Rock Climbing Equipment List

7 Ultimate Rock Climbing Equipment List: What Gear Do I Need?

As a beginner rock climber, your ultimate question is; What rock climbing equipment list do I need?

Ascending the heights of a natural rock formation, feet about sea level, can be exhilarating and thrilling, mostly when such climb occurs under the right conditions and according to safety practice.

While such an activity may be enjoyable, it can quickly become a nightmare with severe consequences such as injuries and, in extreme instances, death.

To vastly reduce and eliminate the risks associated with rock climbing, rock climbing gear, which dates as far back as the early 20th century, were invited.

As climbing evolved, these gear have reduced the risk of death and injuries from rock climbing and have helped make rock climbing easy.

Despite rock climbing gear availability, climbers have sometimes made grave mistakes in climbing expeditions with incomplete rock climbing gear.

A precise instance is the experience of an American rock climber, Bett Rodden, who suffered a concussion after a 20 feet fall while scaling the Central Pillar of Frenzy section of Yosemite’s Middle Cathedral Rock.

The head injury Rodden sustained would have significantly been reduced if the esteemed climber had put on a climbing helmet. Rodden’s accident gives obvious insight into every equipment’s role, no matter how small, play in rock climbing.

Rock Climbing Equipment List

Reviewed below are the essential rock climbing equipment list. (Depending on the climbing route and climbing discipline engaged in, more or less equipment may be required than what is explained in the article.)

1. Climbing Shoes

Rock Climbing Shoes

One of the essential gear needed in every form of rock climbing, the climbing shoe, often chosen based on the climbing route, affects how quickly a climber ascends a route.

Climbing shoes also differs based on the climbing discipline engaged in and a climber’s experience. A beginner climber engaging in bouldering would most likely go for a neutral climbing shoe that provides comfort.

An experienced climber, engaging in top-roping in a steep route, will opt for an aggressive shoe with a downward shape for toe and heel support.

The choice of climbing shoe also comes down to a climber’s preference. A climber may prefer leather to synthetic and lace straps to Velcro, which ultimately affects his climbing speed.

Whatever choice of climbing shoe is made, climbers often choose based on performance and comfort, but mostly what attunes to the climbing route’s nature and the climber’s style.

2. Climbing Helmet

Rock Climbing Helmet

Despite the role climbing helmet, an essential climbing gear plays in a climber’s safety, it is often ignored by climbers, especially by experienced climbers.

When Better Rodden was ascending the Yosemite, she surely knew of the life-saving importance of the climbing helmet. Still, the climber who has successfully climbed several notoriously tricky sections of the El Capitan, such as the Nose of the El Capitan and the Meltdown, did not think she’ll be involved in an accident, where the life-saving assets of the helmet would come to play.

Accidents in rock climbing are almost unpredictable, so climbers should wear a climbing helmet, especially when climbing outdoors.

For indoor climbing, climbing can be done without helmets as in the event of falls, the crash pad provides safe landing and is free from objects that may cause head injuries or concussion.

3. Belay Device

Belay Device

Another life-saving gear, a belay device often used in outdoor climbing such as top-rope climbing, controls the climbing rope as a climber ascends.

The belay device, often controlled by another climber known as the belayer, also helps bring the climbing rope to a halt when a climber falls.

Often attached to the climber by a harness and employing a carabiner, the belay device has to be in good condition as the climber’s life depends on it.

4. Harness

Rock Climbing Harness

To add to a climber’s safety, the harness, a device that consists of two leg loops and a waist belt, connects the climber to the climbing rope.

As each climber body differs, climbers can choose a harness based on how it fits physically and their needs.

5. Carabiners

Rock Climbing Carabiners

A steel device with spring gates, the carabiners serve as a connector. These spring-loaded gate devices help attach the climbing rope to the anchor.

Various forms of carabiners exist which fit different uses. The most common form is the locking carabiner, which blocks the climbing rope to the anchor.

The non-locking form of carabiners form the fundamental component of the quickdraw.

6. Climbing rope

Climbing Rope/rock climbing equipment list

They are mostly used in almost all outdoor climbing forms and some indoor climbing—the climbing rope ranks as an essential climbing gear/equipment.

Climbing ropes exist in different classes; static ropes and dynamic ropes. Static ropes are used for anchoring and rappelling. Ascenders utilize them as fixed rope, as they do not have stretching ability.

Dynamic ropes which contain elasticity can absorb tension and are used as belay ropes. If a climber falls, the climbing rope elasticity reduces the belayer’s stress, the climber, and the anchor.

7. Chalk

Rock Climbing Chalk/rock climbing equipment list

Since American mathematician and bouldering advocate, John Gill, introduced chalk in rock climbing in the 1950s, chalk in climbing has become a norm.

Chalk helps a climber ascends his climber route, as sweating in the hands is reduced, thus ensuring the climber has a secure grip.

Essential to all climbing discipline, the ubiquitous gear is placed in a chalk bag attached to the harness’s waist belt using a carabiner.

This allows the climber to re-chalk at regular intervals. As a result of environmental concerns, climbers are encouraged to use chalk that matches the rock’s color.


For low-risk climbing, a quality rock climbing equipment list is vital, in order for you to reduce high-level risk when climbing.

Please let us know your thoughts on our rock climbing equipment list and gears in the comments section below.

See 10 Best Rock Climbing Safety Tips & Advice, 5 Probable Rock Climbing Risks, and 10 Eye-Opening Benefits Of Rock Climbing.