December 12, 2017
Beginnings are difficult. They are new and exciting, but they can also be intimidating at times. It happens to the best of us. We jump head first into a new sport or activity and all of the sudden are bombarded with lingo that is unfamiliar (What in the world is a crag and what do I do with it?) along with right and wrong ways to do everything. But hey, everyone starts somewhere. All there is to do is work your butt off, stay hyped, and ask for help when you need it – and that is why we are here. We want to make sure every climber feels confident out on the rock, whether they are rockin’ V0’s all day or projecting Midnight Lightning.
We put together a basic beginners list full of items we think are perfect to gift to the new climber in your life.
First is chalk. Every climber needs chalk. Sweaty hands equals falling off. For loose chalk, we like the Black Diamond white gold chalk. They have a variety of sizes to choose from and they make a great stocking stuffer. Black Diamond makes a liquid chalk version as well. Chalk seems to be a very personal purchase, everyone has their own favorite. It can be fun to gift a few different chalk types and varieties and see what works best for the individual.
Next would be a bag, we like Metolius Access Fund “Destinations” Chalk Bag or the Black Diamond Mojo Repo Chalk Bag if a more neutral bag is preferred. One of our go to gifts here is pairing a new chalk with a chalk bag, tying it up in a bow and maybe sticking a new brush set inside. Boom, there’s a gift every climber needs and would love to get.
To really send the package home, Mtape is a great idea for new climbers. That new soft skin is going to rip of at some point, holds and rocks are not very forgiving.
There aren’t many feelings in this world that are worse than sliding your bare foot into a grungy, stinky rental shoe. Perfectly fitted, the right pair of shoes can take a climber to new heights in their climbing. For beginners we love the Evolv sparks. These guys are great for the new climber because they are a little sturdier and built to be both comfortable and supportive. Because sizes are so particular with climbing shoes, it may be better to gift a pair of approach shoes instead.
Specifically designed to get a climber from their van to the crag Evolv’s Cruzers are a great gift for both women and men. These shoes have the same rubber on the bottom as some climbing shoes so they are great for scrambling over rocks on a trail. As an added bonus, their fold down back make it simple to transition from climbing shoe to comfy rest shoe in no time at all.
Harness and Rope
When it comes to harnesses, our top picks for beginners would have to be the Black Diamond momentum harness and the Black Diamond primrose harness. Both of these come as packages to include everything a climber will need to get them out on the rock. They include: a harness, a belay device, a screwgate carabiner and a chalk bag, chalk included.
In terms of ropes, we love the Black Diamond 9.9mm This guy is a heavy duty rope designed for a varied climbing life. This rope will give the new climber the opportunity to try out different areas in all seasons.
Let’s talk training. In order to be great at something all one really needs to do is practice. We love the Metolius power grips. We hang them on our pull up bars at home, or in doorways, heck we have a pair hanging up at the office. Essentially, you never know when the urge to do a pullup will hit.
A little more of an investment, the wood grips training board is another great piece of equipment. Providing more hold options than the rock rings, this board will help develop finger strength as well as provide upper body training options. We love the wood board because it looks great hanging in the house, not drawing as much attention as brightly colored plastic boards can.
Proper attire makes a difference when climbing. You will want something stretchy in order to bend and reach. For girls we love leggings. They are great for staying comfy during sessions and they can double as a pretty decent base layer if you have any sort of approach during the colder season. Kill two birds with one stone am I right? Stone, like a rock? You guys! Anyway, for the girls we like Smartwool’s printed tights. The merino wool will keep you toasty warm and if you plan on being out for more than one day, they are designed to keep the body odor to a minimum. If you are looking to stay in the gym with the plastic or aren’t concerned about temperature, we love the Under Armour trail capris. We wear them out climbing or hiking, then throw on a cute sweater and head out for a drink afterwards. Their versatility is as great as their quality. Plus, they have pockets!
For guys we really like the Kilowat short. Go ahead and pair them with a beanie and a pair of Solutions , and a new climber will blend right in. All joking aside, shorts are great because gyms can get very stuffy and hot after a while. The last thing anyone should worry about while climbing is sweating and being uncomfortable due to their clothes. These shorts are lightweight and will stretch to conform to whatever beta the climb requires.
Greatest Friend in the World
If you really want to win this holiday season, grab a crash pad for your new climber. They will absolutely love you. Sometimes mistaken for a mattress, or a massage table (and honestly could be used as either) a pad will allow a climber to boulder outside with the safety of a gym pad underneath them.
Recovery is an essential aspect to any activity, climbing included. Make sure rest days are utilized to their potential with the forearm trainer. Having a way to roll out all the knots and cramps that develop during climbing sessions is going to feel glorious, and really get you feeling ready to get back out on the rock sooner.
We hope this guide helps you to gift the perfect setup to the new climber in your life, gifts that will encourage them to keep at it and to excel at the activity.