There are several types of rock climbing, trad, sport, aid, and bouldering. There are some commonalities but each are unique. Each type requires certain equipment, or rock climbing gear.
Rock climbing gear encompasses a large list of equipment. From rope, draws, carabiners, harnesses, to ascenders, descenders and protection devices. Below you will find descriptions and uses for some of the rock climbing gear that every climber should know about!
· Rope, cord and webbing: There are two classes of rope used in climbing, static and dynamic. Dynamic rope is used to absorb the energy of falling climbers, the rope stretches reducing the force. While static rope stretch much less and are used as fixed rope and anchoring systems. Webbing is often used to extend the distance between protection and a tie-in point. It can also be used to create a harness to carry equipment.
· Draws (or Quickdraws): They are used to attach routes to bolt anchors or other protection. They allow rope to run through without creating friction.
· Carabiners: These are metal loops with spring-loaded openings used as connectors. They are also known as biners.
· Harnesses: This is used to attach rope to a person. Most harnesses are worn around the pelvic area although there are other types available.
· Ascenders: This is a mechanical device used to ascend a rope. They require less effort, are strong and fast.
· Descenders: Also called Rappel Devices. These are basically friction brakes which are used for descending routes.
· Protection Devices include nuts, hexcentrics, spring loaded camming devices and tricams.
More commonly known rock climbing gear includes shoes, gloves, helmets, resin and chalk. Climbing shoes are specifically designed foot wear for climbing. They increase your grip and are usually thin with a snug fit. There are other types of shoes used for edging and smearing.
There are mixed feelings about gloves, specifically belay gloves as some climbers say that they reduce your grip. Other climbers say they are great for lowering a climber without getting rope burn.
Helmets obviously are to reduce the impact on the skull when falling or from falling debris. There are mixed feelings on helmets as well. Depending upon the type of climb you are trying, vanity and reduction in agility, will all affect your choice to wear one or not.
Chalk improves your grip and absorbs sweat. Resin is usually used to increase friction between your shoes and the rock as it provides a stickier surface.