdraws, a lanyard, a set of carabiners, belaying goggles for the comfort of your neck, and of course the essential guidebook, which you'll need to consult beforehand to find out which routes to climb.
If you're an adventurer looking for panoramic views and aren't afraid of long climbs, you're a fan of long routes. In this case, you'll need all the necessary climbing gear: climbing shoes, ropes, harness, quickdraws, carabiners, safety lanyard, webbing rings, climbing helmet and, of course, chalk. It's also important to bring along an essential climbing guide, which you'll need to study beforehand to plan your ascent.
Which ropes should I choose?
A double rope is an ideal choice for your mountain and long route outings, as it makes abseiling much easier and is even indispensable for using it. It also makes it possible to form a 3-person rope party when climbing with a jib. We recommend that you start out with two double strands of rope to reduce zigzagging between quickdraws. This limits the amount of rope pulling, making it easier for the leader and belayer to manipulate the rope, and also improves shock absorption in the event of a fall. What's more, two 50m strands, for example, are easier to carry and handle than a single 100m strand, and you'll be able to distribute the load in the bags during the approach.
However, it's important to note that using two strands of rope requires you to tie knots for abseiling, which increases the risk of jamming the rope when abseiling. It is therefore crucial to find out about appropriate knotting techniques and to take into account the characteristics of the terrain (presence of cracks, scales, etc.). The climber attaches himself to both strands, and the belayer passes both strands through his belay system.
The twin rope is similar to the double rope, but has a thinner diameter and is lighter. It is important to note that the two strands of the twin rope must always be clipped together, for reasons of resistance in the event of a fall. This rope is ideal for abseiling on long routes or for serious hiking, where weight and bulk are important considerations.
Thesingle-strandrope is made up of asingle strand and is mainly used in climbing gyms or for sport climbing in rucks, where the routes do not require abseiling for the descent. This rope has a larger diameter than other types, as it needs to offer greater resistance to falls, which are more frequent in this type of climbing. If you're just starting out, it's best to opt for a single rope with a larger diameter, as this will give you a better feel for the rope as you climb.
And the carabiner?
Climbing carabiners are an essential part of the climbing experience. With the variety of models available on the market, it can be difficult to make the right choice.
Progression karabiners are essential components of quickdraws, used to link anchor points when climbing crags or long routes. They can also be used to attach stoppers or sling rings for added protection during ascent.
Safety carabiners, equipped with a locking system, are used to ensure a secure connection between the belay device and the harness, to create a belay when belaying on long routes, to attach a lanyard to an anchor point, and in other situations where increased safety is required.
In addition to weight, another essential point to consider when evaluating climbing carabiners is their strength. It's important to note that all carabiners are subject to standards that require a minimum strength of 20 kN in the main axis, also known as the major axis. This guarantees that the carabiners will not fail under any circumstances, and offer adequate strength for use in climbing.
How to choose your quickdraw, belay device and/or descender?
What is the purpose of a quickdraw in climbing? A quickdraw is a set of two carabiners linked by a strap of variable length. It plays an essential role in rock climbing: when climbing a route from the ground to a belay (two anchor points linked together for descent), intermediate anchor points such as spits, nails or pins are distributed evenly along the route. Quickdraws are used to connect to these anchor points. In the event of a fall, the quickdraw holds the climber by connecting him to the last anchor point to which he attached himself using the quickdraw. The top carabiner of the quickdraw attaches to the anchor, while the bottom carabiner holds the rope attached to the climber's harness.
The last essential element is your belay device. It connects to your harness via a locked safety carabiner. There are conventional belay devices, in which braking is entirely controlled by you, by exerting voluntary pressure on the rope. There are also "assisted braking" devices. Although these belay systems are sometimes called "self-locking", they do not lock automatically. They are designed to lock under a certain tension to facilitate belaying. It is imperative, indeed vital, to maintain a belay position with one hand always on the rope below the belay device, in case the system unlocks. There are two types of belay device: dynamic and mechanical. Your choice will depend on your climbing style and preferences.
The double check
It's crucial to carry out a rigorous check, known as the "Double Check", every time the rope party prepares to climb and belay. The climber must make sure that the belayer has correctly passed the rope strand(s) through his belay system, and that his carabiner is correctly set and locked. For his part, the belayer must check that the climber's knot has been properly tied before he starts climbing. This check must be carried out on every ascent, whether indoors (where the risk of accident is higher) or outdoors.