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'Gear' in the School of Rock

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How to make a chalk bag
How to Make a Chalk Bag
If you can use a sewing machine, in 15 minutes you can custom-make your own chalk bag for about $1, using an old pair of blue jeans or any other sturdy fabric. You’ll only save a few bucks, but the stylish, personalized bag will be one of a kind. MATERIALS: 8” x 14” str...
Lucas Lombardi at Access Fund
Good nut (left): securely set in a constriction, o...
Nuts 101
When many people start trad climbing, cams become their new best friend. They’re easy to use and contract to fit a variety of crack sizes. But don’t underestimate the benefits of their counterpart: the nut. With no moving parts (hence, “passive protection”), nuts are inex...
Julie Ellison and Dougald MacDonald at Climbing Magazine
Example 1
Prevent Quickdraw Failure
The death of 12-year-old Tito Traversa, an Italian who climbed multiple 5.14s, shocked the community in early July—not just because of the tragic loss of a young life, but also because of the almost unbelievable way it happened. While warming up at a crag in France, Trave...
Dougald MacDonald at Access Fund
Step 1
Single-Strand Backpack Coil
Tired of repetitively flaking out a backpack-style rope coil before starting each new pitch? Here’s how to make a single-strand backpack coil that you can unwrap, drop, and then immediately start your lead. Instead of grabbing both ends of the rope to begin coiling, start...
Chris Van Leuven at Climbing Magazine
by Chris Philpot
The Alpine Quickdraw
You'll often carry several full-length, 24-inch slings on long rock routes or alpine climbs, to reduce rope drag, wrap around horns for protection or belays, or rig belay anchors. But draping multiple slings over your shoulders is cumbersome. The solution? The alpine draw...
Dougald MacDonald at Climbing Magazine
The perfect backpack rope coil
The Perfect Backpack Rope Coil
There are times when carrying a full pack to the base of a route is cumbersome and inefficient; plus, you might have a packless, walk-off descent to think about. You need a convenient way to carry the rope, and the backpack coil is the ideal method. This system prevents y...
SP Parker at Climbing Magazine
Passive Mode
Tricams 101: A Guide
The Tricam is a puzzling piece: It’s delightfully simple, with no active—or moving—parts, yet it has more potential uses than either a spring-loaded camming device (SLCD) or a standard nut. These metal nuggets are essentially hybrids: They can be placed passively (like a ...
Amanda Fox at Climbing Magazine
Wet-Rope Myths Debunked
By the very nature of our sport, there will come a time when you’re faced with using a wet rope. Can you safely rappel on it? Can you lead on it? Will water permanently damage the rope? Instead of making an “educated guess” in the alpine, learn the basics here to guide yo...
Alex Biale at Climbing Magazine
Ice axe point shapes
Select and Tune Your Ice Gear
In ice climbing, as in life, being dull isn't cool. A dull edge, whether a crampon point or an ice tool pick, takes more effort to drive into the ice. Blunt tools also feel considerably less secure and shatter more ice, sending debris down upon your belayer. If you find y...
Ian Osteyee at Climbing Magazine
Step 1
Low-cost Rappels on Ice
Long rappel descents, whether planned or as a matter of sudden necessity when the weather goes bad or an injury occurs, can quickly turn into expensive ordeals when you have to leave a few pieces of gear at every rappel. Plus, you might need that gear later on. Fortunatel...
Blake Herrington at Climbing Magazine
Taping up... with a twist by Chris Philpot
Better Tape Gloves
A gnarly fissure will rip the skin off even the best crack climbers. Protect your hands with a layer of tape so you can keep trying hard until your strength gives out instead of failing from pain or blood loss. Here’s how I make thin, reusable tape gloves, using two neat ...
Jean-Pierre Ouellet at Climbing Magazine
How Strong are Soiled Climbing Ropes?
The old adage “the person who steps on the rope buys beer” took on new meaning at the 2010 International Technical Rescue Symposium (ITRS) this November. We all accept that dirt reduces a rope’s strength. Presumably, grit inside a rope cuts and abrades the fibers as the...
Lee Lang at Climbing Magazine
How to cut a climbing rope
Cutting a Rope
The first 15 feet on either end of your rope gets by far the most use, wear, and friction. You’re constantly tying into that section, and, more important, the rope absorbs the impact of most falls there, so that part gets a lot of abrasion from carabiners. These parts wil...
Julie Ellison and Dave Furman at Climbing Magazine
The cam is engaged and pinches the rope to keep it...
Proper Techniques for Grigri Use
The release of the Petzl Grigri in 1991 marked a major step in the evolution of belay devices: Here was a device that assisted significantly in catching a fall, and also allowed a belayer to hold and lower his partner with little effort. Belay slaves rejoiced, but incorre...
Julie Ellison at Climbing Magazine
Bolted toprope anchor setup by Chris Philpot
Bolted Toprope Anchors
Once you start venturing outside the gym to pull on real rock, you or your climbing partner might not be quite ready to tie into the sharp end, so it’s essential to know how to set up a solid anchor for toproping. Many climbs have two bolts (or chains or rings attached to...
Julie Ellison at Climbing Magazine
Alpine anchor
Alpine Anchors
In the mountains or on long rock routes, anchor efficiency can be the difference between a comfortable finish and a forced bivouac. Using a cordelette to equalize an anchor is easy and strong, but it takes a lot of extra time to set up, and even longer to break down. Ther...
Ian Nicholson at Climbing Magazine
Personal anchor  by Jamie Givens
Personal Anchor Tethers for Climbing Safely
Traditionally, climbers have anchored to the belay by tying in directly with the rope. Now, many prefer the convenience of personal anchor tethers specifically designed for this purpose for belays, as well as for cleaning the top anchor on a sport climb or anchoring durin...
Lee Lang at Climbing Magazine
Use Your Loops Wisely
Attain Speed by Eliminating Gear-Fumbling
Successful and swift trad climbing is all about efficiency. You can’t squander minutes searching for the perfect piece, drain strength by over-gripping while you untangle runners from your cams, or waste energy by lugging up unnecessary weight. Mayan Smith-Gobat knows a t...
Leia Larsen and Mayan Smith-Gobat at Climbing Magazine
Lengthen Pro for Maximum Safety
Extending gear means clipping a long sling to a piece of protection (bolts or traditional pro), and it is a vital part of learning to lead, especially on long, blocky, or wandering routes. The top two reasons for extending a placement are minimizing rope drag and keeping ...
Julie Ellison at Climbing Magazine
Fig 1. how to remove a cam
How to Clean Cams
Getting humbled in the art of cam-cleaning is a rite of passage for aspiring tradsters. You know the story: The second, a trad-climbing newbie, fiddles with a cam for what seems like eternity before declaring it totally stuck. Welded. Fixed. Beyond saving. The more experi...
Laura Snider at Climbing Magazine
Stacking Ropes on Multi-Pitch Climbs
Stacking Ropes on Multi-Pitch Climbs
Good rope management at belays saves time and headaches. When you belay on a ledge, feed the rope into a small pile, about two feet around, as you take it in. Compact the growing rope pile with your hands or feet to keep it stacking bottom to top, and to keep it from slid...
Ian Nicholson at Climbing Magazine
Ice Climbing Swing
How to Sharpen Your Ice Tools
An ice climber with a blunt set of picks on his ice tools is no different than a sushi chef trying to cut through a chunk of fine ahi tuna with a set of chopsticks. Bad form! Ice climbing is already miserable enough: There’s no reason to make the bitter, frozen, painful ...
Andrew Bisharat at Backcountry
Protection Layout
How to Build Your First Trad Rack
Trad climbing requires a lot of gear. From cams to carabiners, nuts to nut tools, there are so many options out there that it’s hard to know where to even begin when you make the decision to build your first trad rack. There’s also the question of how much gear you actual...
Andrew Bisharat at Backcountry
Parts of a carabiner
A Guide to Carabiners
Carabiners are the unsung heroes of the climbing world. They get beat to shit and save thousands of climbers’ lives day after day, all without the slightest nod of gratitude or appreciation for their ingenious form and function. A carabiner is a loop of metal with a spri...
Andrew Bisharat at Backcountry
A retired rope illustrating the inner core and out...
When To Replace Your Climbing Rope
Rock climbing with a brand-new rope is a joyous occasion for any climber. You and your partner should revel in its fresh color, impeccable strength, smooth handling, and trustworthy protection; because sooner than you’d like, its color turns dull, it weakens, its handling...
Derek Newman at Backcountry
Photo Credit: Tommy Chandler
When to Replace Your Climbing Harness
Your harness is one piece of climbing gear that you absolutely don’t want to fail. Cams and bolts can break, but it’s still possible to survive a fall depending on what backups you have underneath you. Your harness doesn’t have a backup, and you rely on it just like you r...
Derek Newman at Backcountry
Nuts 102 Fig 2
Nuts 102
If you're well-versed in nut usage and passed Nuts 101 with flying colors, then these intermediate skills are perfect for you. First, a quick review. Nuts are passive protection devices, meaning their holding power comes from their wedge shapes, cleverly placed in natura...
Jeff Achey at Climbing Magazine
Snowy rope
Managing Ropes on Snowy Ice Climbs
Rope loses 1/3 of its strength and much of its shock absorbing capability when wet. Water squeegees out of the belay/rappel device all over the climber. Wet ropes are heavy and hard to handle. Wet ropes become useless when they freeze solid. A quick note on dry treatment...
Bryan Ferguson at
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