Home Welcome to the UQMC Forum! Tech Advice Beginner's Gear Guide


This topic contains 1 reply, has 2 voices, and was last updated by  Cheyenne M 2 months, 1 week ago.

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    Ben Jeffrey

    With the Club gear night only a few weeks away I thought some people could use a quick guide to gear they might want to get when starting out.


    While the club supplies everything you need for top roping most people prefer to have their own gear, particularly shoes.

    Fit is the most important thing, try on as many different shoes as you can. A shoe that fits well will fit tightly all-over with no air pockets and no hot spots. Generally your toes should be at least slightly curled for best performance. Leather shoes will stretch by around one size, while synthetic shoes will hardly stretch at all.

    Chalk/Chalk Bag
    It’s white and fluffy and makes your sweaty hands dry, it comes in chunky or powdered form and you should definitely have rigorous debates over which type is best. Make sure your chalk bag is big enough to get your whole hand into.

    A basic harness no-frills harness like the Black Diamond Momentum is a good starter harness. More expensive harnesses have more padding, more gear loops, more adjustment or other special features for specific types of climbing eg. space for ice screw clippers, double belay loops etc.

    Protects your noggin. Lighter is good but also more expensive.


    Belay Device
    ATC Guide or Reverso. And a HMS carabiner, this carabiner should only be used for belaying since you don’t want sharp nicks or scratches on the surface of the carabiner which could damage the rope.

    Prusik loop
    A loop of 6mm or 7mm accessory cord. Various lengths from forearm length to arm-span length. Remember if you want your loop to be 1.5m long you need 3m of cord plus some extra for the knots (around 30cm).

    Can be a sling, a purcell prusik (made from 5-6m of accessory cord) or a dedicated piece of equipment like the Metolius PAS 22 or Sterling Chain Reactor. Daisy chains are not ideal as an adjustable safety.

    You’ll need at least two locking carabiners to clean a route. Most locking carabiners are keylock now, hook-nosed carabiners can get caught on hangers etc. Consider the size of the carabiner and the size of the gate opening, small gate openings can make cleaning difficult. Also consider the profile or thickness of the biner, a thin I-beam style carabiner might be easier to clip into a narrow opening like a chain or an already crowded bolt.


    Quickdraw PartsDMM Alpha Sport, the gold standard in sport draws.

    Top Carabiner: Wire gates and some solid gates (eg. Petzl Spirit) are incompatible with bolt plates. There are fewer and fewer carroted routes around but it’s something to be aware of. Look at the nose of the carabiner, hook-nose carabiners are harder to clean and can hook up on a hanger, go for a carabiner with a steeply angled top bar that won’t easily hook up on a hanger/bolt.

    Dog Bone: For sport climbing a thick dog bone is better because it stops the draw from twisting, thick dog bones are also easier to grab if you need to (don’t grab quickdraws). It’s useful to have a few different lengths as well as a couple of extendable alpine draws.

    Bottom carabiner: Largely personal preference, try a few different gate styles to see what you like. Wire gates are lighter and less prone to gate flutter, bent gates are usually easier to clip. Check the size of the gate opening, big carabiners with big gate openings are easier to clip.

    60m will get you up and down most routes in SE Queensland.
    9.8mm – 10.3mm is a good balance between weight, usability and durability. Keep in mind your belay device is only compatible with a certain range of rope diameters.
    A rope tarp will help keep your rope in good condition for longer.
    Extra Features
    Dry treatment: mostly unnecessary unless you’re doing ice climbing or canyoning.
    Middle marker/Bi-pattern: Handy but you’ll need to re-mark the middle if you shorten your rope.
    Extra length eg. 70m: Can be handy but you have to carry around an extra 10m of rope. Still left with a 60m rope if you have to cut the ends off.

    Chime in with your experience, what’s your favourite piece of gear, what do you use every time you climb, what gear do you wish you bought when you started out?


    Cheyenne M

    Lessons learned for gear-

    For your safety (if you plan to buy one) I love how simple and cheap my purcell prussik is, just make sure you buy a carabiner with a thin nose to go with it (that way it always fits in the bolts 😛 )

    If you plan to one day multipitch or belay from above (called top belaying) best to skip buying an average ATC XP and go straight for an AC guide or Petzl Reverso!

    I like my 70m rope, rarely needed in Australia so might not be worth it but can be useful for long raps!

    I AM SPARTACUS has the coolest chalk bags in town

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