What type of climbing will you be doing?

female climber climbing a wall

You have stumbled upon the world of climbing. It’s exciting, scary, and thrilling, and you cannot wait to start. But it’s not as simple as throwing on tennis shoes and an athletic outfit and rolling to the nearest indoor climbing gym. Yes, you could rent climbing gear, but if you’re serious about starting to climb routinely, here’s the essential equipment you’ll need to get started.

The Basics

Climbing Shoes

climbing shoes

There are plenty of climbing shoes and brands to choose from. However, climbing shoes can get pretty pricey. For your first pair, don’t spend more than $100. You’ll find plenty of good-quality entry-level shoes for less than that.



If you only intend to boulder (short-wall, no-rope climbing), you can forgo a harness for now and pick one up down the road if you venture into rope/sport climbing. There are many top-quality brands, including Petzel, Mammut, Arcteryx, and Black Diamond. However, if you come across another brand or harness you like, double-check it’s listed on https://theuiaa.org/ gear directory. If it is UIAA approved, the gear has passed numerous safety tests before being considered acceptable.

Chalk and a Chalk Bag

chalk bag

While some (crazy) climbers never use chalk, chalk is your best friend when your hands are sweaty, or the holds feel extra slick. Hot, humid summer days are a climber’s worst enemy. There are two forms of chalk: liquid and powdered. As long as your local gym doesn’t require liquid chalk only, powdered chalk is usually cheaper and easier to find for a reasonable price. Not all climbing chalks are made equal – see some top recommendations below!

Optional Belay Device

climbing rope

If you intend to rope-climb (top-rope or sport), having your own belay device will be useful in trading belays with a climbing partner. The two belay devices we recommend are the Edelrid Jul and the Grigri.

What’s the Difference?

Edelrid Jul – This is a passive assisted braking belay device that can be can be used as both a traditional tube device and an assisted braking device. It’s less expensive than a Grigri and can be used for rappelling once you take your skills outdoor.

Grigi – The more expensive and high-end belay device (all the ‘cool kids’ have a Grigri). The retail price is approximately $100, which is a more significant investment. The biggest difference is that the Grigri is an assisted braking belay device, offering extra protection.

If you begin to shop for the three basic pieces of climbing gear but find yourself overwhelmed by the options, check out some popular and trusted options below!

Climbing Shoes
  • Scarpa Origin
  • Tenaya Tanta
  • La Sportive Tarantula
  • Petzl Sama
  • Mammut 4-Slide
  • Edelrid Jay/Jayne
  • Powder Chalk – Friction Labs or Chalk Cartel
  • Liquid Chalk – Secret Stuff by Friction Labs

Quick Tips:

InspireROCK members get the best deals with a 10% discount on all the items in our pro shop.  It’s always better to purchase shoes and harnesses at our shop so a professional can help get you sized correctly.

We hope this climbing gear intro helps make the entry into climbing less daunting and even more exciting! Let us know what gear you decide on in the comments below.