The Sport Climbing Toolkit

In the Roaring Fork Valley, sport climbing is the name of the game. Sure there are some trad routes here and there, but the majority of the climbing (and most of the good stuff) is bolted. We’ve spent much of the summer in town this year, enjoying several of the good local sport crags. As such, I’ve gotten my sport climbing systems fully dialed, and present to you my Sport Climbing Toolkit:

CU Belay Glasses
From the moment I put these on, I knew I had to add them to my kit. The comfort of belaying without straining your neck is too blissful to put into words. No longer do you have to take breaks from belaying to let your neck recover, with these you can keep the good times rolling all day long.

Stick Clip
Want to rile up some egos? Mention the use of a stick clip in a room full of “trad” climbers. “I don’t use stick clips, I’ve never even seen a stick clip, blah blah blah.” What these misinformed souls don’t realize is that a stick clip is a very useful sport climbing tool. They’re great any time you are concerned about making it to the first clip without falling, or if the rock at the start isn’t the best. And sometimes routes are actually bolted in a manner such that the first bolt is meant to be sticked. As for me, I pretty much stick the first bolt on everything, as I find it allows me to flow through the opening moves and get in a good rhythm for the rest of the climb. Minimum danger and maximum fun, it’s what sport climbing is all about.

Gri Gri
It’s amazing how many people I see sport climbing without Gri Gri’s. Sure, they are kind of expensive, but they last a long time, and they are an invaluable tool.

Flip flops
Gotta have the flip flops. After cramming your feet into tight (or even not-so-tight) shoes for a pitch, it’s nice to reward them with some room to breath. They are low profile and can strap to the side of your pack without adding hardly any additional weight. Of course, if you climb in a place like Rifle, they can also double as your approach shoes. Bonus!

Belay Gloves
This is another one that some folks scoff at, at least, until they get their own pair, whereupon they are usually hooked themselves. Most ropes are dirty, and using gloves keeps all that grey goop off your hands. Plus, they are nice for lowering, and great for rappelling when you clean an anchor. One caveat, if you get a new rope, wash your belay gloves before using them on the new cord or you’ll leave a trail of grease after the first lower.

Tape/Grip Ball
I’ve had some finger problems in the past, so the two ways I deal with it are tape and a grip ball. A hand doctor told me the tape couldn’t hurt, and might even be doing some good, so I tape. (At the very least it reminds me to be kind to my fingies.) The grip ball I use to warm up my digits by squeezing on the hike to the cliff, and before I start up a climb.

This little guy sits on the back of my harness, unused most of the time. However, when I need to brush off a dusty hold or clean something up, I can pull it out and get the job done quick. This is especially useful when climbing at areas that are relatively new and not as clean.

That’s what’s in my kit, how about yours?

3 Responses to The Sport Climbing Toolkit

  1. ha, coming off a 2 week climbing trip, climbing only the t-radest lines, i took a break from nuts and wires, and went climbing at the city of rocks for my first time. and found myself saying, ‘i wish i could stick clip that’. oh well, better than a shattered heal or leg.

    JG September 3, 2010 at 5:55 pm
    • Yeah, but you’d need a 30′ or 40′ stick at the City!

      BJ Sbarra September 3, 2010 at 6:13 pm
  2. everything but the nice belay glasses

    coop September 15, 2010 at 7:31 pm
Locals Corner

Bulldog Creek Dog Walk (IV WI 4+)

Hayden Carpenter and Tom Bohanon recently repeated an obscure ice climb on the south side of Mt Sopris. Given a brief mention in Jack Robert’s ice guide, Bulldog Creek Walk is described as being 100 meters of WI 4. What they found was seven pitches of ice in a remote setting that makes for one […]

Connect with Us

Real Time Web Analytics