How To Dress For Rock Climbing
Choosing the right rock climbing apparel is crucial to success on the mountain. Speciality shoes, belaying gloves and helmets are all part the rock climbing gear a climber needs before venturing out. It is important not to wear clothing that is in any way restrictive or excessively baggy. A form fitting shirt made of material designed to wick away moisture is a good fit with the sport of climbing.
Rock climbing shoes are a speciality. Just as an athlete would need golf shoes to play golf and cycling shoes for distance races, rock climbers need rock climbing shoes. They are made out of a vulcanized rubber which assists the climber in gripping the face of the mountain. They are also padded to protect the foot during the ascent and descent. It is advised to either wear no socks or buy some that are very thin.
Expert climbers suggest donning Capri or ankle length spandex pants, that are form fitting. You don't want to wear anything with loose edges that can get caught in the metal hook or carabiners, or snag on the rock face. It is critical to wear form-fitting clothing. Be careful not to purchase pants that restrict range of motion or that bind in uncomfortable locations. Try and wear light layers on the upper part of your body made of a breathable material that wicks away sweat and moisture.
Gear for Extreme Conditions
In mountain environments that are extreme, the climber needs high-performance clothing that retains comfort and free movement of legs, hands and feet. Keep in mind, that as you climb, the body will generate heat, therefore it is important to wear layers of clothing to adjust body temperature as the climb proceeds. When shopping, look for waterproof fabrics that are also breathable.
Some extreme conditions to consider are cold weather and wind. It is important to stay warm while climbing so that the body does not become stiff or frigid, causing muscles to become tense and less flexible. Look to try and trap warmth close to body by wearing base layer clothing. Outer clothing, made from waterproof fabrics, should be able to be easily removed and stowed in your gear. Fleece is often an excellent option since it is non-absorbent and comes in a variety of warmth’s and weights. Even when fleece becomes wet, it is designed to dry quickly.
A base layer is a foundation piece of clothing. Often it will be a moisture wicking t-shirt that is relatively body-hugging. Most often experience rock climbers employ three layers of clothing:
- Inner layer (base layer, first layer): Keeps the skin dry and provides comfort
- Mid-layer (insulating layer): Creates warmth in the body
- Shell layer (outer layer): Used as protection from rain and wind conditions
Just as a climber needs to take special care in selecting climbing equipment, they need to take just as much care in choosing their clothing. It is vital to purchase rock climbing gear that will keep the climber both dry and warm.