In the Climbing Gym for the Winter?

climbing_by_bathory_ioanaAt Uncle Sam’s, we specialize in outdoor adventures, but we know there are times when you’d rather climb in the gym. Sport climbers may prefer to get indoors when the weather gets cold, or when it’s too dark to climb outdoors by the time you get off work.

Gym climbing can also be a great way to break into climbing. You can try it out in a place where there will be people to help you, there will be beginner problems for you to start on, and you can rent gear rather than buying so you know what you want and need.

Once you know you’re going to continue climbing, though, it makes sense to buy some gear. You can get just what you want and you’ll be the only one using it. It’s also cheaper in the long run.

Gym climbing doesn’t require a lot of equipment, but you should probably get your own shoes as soon as you know that you’ll be climbing regularly. If you want to use chalk, you’ll need to buy that, too — just make sure you choose a form that your gym allows. Some gyms require liquid rather than powdered chalk.

As you get more adept, you might also want to consider an ATC belay device or gri-gri. These are small devices that help control a rope when sport climbing.  Quickdraws — two carabiners connected to each other for fast connection — are another item you might like to carry. Your climbing gym may have these devices for rent, but they may not have your preferred kind, and you’ll definitely pay more if you rent often than if you buy. However, you may find that different set ups at different gyms call for different devices.

You won’t usually need crashpads or special clothing for gym climbing. If you’ve been climbing outdoors and winter is driving you into the gym, you may need to make a few adjustments in your gear — and those little items make great stocking stuffers for friends who are doing the same!

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