This tag should be used for all questions about the activity **rock climbing**, books, gear and accessories used or necessary to do rock climbing. The term Rock Climbing is an activity in which participants climb up, down or across natural rock formations or artificial rock walls.

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34
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5answers
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Can I use a bicycle helmet as a climbing helmet?

I have a bicycle helmet that fits well. Can it be used effectively as a rock climbing helmet? Most climbing helmets have a hard shell that the bicycle helmet does not. However, one of the more ...
31
votes
10answers
23k views

How to Clean Rock-Climbing Shoes

I have never found a good answer to this one: How do you clean rock-climbing shoes, without ruining them? Let me be more specific. I have a pair of modern leather-and-fancy-rubber climbing shoes ...
28
votes
2answers
5k views

Things to keep away from climbing ropes

There are some no brainers like don't throw your climbing rope next to car batteries in the back of your car. The effect of bug sprays containing Deet seem to be controversial. I have also heard a ...
25
votes
5answers
3k views

Which fingers to use in a 2 finger pocket when rock climbing?

While rock climbing, when crimping a hold, I always use my index finger (and whatever other fingers fit) since I can stack my thumb on top. For two finger pockets is it better to use your index and ...
25
votes
1answer
469 views

What sort of rock climbing grade can a goat do?

It is quite well known that goats are into free solo rock climbing. Is there any evidence (even if anecdotal) of the highest grades they are able to climb?
24
votes
4answers
1k views

What to do if the second seems stuck and absolutely no communication is possible?

Backstory: A few months ago, I experienced the following situation: We (two people) were climbing the last pitch of a multi-pitch route. Near the end, there was a cave-like chimney. Basically a ...
23
votes
3answers
5k views

Ideal and Minimal Rope Diameter for Lead Climbing

I'm thinking of a single rope that it's safe to take long lead falls, but also light to carry around. I weight 75 kg and I might climb with heavier partners (80-90 kg)
22
votes
8answers
6k views

What are the advantages of short climbers?

My girlfriend often complains that a route or boulder was created for tall climbers. In my experience that sometimes is true: I easily get a hold, she has to jump. However, Lynn Hill proved that a ...
21
votes
7answers
2k views

What equipment do I need as a beginner outdoor rock climber?

What are the bare essentials that I need in terms of equipment when it comes to rock climbing? I've done indoor rock climbing but always rented my equipment from the rock-climbing gym. (For the ...
21
votes
4answers
3k views

How should a climbing rope be stored?

I've purchased my first climbing rope and am wondering how it should be stored when not in use. I have a rope bag which I assume is a good home for the rope; should it be kept tightly coiled inside ...
20
votes
3answers
2k views

What happens to cams after climbing?

What do people do with their cams after they've reached the top of the rock? Is there some special way of getting them down again? Seeing the prices of around 50 € per piece they can hardly just leave ...
20
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5answers
3k views

What is the difference between “dry rope”, “non-dry rope” and “dry core rope”?

I've just recently gotten into climbing and so far the ropes have always been provided for me. I'm starting to look at getting my own rope for outside climbing, and am confused by some of the ...
18
votes
7answers
885 views

What do I do if I lose my belay plate?

The scenario My climbing partner and I are at the top of a pitch and we drop a belay plate to the ground. There is no safe descent, we were planning on rappelling down off safe anchors. What do we ...
18
votes
7answers
11k views

What are the key differences between Mountaineering and Rock Climbing?

I think the title speaks for itself. I have done a basic google search and I do not find the references to be sufficient. I'm looking for a short synopsis that would educate a layman such as myself.
18
votes
2answers
3k views

How to “spot” someone who is bouldering?

We have discussed a lot and at length about how to climb and other climbing techniques. I haven't come across a single post that talks about Spotting techniques. What are the duties of a Spotter? ...
18
votes
4answers
1k views

Rappelling in the Rain

Last night I had a nightmare that I was 5 pitches off the ground and it started to pour rain. When I woke up I realized I have no idea how to deal with this. Asking around, everyone says two things: ...
18
votes
3answers
2k views

Is it realistic to teach yourself rock climbing?

I've been wanting to get into rock climbing for a while but I live in a very flat area with no climbing gyms around. I'm planning on moving to the Pacific Northwest soon and I wanted to know what the ...
18
votes
4answers
1k views

How to inspect climbing bolts?

I am most interested in setting up a top rope anchor on 2 bolts side by side. I feel like in this case you almost have to be more careful using bolts for a top rope than sport climbing because in ...
17
votes
3answers
2k views

Please Explain Rock Climbing Grades

I have seen various grades for different climbs such as 5.14b, 8b+, 8b - 150m It seems there are different parts to the grade, e.g. the last one is it 8b for 150 metres? Do these grades only ...
17
votes
4answers
1k views

How do I inspect a climbing rope?

It is imperative that climbing ropes are in excellent shape so they don't split while someone is climbing. How do I properly inspect the rope when I'm about to start a climb?
17
votes
6answers
3k views

How to safely mark a rope

I was reading this question and the first thing that popped into my head is what do you use to mark the middle of the rope? I was taught not to use any kind of marker on the rope (because there's no ...
17
votes
2answers
453 views

Micro-Fractures in Climbing Equipments

I have always been very careful while handling climbing gear. Last year while returning from an expedition, I met a group that was returning from a tough-looking climb. They were selling off a few of ...
17
votes
1answer
790 views

If the Dawn Wall's been climbed before why is the current attempt so difficult?

There's a lot of talk in the media at the moment about Kevin Jorgeson and Tommy Caldwell Free ascent of the dawn wall of El Capitan. This wall's been climbed before but this is the first time it's ...
17
votes
4answers
5k views

How to carry dslr camera when rock-climbing

I am interested in hearing how people take their dslrs onto multi-pitch-rock-climbs. I have carried mine up in a small pack, but I end up taking hardly any pictures, since it is so cumbersome to get ...
16
votes
7answers
484 views

Light-weight emergency overnight-gear

What is a good emergency-overnight-sleeping-setup when every ounce counts, like on long technical routes (grade V or VI) where the goal is to do it in one day (without hauling), but one wants to ...
16
votes
3answers
4k views

What are common climbing techniques for strongly overhanging walls and roofs?

What are common climbing techniques for strongly overhanging walls and roofs? In order to avoid a strength oriented climbing style and focus on technique.
16
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3answers
2k views

Is it safe to cut a climbing rope in half?

I recently bought a 70 meter climbing rope from REI because it was a great price on the outlet. Last weekend I used it for the first time in the Texas hill country, where 99% of routes need a rope ...
16
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3answers
3k views

Vetting belayers at the gym?

The other night I went to the climbing gym, intending to look for a climbing partner once I got there. (My usual gym climbing partner isn't available to climb as often as I want to.) The gym provides ...
16
votes
6answers
5k views

Why do many climbers appear to not trust their belay loops?

The belay loop is the strongest part of the climbing harness, so why do so many climbers not trust it? It’s very common to see climbers backing up their belay loop with a separate piece of webbing or ...
16
votes
5answers
1k views

How to get kinks and twists out of a climbing rope?

One complaint about using the Munter hitch for belaying is that it twists and kinks the rope. After doing a full rope length rappel with a Munter hitch down a slightly overhanging face to the base of ...
16
votes
3answers
3k views

Why are indoor climbing grades easier?

This is possibly a little of a generalisation but, why are indoor grades easier than outdoor grades? Having climbed at many many indoor walls (all over the uk) and done multiple outdoor climbs (...
16
votes
2answers
2k views

When should I retire my rope

I know there is a degree of "gray" in this question but: I have a Beal Top gun II 10.5mm, I've had this rope for around 4 years now and I'm starting to think about retiring it. It's been used ...
16
votes
1answer
396 views

How should a climbing rope be cleaned?

What products and process should be used to clean a climbing rope when it gets sufficiently dirty? How would I remove as much dirt and grime as possible without negatively affecting the strength or ...
15
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5answers
2k views

Learning to fall when leading: what is good fall technique?

I'm learning to lead climbs, and I'm terrified of big falls. Part of this is learning to trust my gear placements, but a large portion is because I don't know how to fall - I've only taken small falls ...
15
votes
4answers
347 views

Keeping the things interesting in a small climbing gym

I had been a regular climber half a decade back. And, then I got off the routine. Now I am trying to get back into climbing. For that, I go to a local climbing gym kind of thing managed by a friend ...
15
votes
1answer
8k views

What's the difference between Sport Climbing and Traditional Climbing

What is the difference between Sport Climbing and Traditional (Trad) Climbing? Is it just that sport climbing uses bolts?
15
votes
3answers
6k views

Methods for taping hands, wrists, and fingers for climbing?

I've been climbing off and on since I was a teenager, but one thing I've never done much of is taping my hands. As I gained more experience, it's value is now apparent. What are some good techniques ...
14
votes
3answers
6k views

Climbing with a much lighter partner?

Both my fiancee and myself bought some climbing gear recently and we're planning our first trip to an indoor rock gym this weekend. We decided to practice our knots and belay technique before we went ...
14
votes
2answers
224 views

How to use a Munter hitch to belay and rappel?

There seems to be conflicting information on the web about how to use a Munter hitch for belaying and rappelling while rock climbing. The way I learned decades ago is consistent with Nols Wilderness ...
14
votes
2answers
2k views

How can I improve my footwork while rock-climbing?

When I'm rock climbing, I feel like I've got hand holds down as far as where to grab on and understand that the hands are mainly for balance. However, I can't seem to figure out my feet. There are ...
14
votes
1answer
524 views

Why do big wall harnesses have two belay loops?

I've been looking at big wall harnesses and I've been noticing that a lot of them come with two belay loops: I know that it isn't there as a back up. What's the advantage of having two belay ...
13
votes
3answers
289 views

Why are eye friction hitches not commonly used in rock climbing?

It seems that the majority of professional arborists favor friction hitches that are tied with a free cord rather than a loop: Blake's Hitch Schwabisch Distel Valdotain Tresse This is often tied ...
13
votes
4answers
226 views

How do I get my fingers and toes warm before rock climbing at cold temperatures?

I've had now a couple of days when going rock climbing while the temperatures are below the general comfort zone (meaning below 6 °C/ 43 °F). When starting to climb, my fingers got cold rather fast ...
13
votes
3answers
840 views

Is there a general rule for climbing runout grading?

Climbing route grades in Yosemite Decimal System can be suffixed with an "R" to notify a runout. The Wikipedia entry for a runout is A lengthy distance between two points of protection which in ...
13
votes
2answers
708 views

Toproping with two ropes joined by a double fisherman's

The other day we were waiting in line for a popular 200 foot single pitch climb in the valley and the party in front of us was using two 70 meter ropes they had joined together with a double fisherman'...
13
votes
1answer
846 views

What is a “spit anchor”?

In an English climbing guidebook about a French region, I read the term spit anchor in the general description of the equipment of the (multi-pitch) routes of some crags. I never heard that term ...
13
votes
3answers
501 views

Dropping gear: Where did the hairline/micro fracture urban legend come from?

In an answer given to this question: Micro-Fractures in Climbing Equipments, it's stated that dropping gear causing micro fractures is a persistent myth, quoting Black Diamond's statement: Q. Is ...
12
votes
5answers
916 views

Is clipping directly onto a dyneema sling safe?

I was recently doing a scramble route in North Wales. We needed to get past a large rock spike, though easy climbing, it was quite exposed and not a good place to take a fall. As a safety backup I ...
12
votes
2answers
1k views

Is there any difference between a harness used for rock climbing vs for mountaineering?

I've recently taken an interest in both rock climbing and mountaineering. Both require a harness, but is there any difference in the harness used for each activity? I understand that the most basic ...
12
votes
3answers
2k views

Backup prusik for Abseiling: Where does it go?

When abseiling from an anchor during rock climbing, I like to use a backup prusik as a potential lifesaver in case I screw up. However, I have heard different advice on where to put it, both for ...