/ Recommended Kit List for Sport Climbing Outdoors?
This summer I'll be venturing outdoors for some single pitch sport climbing. While I'm comfortable doing indoors routes, I've only tried outdoors route two or three times. As part of my commitment to giving it a go (as opposed to just going bouldering again as usual), I'm putting my list of kit together;
I already have harness, helmet, 35m single rope, rope bag, climbing specific pack, a couple of mailons and a few bits of trad gear (biners, slings, screwgates etc.)
I think I need 60m single rope, 12 quickdraws, clip stick.
Is there anything else I need (kit wise)?
Regarding the quickdraws, I was going to go for 6 x 12cm, 3 x 18cm and 3 x 25cm. Is that about right?
Sounds like you've got everything covered, though a couple of suggestions...
Why not go for a 70m rope? It's not that much more than a 60 and it's frustrating when you rock up at a crag and some of the best looking lines are around the 35m mark (speaking from experience here I initially bought a 60 and had to replce it with a 70 in a couple of years).
If do get a 70 that then I'd recommend getting 15 draws, this also makes sense as you can often buy them slightly cheaper in 5 packs.
Also, whilst it's useful to have a couple of draws of different lengths, you might want to hold off and get 15 identical ones at first. Although I have a couple of longer ones now (all the rest are 12's) I rarely need to use them. If there's something that'll really benefit from a longer draw I'd make one using a coulple of extra 'biners and a sling.
Does your rope bag have a tarpaulin/groundsheet/flap to flake the rope onto? If not you'll need that to stop your rope getting dirty/coming into contact with sharp things and picking up twigs.
I'm assuming you have belay devices that aren't listed?
Oh hang on - you've got no Cows Tail listed!
You'll need some kind of PAS for rethreading at the top of routes - you can either make it out of a sling and a 'biner or use buy something made for the pupose like the beal dynaclip or petzl connect adjust...
I was mulling over whether a 70m would be better or not. Thanks for the advice. That makes sense.
I don’t know if my rope bag folds out or not. A mate gave me it.
Yep, a have a couple of belay devices
I was going to go for the Petzl Connect Adjust but somebody said I’d be fine with a couple of quick draws and slings.
Funnily enough, messing around at the chains is the only part that I’m intimidated by.
Handy to have a way of escaping mid-route if you can't complete it. A good way of doing that is to have a short prussic loop in 6mm cord - if you rig it right, you can ab off and retrieve the loop, so the bolt is clean for the next user.
Can't find a link to post - I'm sure someone else will.
Basically, thread the prussic through the bolt and then the 1/3 of the rope through the loops of the prussic - these are the 2 strands you ab on. Then, tie the long dead end to the prussic on the side where the knot is. Ab down - make sure you're on the right 2 strands (and knot the other end, so it doesn't slide through your hands). Once down, take the knot out of the end, pull the loop so it pulls the rope back through the prussic, then pull the last strand to retrieve the prussic.
Note that if you're higher up than 1/3 of the length of rope you're using (i.e. 20m on a 60m rope), you'll need to repeat at a lower bolt to get to the ground - see note 4.
1 - MAKE SURE YOU'RE AB'ING ON THE CORRECT 2 STRANDS.
2 - Make sure you pull the right bit of rope at the bottom, or you'll need to climb back up to free it!
3 - don't forget to retrieve your QDs on the way down
4 - watch out for very over-hanging routes where you can't reach the ground in one go.
You'll be alright - I can see from your profile you're pretty experienced (albeit not in sport). Does your local climbing centre have some chains/lower offs at ground level? If so, have a couple of practices on these to build your confidence.
If not there's a couple of vids on the BMC site showing you both ways to rethread, so have a watch of them for a refresher.
Yeah, a screwgate quickdraw and a sling makes a perfectly good cow's tail, no real need to spend money...
A cheap small tarp will do for a rope mat if your bag doesn't have something built in. You're boiund to have something knocking around the house that'll do...
Or just use your clip stick to dog to the top ;)
Not all bolt hangers lend themselves to that technique I'm afraid. It could work at Portland but most definitely not on some bolts I've come across where it could be downright dangerous.
A beer towel, so you can clean the bottom of your boots (if the ground is a bit muddy). Plan B is to stand on one leg and rub your boot against your calf muscle (although this does tend to make you look like a scruffy trad climber...)
Off-topic : bolt hangers are really not that sharp. I have inadvertently jummared up a rope attached directly to a hanger with a figure eight knot (biner had been knicked), including trying moves and jiggling about while placing bolts, with no damage to the rope at all. I won't be doing it again, mind...
2) "Euro" coloured trousers
If you're thinking of doing any sport climbing in Europe then I'd get a longer rope - 70 or 80m, otherwise you'd have to buy another one or be limited with route choice.
If you are on a budget one of the big blue Ikea bags makes a good rope holder whilst at the crag until you want to spend money on a bag with a fold out sheet included. They are also useful for chucking everything in when you want to move along the crag a bit.
> Not all bolt hangers lend themselves to that technique I'm afraid. It could work at Portland but most definitely not on some bolts I've come across where it could be downright dangerous.
Go on, then, explain why, rather than just dismissing it.
Obviously, you'd need to use your discretion, but it's a technique I've used in a couple of places without incident. The main issue would be if it's one of the bent metal hangers with a sharper edge than the staples - however, there shouldn't be any rubbing or bouncing, so a slow ab should be safe on thick cord.
Have I dismissed it? I merely pointed out that some hangers I have come across would not be suitable for this technique. I also mentioned that the U bolts used at Portland would. That's hardly dismissing anything. Added to which it's personal choice. If you do not have ANY reservations under ANY circumstances carry on. Perhaps you do not have as much experience as I have. Not seen as many variations of hanger etc. etc. Why be so confrontational about this?
I keep hearing I need a 70m rope for Europe and keep managing to do everything I can on my 60m. I don't think a 60m rope is particularly limiting
FWIW using maillons to bail from UK sport routes is fairly antisocial and shouldn't be encouraged. They are a pain for other climbers to remove and in the worst case rust shut completely messing up the route. Leaving behind a cheap snap-gate or wire-gate krab is much better, assuming that you can't use a clip stick to reach the top.
Dynamic rope lanyards are great and a Gold Standard option but not essential. A Kong Slyde (available from Decathlon) plus a length of rope is far, far cheaper than the very nice, but expensive, Petzl option. Plenty of quickdraws and a screwgate are more than sufficient but the worst of all options is improvising a lanyard out of a static sling. It's just a poor option that no-one should really be promoting.
I don’t know why people act like spending £25 on a piece of gear that you use for years and years is a big deal?
The difference in me clipping with my connect and adjusting so I can be ‘safe’ compared to people faffing with draws slings and Daisy’s chains is highly noticeable by all, and especially new climbers to which that part can be more daunting than the climb.
You need £150 of quickdraws or £800 of cams and nuts for a single climb so beggars belief why people are calling a £25 bit of gear that can have you safe in seconds and is a godsend on a hard or pumpy top out ‘very expensive’..
If you're climbing a few times a week (or even just once a week) and redpointing rather than on sighting, which causes you to take lots of falls and dogging around on the rope you'll be cutting tails off both ends of the rope by the end of the year. Much cheaper to buy an extra 10 metres now rather than a whole new rope every year.
> I was going to go for the Petzl Connect Adjust but somebody said I’d be fine with a couple of quick draws and slings.
> Funnily enough, messing around at the chains is the only part that I’m intimidated by.
I'd say even the sling isn't strictly necessary. Virtually everyone at my home crags just takes a couple of extra qds; although, a sling might be useful at crags with very badly placed belays.
One extra piece of kit no one else seems to have mentioned: duvet jacket or equivalent. You'll cool down when resting or belaying. Even on the sunniest days in the UK, if you are in the shade with a bit of a breeze, you'll be glad of one.
> If you're climbing a few times a week (or even just once a week) and redpointing rather than on sighting..
All that makes sense but at the moment I'm not sure that's the OP's profile and it certainly isn't mine.
Well for example you could have years of trips climbing in Kalymnos on a 60m, but a lot of routes there are 35m+. Just a quick look at a newer sector gives 5 out of 11 routes 35-40m in grades 5c-6b.
If you're just getting one rope, you might as well get a longer one.
The hazards of non-face-to-face
In your original reply, you said it would work at Portland, but "most definitely not" on others (which I'd say is a partial dismissal), but nothing as to "why", or any suggestion of an alternative.
You and I both know Portland has the nice, smooth U staples, other places don't - indeed, I've seen some pretty grotty bolts in other places.
It's also worth saying that, whist not rocket science, this trick using a sling to the tail of the rope to retrieve it isn't a straightforward technique. Add in that you perhaps pumped /and scared, at the point you have to retreat, so your brain is operating in that 'scrambled' mode, and that it can be hard to see what's what with the various loops of rope when close in to the wall....
It worked fine on the occasion I tried it, but felt faffy with a chance of getting it wrong or in a fangle. Ever since I've taken the view leaving an old biner is faster and safer.
What I said was:
"Not all bolt hangers lend themselves to that technique I'm afraid. It could work at Portland but most definitely not on some bolts I've come across where it could be downright dangerous."
To me that says the only dismissing I've done is in the case of some bolts I've seen and from the sounds of it you have also.
I checked my rope bag last night and it does fold out. Happy days!
I already do that with my bouldering. I'm a little obsessive with keeping my shoes clean so I don't fall off as easily or damage the rock.
Hi Mark, excuse my ignorance - I was under the impression that lowering off a biner was deemed to be risky, hence the use of mailons? I thought I'd read the risk was because there's a chance the gate can open.
I have nearly as many down jackets and Needles Sports! Summer sport climbing seems much more appealing than bouldering on teh grit, through winter, from that perspective
Just going back to your suggestion of going for the same length for all of my quickdraws - would you go for 12cm?
(lighter and would swing around a little less).
+1 for the Kong Slyde. Really useful piece of kit.
Does the same as the Petzl Connect but you supply the 9mm rope, so when it wears out you can replace.
You can also get a Kong for <£10 and the rope for <£5 so you pay considerably less for the same product.
Always use 2 points when stripping a route, so a dairy chain/sling in addition to a slyde is useful. I've not heard of any deaths from stripping off a single bolt but you don't want to be the first.....
One thing to consider - solid gate QDs are generally nicer for bolt-clipping but often won't work with a Clipstick. If that's the case, you'll want at least one draw with a wire-gate (more if you're planning on projecting routes/aiding up them if you're out of your depth). 3 wire-gate QDs are useful to have (one if you want to CS the first bolt and then you can bump the other 2 if you need to rope-haul past hard bits).
I use mostly 12cm but I do carry a couple of longer QD's for those situations where a bolt is not quite in line. I also carry an "alpine draw" for those situations where a bolt is well out of line. It's seldom used but doubles as a cows tail on the lower offs if needed.
Personal preference really, the bulk of mine are 12s for those very reasons and I've never had an issue with them being too short, though I have friends who favour longer draws.
That said I just noticed that DMM do 5 packs where they do 3 x 12 and 2 x 18 so if you really feel like you'd like a couple of longer ones you could always get one of those?
If I'm honest with you, when I'm pumped and fumbling for draws half way up a route, with my last draw way below me the last thing I'm thinking about is the length of the draw!
Longer draws are safer though
I’m planning on going for the DMM Alpha Sports.
> Longer draws are safer though
Why do you think that? Or is the smiley icon to indicate irony?
Good draws them, I've got the Aeros, but more people seem to have the Alphas...
[Reaches for popcorn]
Longer draws are more flexible so won't wander around the bolt. There's a good video from Sun & Rock where Trevor Massiah demonstrates how the arc of a fall can cause short, stiff draws to unclip themselves.
If it's the video I think it is what he is actually demonstrating is the importance of the QD being clipped in such a way that the gate is not pointing toward the rock as you move upwards and the fact that the bolt can inhibit the krab and even open the gate. In this scenario I think the length of the QD is less important than the direction of the actual clipping and the intended direction of travel. I will concede that a bolt is not always placed in the best orientation to achieve this and in those cases I may use a longer QD if I am unsure of my direction of travel, indeed I may even use one of those Edelrid locking krabs. The issue is also about the flexibility of the QD and not the length as such. This is also the reason that I do not have one krab pointing one way on the QD and the other end pointing the other as one gate is always pointing towards the rock. My objection, well more my questioning, is more to the broad statement that longer QD's are safer.
Is there a negative safety aspect of having 18cm draws as opposed to 12cm draws (other than falling an extra 6cm, obviously)?
They also make things a bit easier at the top if you need to extend one of the lower-offs a bit (if the lower-offs aren't parallel).
No. I like the shorter QD's because they don't feel like they are hanging round your knees all the time. I do carry a couple of longer QD's for the reasons you mention, usually around the back of the harness out of the way for that very reason. I also like the stiffer QD's because they are easier to grab hold of in an emergency and also can provide a little bit of extra reach when clipping. Like I said it's just the blanket statement that "longer QD's are safer" that I'm uneasy about.
Yeah same... Stiff ones are easier to clip too
Fair enough. It sounds like it may be true though?
If in some instances they are safer and in no instances they are not safer?
I bought short sport draws when I first started out and I wish I hadn't bothered. Given my time again I'd get 6x ~12cm draws and 6x or more 18cm draws. That'd do for most single-pitch sport in the UK. Would also mean I'd only need around 4x 60cm extenders to convert it to a useful trad setup. As it happened I now have separate sport and trad draws (too many).
The fat nylon solid-gate draws feel nice but are quite heavy and don't work with clipsticks (unless they changed the design?). If you're getting some wire-gates then they tend to have the thin dyneema slings, in which case I'd just go for the longer ones as they're more versatile.
It's personal preference though, there's not really a wrong answer.
My clip stick works fine with my DMM Shadows. Sports QD's are far more likely to be fallen on and abused than trad ones which is why I like the solid gate style, I find them more reassuring for some reason.
Yeah my DMM Aeros work fine with my beta stick, the back of the gate has a little groove on it to make it work.
Alex Puccio has climbed Heritage, a Carlo Traversi Font 8B+ in Val Bavona, Switzerland. This was Puccio's fifth climb graded 8B+ after previously climbing Jade, The Wheel of Chaos, New Baseline and The Penrose Step.