Gear Guide

For a comprehensive guide on how to choose and use different kinds of climbing gear look no further.

Buying your own gear

  • DMM Cosmetic 2nds
  • In the interests of safety many items bought new are non-returnable and non-refundable. New gear is almost always the safest option if you don't know what signs of wear-and-tear to look for... but we can help with that!
  • How to find sweet deals
  • Starter-sets
  • ebay
  • Lost equipment -Post on UKC first
  • Inspect new, second-hand gear and gear you have found carefully to make sure it is safe to use. What to look for?
  • Which gear to buy first? Rocks before cams? Sling sizes?
  • Insurance for your own trips -BMC and Snowcard
  • Online retailers
  • Stores in Leeds

For more info on how to choose and use specific types of gear see the gear-guide section.


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  • Get a shoe to match the shape of your foot -e.g. symmetrical shape if you have mortons-toe, board-lasted (and probably symmetrical) if you have hallux valgus, asymmetrical better in the long-term for normal feet.
  • Trad-shoes (comfort) vs bouldering-shoes (performance). Trade-offs
  • Usual not to wear socks
  • e.g. flat-profile shoes for cracks vs bunched-toe shoes suited for overhanging problems
  • Board-lasted vs slip-lasted
  • Velcro vs laces
  • Edging vs Smearing
  • If ordering over the internet, buy several different sizes and return the ones you don't need.
  • Go for a snug fit. This could be a size-or-two down from your usual shoe-size.
  • Be aware that the material and the stitching of the shoe will affect how much the shoe stretches over time, and how well it breathes.
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  • Literally any chalk-bag will do
  • Block Chalk vs Powder, vs Chalk Ball vs Liquid Chalk
  • Block Chalk with Chalk Ball as applicator?


Sit-in-harnesses -old-style and new. Chest harness. Full-body harness. Double-back-buckle vs D-locking.

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Bug vs Reverso etc


  • Twin-ropes vs single
  • Buying for indoor vs outdoors
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When and why you should use a helmet

Any is fine so long as you can see the cracks when they appear (i.e. Probably best not to choose black helmet, paint it or cover it with stickers). Also: Expiry dates on plastic goods approx 3 years as they deform over time -especially in sunlight.


  • HMS/Boa
  • Screwgate vs snapgate
  • Solid-gate vs wire-gate
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  • What they are for
  • Length considerations
  • Making extenders
  • Typically quickdraws will have either a stiff (tightly held) karabiner at one end and a loose karabiner at the other. They may also have a karabiner with a bent gate at the stiff end and a karabiner with a straight gate at the loose end. Clip the loose end to the bolt or gear you have placed and the stiff end into the rope. There are three reasons for this
    1. If the gear is clipped into nuts on wires, the vibrations sent along the rope that can be transferred to the gear and to cause it to move out of position. Clipping the loose end into the gear and saving the stiff end for the rope will reduce this more.
    2. If you are sport-climbing, using the same end of the quickdraw to clip into the bolts every time ensures that only one of the karabiners suffers wear-and-tear from the bolts. This means you will always have a karabiner on each quickdraw that you know will not have any sharp edges that could damage or even slice through the rope as it passes through (particularly critical if you have a fall).
    3. The straight gate is designed to clip easily to a bold when tapping against it, and the bent gate to help guide the rope into the karabiner. It is also possible to hold the stiff end and clip the straight-gated end from a distance this way.
  • Avoid back-clipping
  • Avoid z-clipping
  • Clip at waist height to avoid lifting rope and falling a lot further
  • More hints here


  • Length considerations
  • Making extenders -see quickdraws above
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Types of rock blah blah....

How to place? -Perhaps put this in Technique section?


Ones with a wider surface area for you to hit are easier and less painful to use.

People have been known to get impaled on nut-keys clipped onto their harnesses too tightly. Using a leash or some tat (thin rope) and a karabiner is a safer method

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Most climbers will attach tape of a particular colour or combination of colours to gear so that they can identify it easily as their own. This is necessary as many climbers will use the same products and end up with their gear mixed together at the end of a pitch or series of pitches.

It is also great for helping return lost gear found on a crag to its rightful owner.

Try to use a colour-combination or design that is less-used by other members of the club. Go to our gear-tape registry here to find out what is already in use and to register your own colour.

Certain kinds of tape are more suitable than others. For example the glue used for some kinds of tape can (over time) corrode the plastic used to make ropes and slings and make them dangerous. Choose wisely.

For some really strange designs have a look here.


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Don't use these.

What they are for...

How to use...

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