Climbing categories and essential equipment

Rock climbing can be performed at both indoor and outdoor venues. Typically, the sport utilises two participants and requires one person tied to a rope climbing, while the partner controls the rope.

Bouldering is the challenge of climbing around and up small rocks, boulders, or indoor walls. The average height of a bouldering challenge is six metres and it is performed without the use of ropes or harnesses. Although it requires limited equipment, participants will usually wear climbing shoes, chalk their hands and cover the floor with padded mats.

Ice climbing, as suggested by the name, requires climbers to tackle a combination of snow, ice or both together. This form of climbing is very dangerous and participants will use ropes and safety equipment similar to rock climbing. The typical kit required for this challenge will include mountain boots, warm clothing, ice axes, crampons, harnesses and ropes.

Mountain climbing takes place in mountainous areas and requires the skills of walking, scrambling, rock and ice climbing. Mountaineering can also be called ‘alpinism’ and is not all about climbing up mountains with lots of technical equipment. It can also be an enjoyable challenge of hiking up a steep rocky slope.

Essential equipment

  • Climbing harness – worn by climbers and is a combination of waist loop, leg loops, belay loop and gear loops
  • Belay device – a piece of equipment that is used to control the rope when belaying
  • Climbing shoes – specialist footwear to aid performance
  • Climbing helmet – a standard device to help prevent head injury
  • Nut tool – a thin tool that has a hooked end for removing gear
  • Guidebook – essential to help keep climbers on track
  • Rope – there are two different types of rope, static and dynamic
  • Rack of protective gear – a collection of gear that attaches to the loop of a harness to help prevent falling
  • Quickdraws – two snap-gate karabiners that are linked by a short sling
  • Slings – loop of rope or tape used to connect racking gear around chock stones for protection
  • Screw gate karabiner – an oval metal hoop with a spring-loaded gate that links attached rope and protective gear
  • Hexes - a piece of equipment used to protect climbers from injury