We always wanted to try out climbing, and to get started we visited the Castle in London to get started. As we became more interested in climbing we started researching gear and must-have’s for new climbers. Below are our purchases after hundreds of hours of research and video watching!
Theses are quite personal and definitely need to tried on in-store to get a feel of the fitting. One consistent message from the store staff was that it should feel tight, but not painful and even advised to keep or try it on for a longer amount of time.
The first shoes purchased was the Scarpa Velocity. It has a flat profile and was the most comfortable shoe for a beginner. The quality was great and have been well served from progressing my climbing to 6B. It did however develop a hole in the rubber after 3 months so I had sent it off for repair. During this, I had purchased an advanced shoe to compliment my original pair.
The Scarpa VS-R is a popular show amongst both boulders and sport climbers and really feels like a technical show. The rubber is much softer and tight fitting.
The Black Diamond Solution Harness was the most value for money harness found based on our research. It comes in male and female versions and in a variety of sizes. What I like most is the weight and size it folds to so it can easily be carried around in a backpack. The harness has four gear loops that are quite small, but it does the job nicely.
In choosing a belay device, there was many options to choose from like a regular unassisted ATC device, assisted braking, and hybrids. We eventually landed on the Gri-Gri which is a brake assisted belay device that has an auto-locking feature for the rope in case something unexpected happens. This was a major selling point as it reduces the risk of accidents and adds a level of comfort for both the belayer and the climber. It did take a while to get used to, especially for lead climbing, but the benefits are worth it.
Any regular belay carabiner would be sufficient, but we went ahead with the Petzl Attache for its simplicity and the compatibility with our Gri-Gri. It has a matte feel and is a regular screw lock with red mark indicator to show whether it is locked or not. The only downside is that it does cross-load with our Gri-Gri sometimes.
Lead Climbing requires your own rope in the gym. We purchased research the types of ropes available, the width, and length that was appropriate to our climbing gym. We settled on the Petzl Mambo Wall 30m which is specifically made for indoor climbing due to its durability and wider rope width. The rope comes in different lengths, but for our purposes a 30m rope was adequate to climb all the routes in our gym. The rope feel really nice and actually feels a lot thinner than others in similar width. In our Gri-Gri it actually feels quite loose but that doesn’t affect the performance of the rope or Gri-Gri, just feels a lot smoother and slippery!.
We have two different chalk bags, a Petzl Sakapoche and Arcteryx Aperture. The Petzl Sakapoche is very useful as it has a zipper and can store our phone, watch and jewellery items whilst climbing. The Arteryx Aperture is a very compact bag and very simple. It doesn’t have any thing special except the size and quality of the and opening/closing of the bag.
We had beed getting ready to climb outdoor sport routes and bought Black Diamond Positron in anticipation. Due to the current pandemic and courses being cancelled, we haven’t yet had to chance to use these outdoors yet for sport climbing. The quality of the quick-draws feel solid and the clip gate feels smooth. The downside is that it is quite expensive compared to other options.
Originally purchased to assist in outdoor activities like pull-ups and dips, resistance bands also serves as quite a good tool for warming up before climbs.