Featuring Advice from Gear Guide Contributor Andy Anderson

Rock climbing is more than just a sport—it’s a way to challenge yourself both physically and mentally, to explore the outdoors, to learn creative problem solving, and to meet new people. This guide will give you a basic rundown of the ins and outs of climbing and will help you choose the climbing gear you'll need to get out there and get after it.

Basic Types of Rock Climbing

Tips for first time climbers

Climbing may seem like an intimidating pursuit, but what could be more natural? Humans evolved from monkeys, and what do monkeys do? They climb! Kids climbing trees is a perfect example of our instinctual urge to go up, something we seem to forget as we get older. From little kids to senior citizens, no matter your age, climbing is a great way to retain that playful full-body motion and stay active. But climbing does come with inherent risks, and it’s important to educate yourself before getting in over your head. In our book, the best start point is either to take a class at your local climbing gym, or hire a certified guide to show you the ropes outdoors. You’ll learn the basics of movement, belaying, and leading, and will build a solid foundation for a lifetime of fitness and adventure. As you build your skills both indoors and out, the whole world of climbing will be at your fingertips.

Climbing Shoes

Sticky-rubber rock shoes are hands down the most essential piece of gear for a climber. While they may all look similar, climbing shoes are not all created equal, and the model that’s right for you will depend on a lot of things—the shape of your foot, the style of climbing, and your personal preferences, to name a few. Here are a few key considerations to make when choosing and sizing your rock shoes.

Climbing Shoes

Additional Climbing Gear

Care and Storage

Like any equipment, if you care for, clean, and properly store your climbing gear, there’s no reason it shouldn’t provide season after season of use. With our climbing shoes, we always brush off dirt and debris before beginning a climb, and before packing up for the day. Keep your cams, carabiners and other mechanical hardware lubricated and free of dirt, and clean them when necessary. For fabric-based protective gear like ropes, harnesses, slings and quickdraws, be sure to inspect them regularly for abrasion, fading, or excessive wear—if you ever have any doubts as to the integrity of your gear, retire and replace it immediately.

Related Guides