Essential climbing equipment for beginners (2021): harnesses, belay devices and more


Most people learn climb in a gym. I learned in 40 degree rain on granite slabs in western North Carolina. I haven’t climbed a gym until I’ve done some alpine ice climbs. Let me tell you one thing, it’s less intimidating to learn about safety routines, lingo, and equipment when climbing indoors. Still, it’s perfectly fine to start outdoors if you run into the right climbers or enroll in an American Mountain Guides Association accredited course.

Whether you are indoors or outdoors, you will need some basic equipment. I’m keeping things simple (and affordable) in this guide because it’s easy to get overwhelmed by all the tech gear jargon. You’re also not going to be climbing in the lead until you’re more experienced, so I’m omitting things like rope and quickdraws, which your ascent leader will have. You can get by with all the flexible clothes (no jeans!), But I suggest you turn to technical synthetic layers for climbing on the outside.

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