Planning Your First Rock Climbing Trip: The Ultimate Checklist

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First and foremost, you want to make sure that you have a solid understanding of the various climbing methods you may face on your trip and be sure to plan ahead and preform an ample amount of training to prepare yourself for the trip. Every climbing method demands something different, from body strength and stamina to equipment and style, so it’s vital to fully develop your skill set, train consistently and never forget to watch and learn.

As your first rock climbing expedition approaches you should start to prepare early and gather together all the necessary gear and equipment required for your particular trip. The lists below serve as a helpful outline of gear you absolutely need, along with some stuff you should highly consider.


If you’re not properly prepared for your first rock climbing trip, planning it can seem overwhelming and stressful. Give yourself ample amount of time to get comfortable with any new gear, new climbing styles and new climbing partners. The more comfortable you are, the more prepared you will feel and the more clean you will climb.


Assemble a Team

  • Partners You Trust
  • Skill Level and Experience

Find Your Climb

  • Locate a Climb
  • Plan Your Climbing Route
  • Plan a Backup Route (in case of adverse conditions)

Packing List

Plan ahead and use a packing list in order to prevent your trip from becoming needlessly stressful or overly exorbitant. Identify the essential climbing equipment, important personal necessities and required camping gear that will meet the criteria of your trip. Be sure to look at the trip from every angle so you don’t grab too few or too many of a particular item.

Ask yourself these helpful questions, how many people are coming? What will the weather be like while you’re there? Will there be nearby sporting outlets or stores with climbing gear for an unanticipated, worse case scenario? What type of climbing will you be doing (every style requires different equipment and in different quantities)? These answers will help refine your packing list down to the essentials so you can reduce needless spending while on the road and keep your eye on the prize.

Climbing Gear

  • Rope
  • Belay and Rappel Device
  • Quickdraws
  • Carabiners – Locking and Non-locking
  • Runners – Singles and Doubles
  • Chalk Bag
  • Rope Bag

Personal Gear

  • Helmet
  • Rock Shoes
  • Harness (more than one)
  • Route guidebook
  • Daypack and/or Gear Duffel
  • Belay and Rappel Gloves
  • Hand Tape
  • Permits
  • Sunglasses
  • Wicking T-shirt
  • Shorts, pants, tights

Gear For Camp

  • Sleeping Bag
  • Tent
  • Food – On the go snacks are handy, like energy bars, gels and trail mix.
  • Water and Water Purifier
  • Skin-shielding items (hat and sunscreen)
  • Insulation – Bring along a warm vest or jacket and durable, insulated pants and gloves.
  • Rainwear – Depending on the length of your trip and the weather conditions, it’s better to be safe than sorry and pack durable outdoor clothing, like Sitka, that’s specifically designed for life in the backcountry.
  • First Aid Kit
  • Two-way Radios
  • Headlamp
  • Map
  • Knife

Now that you’ve planned out your trip and loaded up your supplies, you can relax and have fun without having to worry. By preparing for less-than-ideal conditions you can avoid unnecessary stress and eliminate distractions — like missing gear or needing to take a quick and costly trip into town — and instead focus on a clean climb and having a fun camping trip.

Courtesy TheTopTier Digital Media

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