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First Sport Climbing Rack

First Sport Climbing Rack

What should you get if you’re just starting out buying a sport climbing rack? Esther Foster, Mountaineering & Climbing Instructor, shares her thoughts on this topic:

1: Sport Climbing Specific Quickdraws  

Considerations:

Route length:

Regular sport climbers who climb abroad will often have 20 – 25 quickdraws. If you’re in the UK, 10-12 may be enough, but this depends on the types and lengths of route you intend to climb, so do your research first. Ask on UKC or Facebook (e.g. Womenclimb Find a Climbing Partner) if the guidebook doesn’t give you the information you need.

Length of Quickdraws:

Buy various lengths so that you can equip a route well for different clipping positions and to minimise rope drag

Weight & Durability:

Designed to be heavier, more durable and with thicker tape than trad quickdraws

2: Sling

1 x 8ft/120cm sling

3. Maillons

You can buy a few of these cheaply (approx. £1.50 each) from any outdoor shop; they allow you to retreat from halfway up a route without leaving some of your gear behind. Make sure you buy these from a reputable supplier and they they have a safety rating for rock climbing purposes.

Other Considerations:

4. A few trad quickdraws:  

Quickdraws with longer, thinner tape will twist more easily, which helps the rope to fall in the right part of the snap gate every time, and reduces the chance of the top snapgate rotating on the bolt. This can be good for sections where there are bulges in the rock, on the first and second bolts of a route, or for extending a bolt so that the rope can be clipped before a hard section

5. ‘Roller’ Snapgate:

Having one of these on the rope end of the draw is great for reducing rope drag if you are on a longer sport route that weaves around a lot. This is  particularly good at the first bolt if you are a lighter climber being belayed by heavier climbers. The roller draw will help your belayer give you a soft catch, which often doesn’t happen with small climbers and can cause them to be pulled hard in to the wall during a fall, increasing injury risk.An assisted braking belay device 

6. Belay Device Choice:

Consider using an assisted braking device. There are so many on the market….this would need a whole other article, so do your own research and practice with different devices before buying, if you can.

Now that we are beginning to climb outdoors again, hopefully this advice will help you in your choice of climbing gear.


Thank you to Esther for her input into this series. Feel free to get in touch with her if you have any questions or are interested in specific coaching or tuition: www.estherfoster.co.uk.

Look out for our other articles from Esther, and her professional profile – coming soon.

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