I love the sun on my back on outdoor rock. I love the social experience involved with climbing. Moreover, of course, I love giving myself a wonderful whole body workout. Whether you’re strictly a gym climber, prefer outdoor rock, or enjoy a mix of the two, make sure you have the appropriate gear for the trip—and the necessary technical climbing abilities. Rock climbing is dangerous! Safe climbing is having an awareness of the hazards and matching your skills and experience to the dangers to decrease the risks. The Austrian and the German Alpinist Associations offer organized lessons on the fundamentals of rock climbing and how to use climbing gear. In addition, they will give you a quick course on important climbing etiquette. Climbing doesn’t require loads of equipment to have loads of fun. Here is my essential climbing gear list for outdoor rock climbing and indoor climbing at the gym:
The Essential Climbing Gear:
Yes, many sport climbers like to wear slippers, uncomfortably tight rock shoes that don’t fit their feet, with their toes crammed in the toe box. Apparently, we should have learned from Cinderella, or The Little Glass Slipper, that it’s not good to stuff our feet into too-small shoes. ‘Rook di goo, rook di goo. There’s blood in the shoe!’ More and more outfitters are telling their customers to find a pair that’s comfortable and snugly fits their feet, as rock shoes are essential to performance. Lots of specialty sport climbing shoes are out there, but if you’re just starting out then buy a good and grippy all-around shoe at a reputable mountain shop. A comfort fit, so you can power through day after day of climbing at the gym or outdoor without getting tired.
A good belay device that you’re familiar with is very important. Belay devices are used to control a rope during belaying; it does this by applying friction to the rope that holds the climber. If the climber falls, the belay device acts as a friction brake, slowing the climber down before locking. The belay device is attached to the harness of the belayer with a carabiner, and comes in many types and designs.
A lightweight climbing harness, a waist belt with leg loops, is fine for sport climbing. Harnesses make rock climbing much safer than climbing with the rope tied directly around the climber’s waist. Climbing harnesses are designed to provide support and security and it is important to find a harness that will suit your personal climbing needs and body type. It’s best to buy a tested and approved climbing harness at a specialist mountain shop.
What else do you need to go climbing?
- Quickdraws and Carabiners: Quickdraws are two carabiners attached onto opposite ends of a strong sewn sling. They are an important piece of gear for sport climbing. To start with, you will need about ten express quickdraws and at least two locking carabiners. Carabiners are forged metal links with a spring-loaded gate; they are designed to attach the rope to an anchor, and connect two ropes, or for other climbing equipment to be inserted or removed.
- Rope (and rope bag): There are three main types of climbing ropes available, these are single, half and twin ropes. Single ropes can be used for climbing walls and traditional climbing routes. They range in thickness from 8.9 to 11mm and come in lengths between 50 and 70 meters.
- Rock climbing helmets are optimal when it comes to safety and are used to protect the climbers head from either falling rocks or debris, or general falling from a climbing problem. Rock climbing helmets are one of the more important safety items necessary for rock climbing.
- Chalk Bag: Chalk is used to keep the climber’s hands dry during climbing as hands and fingers can become moist in joyful anticipation. The chalk will absorb the sweat on a climber’s hands or fingers and ensure a secure grip is maintained. Chalk is usually carried in a chalk bag that can be attached to the climber’s belt or harness for easy access during climbs. These chalk bags come in many different sizes and can carry any kind of chalk.
Once outfitted with all the essential equipment… Where to go rock climbing in Tirol?
With all of Tirol’s stunning peaks and amazing rock formations, it is not hard for rock climbers to find a little slice of climbing paradise nearly everywhere they go. The “Climbers‘ Paradise” Site serves as a one-stop hub for everything you need to know about the best climbing crags and areas in the Alps, including topos, access information and details on climbing gyms and via ferrates.
Use the Climbers Paradise App to download topographic maps. The App is available for Android and iOS.
Are you looking for a place for beginners to hone their skills and gain confidence? Do you want to take your kids climbing? If you are an expert, there are no limits to the heights at which you will find yourself in Tirol:
- Rock climbing areas for families
- Spectacular routes for experienced rock climbers
- Rock climbing routes with fabulous views
What is your favourite rock climbing spot in Tirol? Any recommendations or suggested routes for novice climbers?