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What Are the Different Types of Mountain Climbing Equipment?

A group of hikers summiting a mountain.
Mountain climbing gear must include a good pair of boots.
Mountain climbers often use ice axes for vertical climbing.
Some mountain climbing requires little more than basic hiking gear, while other climbs require a number of safety devices and tools.
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  • Written By: Dan Cavallari
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 27 August 2014
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Mountain climbing is a sport distinctly different from rock climbing, which it is often mistaken for. Mountain climbing equipment is therefore sometimes different than rock climbing equipment, though the two sports do have many pieces of equipment in common. Perhaps the most common piece of mountain climbing equipment, and the most recognizable, is the carabiner, which is a metal hook with a gate that opens and closes to secure a rope through it. These pieces of mountain climbing equipment are used for a variety of purposes, and most climbers have several carabiners on hand during a climb.

Harnesses are the most important of all pieces of mountain climbing equipment, as it is primarily responsible for the climber's safety while climbing steep pitches and other challenging routes. The harness fits around the waist, and two leg loops are attached to the waist loop. One leg loop wraps securely around each leg, and when a climber is climbing vertically, he or she can let his or her weight fall into the harness, which will be suspended from a rope, putting the climber in a sitting position.

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Mountain climbers also commonly use a tool called an ice axe. This tool is used for different purposes according to its design: some ice axes are designed for climbing vertical pieces of ice, and they are used in conjunction with other pieces of mountain climbing equipment known as crampons. Crampons are sharp metal teeth that are attached to the climber's boots for traction on ice. The ice axes used for vertical climbing often feature a bend or crook in the handle, and the pick of the ice axe is narrow and strong enough to be plunged into hard ice repeatedly. The teeth of the crampon are also narrow and quite hard for the same purposes.

Specially designed ropes are also very common pieces of mountain climbing equipment. There are two general types of rope: static and dynamic. Static ropes do not stretch as much as dynamic ropes do, and they are intended for activities such as rappelling and tying climbing anchors. Dynamic ropes are used as support ropes during climbs, and they stretch quite a bit to support the climber's weight comfortably should the climber fall. Ropes need to be cared for to prevent damage that could make the rope unusable or extremely dangerous to use. A regular inspection of the rope is necessary to ensure it is safe to use for a climb.

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whiteplane
Post 3

What kind of indoor rock climbing equipment is there? I am going indoor climbing for the first time ever this weekend and I am trying to get ready. I know that they provide everything you need but I am trying to get an idea of what to expect. You can probably tell that I'm kind of nervous.

chivebasil
Post 2

Depending on where you live, Craigslist can be a great place to find used rock climbing gear. You will need to inspect it to make sure that it is safe and viable equipment, but if it looks good you can pay significantly less than you would buying new in a store.

Most of the equipment I use I bought second hand. The sad, simple truth is that a lot of people get really into this sport for a few months and then never do it again. They buy a bunch of gear that they barely use and then want to sell it off cheap. Take advantage of their mistakes and get yourself a deal.

Ivan83
Post 1

The type of equipment that you will use will depend a lot on the type of climbing that you are going to do. If you are hiking in ice and high altitudes your gear will be completely different than if you were climbing up a sheer rock wall on a sunny day in Yellowstone.

Anyone who is new to the sport should spend a lot of time with an experienced pro before they start buying gear. Take their advice and get only the things you need. You will save money and you will insure that you will have everything you need once you start climbing. There are no stores half way up the wall.

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