Beginner climbing gear buying advice

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Beginner climbing gear buying advice

by Motus » Sat Jan 31, 2015 7:19 pm

Hello summitpost!

I am somewhat new and still inexprienced climber. And I'm asking for your advice on buying climbing specific gear. But first allow me to write few words about myself. I'm an ex-athlete who still trains every day, I have military expirience, but climbing wise I'm quite inexpirienced. From climbing I did many of the hikes around my country, I have climbed Mont Blanc and Planjava in Slovenia.

My first goal was to get as informed on the topic as possible, so I purchased and borrowed many climbing books and guidebooks. I have joined local mountaineering club and I plan to join local climbing gym. I'm in contact with expirienced climber whom I consider my mentor (but I don't want to call him asking questions every time something isn't clear to me). Also I have a cousin who's an alpinist from Austria, with whom I'm in contact. Both of them are far more expirienced climbers than I am, and they climb routes that are still "no go zone" for me.

I have puchased basic gear for climbing: BD sabertooth crampons, DMM raptor ice tools (adze and hammer), camp climbing harness, Montane torque 40 backpack, two BD quickdraws, one locking carabiner and one mammut guide style belay device. Also I'm awaiting the arrival of Julbo colorado glacier glasses.

My next purchases would be BD storm headlamp, BD half dome or petzl elios helmet (depends which would be cheaper when I have the money) and a gas stove.
(I own military stove, tent and bivy bag, but expirienced climbers say they're inadequate for mountain use; and I know from personal expirience military gear is usually a bit lower quality than civy gear.)

I'm asking you what my next climbing specific gear should be? A rope, more quickdraws, carabiners, safety devices like nuts, slings/runners? Please share your wisdom and write in which order I shoud buy the gear.


P.S. yes, I have searched the forum for the old threads and it didn't answer my questions.

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Re: Beginner climbing gear buying advice

by bserk » Sun Feb 01, 2015 6:19 am

Hi Motus,

I would suggest you should not invest too much in gear but should start joining weekend trips to nearby mountains where you can practice your skills. Even better if you could join on tours with the local mountain club. Maybe they offer training courses you can attend?

If you are still about getting gear simply check the mountain clubs gear recommendation...the fellows from the Austrian Mountain Club (OeAV) are really good!

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Re: Beginner climbing gear buying advice

by rgg » Sun Feb 01, 2015 7:29 pm

The list of what you've purchased does not include a helmet, so I suggest to put that one on top of the list of things to buy. Unless you stick to pretty easy stuff, you'll need one.

As for the rest? That depends a whole lot on what you plan on doing and on what gear you climbing partner(s) already have. Assuming that, at least in the near future, you'll be climbing with more experienced people, it's very likely they already have a rope (or several) and camping gear, but you definitely should have your own headlamp if you go camping.

Now, if you're going rock climbing on bolted routes, in addition to a helmet you don't need much more. You'll need rock climbing shoes, obviously. In order not to have to rely on your climbing partners to bring a lot of extra gear, you can buy a lot more quickdraws, a few slings and perhaps a few more carabiners, but you can spread that over time; just go climbing with friends, bringing what you've got. Make sure that they know what you bring beforehand, so they know what additional gear they have to bring. When you climb, keep track of what gear you are actually using. Then, after a few outings, if you see that you normally require at most, say, 16 quickdraws, well, then make sure you've got your fair share and buy 6 more.

If you're going rock climbing on unprotected routes, you'll also want a collection of nuts (a small collection will do at first), and perhaps a few cams. Some such routes require rock climbing shoes, others are easy enough that they are usually done in mountaineering boots. In addition to the route itself, which footwear you need also depends on your climbing skills and experience.

The least expensive additional gear is a few cords. For alpine routes, especially those that include glacier crossings, I typically have at least three fairly short pieces with me, roughly 1 m, 3 m and 5 m long, and 5 or 6 mm in diameter. These are useful for crevasse rescue as well as for improvising in all sorts of ways. For example, after I've used all my slings, I can still use a cord. And the longest cord sometimes serves as a convenient clothesline as well when camping. When I'm rock climbing, I often have one or two short cords with me as well. Very versatile gear.

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Re: Beginner climbing gear buying advice

by nartreb » Mon Feb 02, 2015 4:06 pm

Helmet, yes, headlamp yes (in fact, get two). Rope and almost anything that goes on a rope, no. There's no point spending hundreds of euros on rope and protection when you won't use them without a more experienced partner who already has them. Go ahead and get a couple of slings, cordelettes, and extra 'biners (various sizes) so you can practice clipping and knots, and get your hands on a worn-out rope or clothesline so you can practice pulley systems and Texas prussiks in your back yard. When your experienced partners all trust you to set up the toprope anchor, it's time to get your own rope and whatever long slings, cordelette, etc you'll need to set up topropes in your favorite area, so you can expand your pool of climbing partners to include folks with less gear than you. When you think you're ready to start leading, buy a couple of nuts in the sizes your partners have been using most often, and practice setting those.

What about a general-purpose ice axe (as opposed to an ice tool)?

If you want to get away from the local crag or quarry, especially if you like to hike solo, I'd look into lightweight overnight gear: tent, sleeping bag, pad, bivy, stove. You can save a ton of weight here, allowing you to take much longer and more pleasant trips. This stuff can be expensive, but often worth it. See what your partners recommend.

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Re: Beginner climbing gear buying advice

by HRS Nomad » Tue Feb 03, 2015 10:38 pm

You mentioned the Black Diamond Storm. If you have the room to spend a little more, I'd recommend the Black Diamond Icon, or the Polar Icon. The Storm is great though, but Icon is far superior; the Storm should be the backup headlamp if you have an Icon!

You might want to consider a general mountaineering ax. Grivel G1, Black Diamond Raven, etc.

I'd wait on buying ropes. At your point they're just not necessary since it sounds like you'll be climbing with more experienced people and they'll be doing the rope work while you watch and eagerly learn.

But experience is the best thing you can do. Tag along with a mentor- usually, they won't mind stopping or explaining things or going slow or climbing below their level, just so long as you enjoy it- they'll probably enjoy it more themselves too by taking it in more. If theyre too busy, then there was no harm in asking. A local class or club is also a great possibility. Good luck!!!

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