I recently made my first foray out onto real rock in two and half months, and it felt glorious. It also made me realize I need to get some things in order with my gear to transition smoothly back into climbing season. If, like me, you’re just getting back into it after a long, cold winter, below are a few tips so that you aren’t caught off guard and wondering why you didn’t take care of this stuff sooner while the snow was still falling.
While some people debate the merits of this, I think having a rope that looks fresh is as much of a mental boost as it is helpful for keeping aluminum oxide from ruining your hands. Also, it’s easy to do, so why not? Double daisy chain it, put in a pillowcase and throw it in the washing machine. Hang dry out of the sun and viola, clean rope, at least for a little bit longer.
After your rope is clean, inspect it thoroughly, feeling for soft spots, core shots, etc. If the ends are battered, cut them off and put some tape on there that says what the new length is. Much easier to do this at home than when you’ve arrived at your spring break climbing destination and you’ve got a cord with a core shot right in the middle.
Time flies, and before you know it, those slings you think are new actually might need to be replaced. Everyone has their own acceptable standards for how long they are willing to use a piece of gear, but for nylon slings, manufacturers recommend replacing them every 5 years, (this also includes the slings on your cams). Look at your harness, especially the belay loop which tends to wear out faster than other parts. Check carabiners for deep grooves, and when in doubt, retire it to the key chain, leaver gear, etc.
This is an easy one to let sneak up on you. Take a look at your shoes and see if you need to get them a fresh coat of rubber. This can take awhile so don’t wait until the last minute, or you’ll find yourself cragging in your B-team shoes for longer than you wanted.
Anything you identified you want from last season, now’s the time to get it. I need some new dogbones, and I also want a lightweight stick clip for traveling. With a trip looming in two weeks, it’s time to make it happen!
Got any other tips for getting ready for climbing season? Let us know in the comments.