View Full Version : Any climbers out there?

29th Aug 2010, 21:47
NN son (at Uni') has become addicted to climbing under the guidance of his flat mate who is an experienced instructor.
For his birthday we thought it would be nice to get him some appropriate gear as he has to borrow most of what he uses.
Any thoughts as to what to get a novice who, it would appear, is taking the subject seriously and if so, where from?

I'd thought of climbing shoes and also a helmet (although he seems to think the latter isn't necessary - having worked on building sites I know from first hand experience why they're helpful, but he isn't convinced).


sea oxen
29th Aug 2010, 22:09
A bloody good insurance policy. Just kidding.

I am terrified of heights but I used to go climbing under the tutelage of chap who'd been with 'them'. Climbing shoes, gloves and so on are very much one's own preference. Some guys used to go barefoot.

A helmet is a must. I don't like them but it is amazing what they'll absorb when you drop a mere 6'.


29th Aug 2010, 22:19
niknak, just drop something on his head. If he's unaffected then he's right, he doesn't need a lid. :ok:
If he's climbing indoors then he probably doesn't need one.
The lid isn't to protect you during a fall (it hasn't got a chance), it is to protect you from falling rocks.

Can you get in touch with his climbing mate? Ask him for a name of a reputable shop where he'll get good advice and a good range of gear.
Get him a gift voucher. :ok:

As with any hobby, you can either spend a sensible amount or spend astronomical amounts.

Shoes, harness and a lid (see above) are the essentials. Of course, you can buy chalk bags, nuts and screws, ropes, lines, gloves, carabiners, extenders and....

henry crun
29th Aug 2010, 23:03
The ideal gift would be a mountain, nothing too big, just a small one for a beginner.

29th Aug 2010, 23:08
Yup, what reddo said - shoes, harness, helmet. Is he climbing indoors, or does he do "real live" rock too? If he goes out, a good rope would be an idea, as they're expensive to replace when they take a fall.

29th Aug 2010, 23:14
It's a great hobby, but if he needs kit, go Petzl!, I rig, and I have a Navaho harness, and a keltor BMX helmet, as the man said , it'd not the falling, but the crap dropping down on you that you need it for. Lines, Karabiners and a good chalk bag, and he'll be fine. And if his mate's not trustworthy, then a new mate., cheers,j/x:ok:

29th Aug 2010, 23:41
Climbing? Well........Wait, I thought you meant tall women.:p

sea oxen
29th Aug 2010, 23:42
as the man said

Jesus, you've not met Reddo yet.


29th Aug 2010, 23:45
You're right, Jesus has not met me. :E

29th Aug 2010, 23:48
You have a RounDuit? We should talk.

29th Aug 2010, 23:51
Ask the instructor - they will know the right equipment! If you want it to be a surprise surely you can tell him so :) A friend of mine who hiked Kilimanjaro bought his gear at some store (brand?) called Kathmandu. I've never seen a shop, so I wouldn't know.

Bob Lenahan
30th Aug 2010, 00:01
I would say the first two things to buy would be a very good pair of either climbing boots, or shoes, you'll have to decide, and also a very good "day pack". Climbing is kind of like flying- you can embark on a great experience in life- on the other hand, you can also bust your arse. I spent a career in both.

30th Aug 2010, 07:24
The ideal gift would be a mountain, nothing too big, just a small one for a beginner

Or build your own.

Remember the final scenes in Hitchcock's "North by Northwest" where the hero and his girl climb down the president's faces carved into Mount Rushmore ?

The film company were forbidden (I think by whoever is in charge of national monuments) to use the actual Mount Rushmore, so MGM built their own, full size, on a studio set.

North by Northwest - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/North_by_Northwest)

30th Aug 2010, 15:14
A lid is absolutely essential. Dropped bits and runaway rocks are the principal reasons, especially when there's people above you, but it's so much easier on the noggin to bump the helmet on rock in tight spots.

Petzl is an excellent brand.

Think also of a good harness, preferably one with idiot-proof buckles.

There's also headlamps for those early starts.

The manufacturer typically advises retiring equipment after five years -- or a big fall.

Fire and brimstone
30th Aug 2010, 16:17
Just a question.

What is the appeal of rock climbing? Can I answer my own question?


- adrenalin rush

- required discipline

- sence of achievement / proving oneself

- better than sitting on computer writing crap on pprune


- is'nt it a bit dangerous?

- why not walk around the easy way?

- if you fall off (killing yourself in the process) who will look after your family?

- it cannot be completely safe - why risk your life?

I know it is not safe, because I watched one of those goats fall off a vertical cliff in Cheddar gorge last year - still makes me laugh now - and they are GOOD.

30th Aug 2010, 17:42
I wouldn't buy anyone climbing shoes as they are so personal. So really is a harness and helmets vary. So, IMHO if you want to buy him climbing kit (and it's a great idea) you either have to ask what he wants, or go to a shop with him.

30th Aug 2010, 17:58
What is the appeal of rock climbing?

Alternatively, you might want to try out urban climbing. Alain Robert (http://http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alain_Robert) has set another extraordinary example today (http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-pacific-11131442) in Sydney, much to the annoyance of local authorities.

Fire and brimstone
30th Aug 2010, 17:59
.... admittedly the goat in question had no safety equipment at all.

'What an idiot'.


30th Aug 2010, 18:03
Give money - then ask for a description of what was acquired.

There are several different types of 'climbing' - from free-climbing to mountaineering.

30th Aug 2010, 18:19
Having climbed occasionally for years I've been climbing routinely (like more than once a week) for about a year now. Almost entirely indoor...

some ideas

First off membership of the BMC British Mountaineering Council (http://www.thebmc.co.uk/) is useful and comes with 3rd party insurance so if you drop someone you have some legal help :}

Subscription to one of the climbing magazines?

Gear... the thing about gear is it is very personal and tailored to what you do as a "climber" a description which covers many sins....

For bouldering; shoes (£60-90) and a chalk bag (£5-10)
For indoor top-roped; add a harness (£60-110) and belay device (lots of options depends what your comfy with £20-50)
For indoor lead; add a rope (£70 ish - 120) (some places sell a short rope just for indoors at about £40)
Outdoors; hard hats, fall mats, ropes, various bits of "protection" (£unlimited :uhoh:)

Shoes and harnesses need to be personally fitted. What is comfy for one will be excruciating for others.

For shoes, take him along to somewhere that has a short section of wall to try them out on. Most decent shops will have a couple of feet of wall/holds to see if they work. Even shoes which "fit" standing up can be painful when you are resting your whole weight on the rubber by the big toe.

Harnesses make sure the place lets you actually "hang" in it.

Gift vouchers or a trip to the local climbing shop with your credit card would be best and don't forget to ask for his student discount!:}

It's a great sport glad he likes it, if you post what part of the country your in then we may know some shops/walls locally. Otherwise check out uk climbing forums... (google will find the url)

30th Aug 2010, 20:38
Thanks for all the replies, I think we'll give hime the money and let him take advice.

At the moment he does most of his climbing at an indoor centre (where he hopes to get a part time job), but has been out and about with that organisation, thoroughly enjoys everything that goes with it and is very keen to learn.
(I'll pass on the hints about the lid, but I rather feel it's going to take a pain in the nut to convince him).

We're in Norfolk and he's in London - not many mountains in either area unless we import one.:p