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Time to Climb!

Updated: Nov 10, 2022

Getting ready for a day of outdoor sport climbing?

If you are, I am confident in guessing you have all the necessary gear to achieve some awesome sending, but just in case, let’s review a few things.

There are multiple options for each vital part of a sending mission.

Here are some of the basics:

Climbing Shoes – dependent on what your mission is for your climbing weekend, your shoes will reflect that. If you are planning to send a project that has a strong technical edge, a more aggressive shoe may be required. This can be the Ocun ozone plus or the La Sportiva Katanas which have a great rubber sole and sharp toes which work fantastically on small and next to no foot grips.

If you are a beginner or intermediate and looking to conquer mileage or tackle some of the 'trad' routes, a less aggressive shoe will be more suitable. The La Sportiva Mythos is an excellent shoe that doesn’t require instant removal once an attempt or send is complete. Another great brand of shoe for the beginning to the intermediate range is Evolv.

Harnesses – entirely up to you, but you will need one! Being something that you are going to be spending a lot of time in, you want to be comfortable. You definitely want to be comfortable around the waist as for certain outdoor climbing, mainly multi-pitching or traditional climbing, you sit in your harness a lot more.

Helmet! There is always the joke about “safety third” but when a loose rock decides to go solo and drop a good 30 metres down to you, a helmet is kind of a nice thing to be wearing. Once again, the choice is yours but highly recommended brands for helmets are Black Diamond and Petzl

Rope - For Boven, it is best to have an outdoor rope that is a minimum of 60m-70m long as this length can pretty much accommodate every potential climb. Length is very important (no pun intended😉). Rope thickness is also important and dependent on the type of climbing you do and the belay device you use. A 9mm-10mm is ideal for sport climbing missions. The Mammut Crag Dry 9mm is excellent as any form of swelling for a 9mm rope will not affect the performance on your selected belay device and shows clearly when you have reached the middle of your rope. I probably shouldn’t need to, but I will say it if you are belaying and the centre of the rope has gone past your belay device and the climber has not reached the chain yet…they are not going to make it back down to earth.

Belay device – There is an abundance of choices for assisted-braking devices. Depending on your level of comfort, you have options ranging from the Black Diamond ATC Pilot, Mammut Smart, the Wild Country Revo, and the forever favourite, the Petzl GriGri.

Carabiner – a vital part of pretty much everything! It is what connects it all. You definitely want to feel comfortable in the knowledge that your ‘biner’ is locked. Therefore, whether you choose a screw-gate, twist, or triple-locking Carabiner, as long as you are confident and comfortable in knowing you are safe. This is not only for connecting your belay device to your harness but also for the selected carabiners for when you are cleaning your route.

Slings – are unsung heroes of climbing sometimes. They have so much versatility and use, which is why there are plenty of options. For Boven, and specifically for cleaning, it can be a lot easier to use slings that range from 600mm to 900mm in length. This keeps you nice and close to the chains but also long enough to offer movement to get into a comfortable standing or seated position when cleaning.

Quickdraws – Once again, the choice is yours as climbers do have their favourite when it comes to the type of quickdraws you prefer to use. The majority of the brands that manufacture quick draws offer both a wire gate and a solid gate. Flashed, DMM, and Ocun offer wire gate draws with Ocun also offering the Dual gate options in the Hawks. If you are happier with a solid gate, every brand can offer you a great selection.

Finally, and the most important part of a successful climbing mission…a belay partner!

Climbing is not your average sport, nor is it the safest and that is why when you begin your climb up a mountain, you want to know that you can trust the person who holds your life in their hands. It is so important for the climber and the belayer to understand how as individuals they preferred to be belayed.

If you are interested in giving climbing a try, there are great climbing gyms around South Africa for you to visit to open your eyes to the awesomeness that is rock climbing:

It is so easy to get hooked on this sport, no matter what discipline you choose. We understand that newbies get a surprise when they get a glimpse at the price of climbing and mountaineering gear, but remember, these things are keeping you safe. They have been tested to the nine to allow you to climb without gear being a worry when you are on the wall.

You get to see so many beautiful new places and learn so many new things, like learning how to tie a figure of 8:


Time to put those shoes on!

Welcome to the climbing community!!

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