Alright. Let’s be clear, right out the gate. I started climbing in January. Thus, I don’t have a ton of knowledge/experience when it comes to gear, but I figured if there are any newbs out there like me, you’ll be happy to have somewhere to start. And so, MY FIRST CLIMBING GEAR REVIEW!
My first pair of shoes were La Sportiva Mythos Eco. Dude, these shoes are the shit. They are so comfortable. You can go miles in them! I did a couple multi-pitch in them (which is where I think they shine— you can wear them all day and your feet feel great) and they were ace for my grade at the time (5.9-10a). I was climbing a ton over the summer and eventually blew through a toe and decided I wanted to up my edge a bit.
Enter La Sportiva Oxygym’s. Unfortunately, my experience up front with these sucked. My first two pairs de-lamed (the plastic sole began to peel off leaving a hole) within the first couple climbs and so I returned them. My third pair began to de-laminate by my third climb as well, but I was too pissed at the idea of breaking in a fourth pair.. so I kept them. The toe is pretty rough at this point, but once I broke the shoe in, well, I fell in love. Maybe it’s all in my head but I feel like this shoe gave me the extra edge I needed to push my grade (I just broke into the 12’s).
The only downside I’ve found from this shoe is in crack climbing (which I’ve only just started tinkering with) and cold days. There isn’t a ton of coverage on the top side and so doesn’t provide much protection when cranking on those feetsies. And on cold days the shoe feels like it shrinks a bit making it a bit uncomfortable. I already have wicked poor circulation when I’m cold so that extra bit of wiggle room is crucial.
So, there you have it. Big fan, aside from the de-lam.
BLACK DIAMOND PRIMROSE HARNESS
The first harness I ordered was another brand that didn’t have the adjustable leg loops, which, well, wouldn’t work. I have a small waist and big thighs. That extra inch in the legs is super crucial for me. So, I went with the classic Black Diamond Primrose. Some of my friends scoff at it because “everyone has it.” Yeah, everyone has it for a reason! The price is on point, the harness is comfortable and adjustable and so far it’s been durable as heck! It’s my first and only harness, but It’s done me good on multiple multi-pitch climbs, climbing indoor and long days outdoor. All in all I say hell yes to this harness.
PATAGONIA HAUL BAG
This. Backpack IS THE BEES KNEES. I purchased this pack after a terrible experience climbing multi-pitch with an off brand bag. I found myself at the base of a chimney about to shimmy my way up and y bag wouldn’t sit properly on my back. It didn’t have waist straps or handles and it definitely wouldn’t has sustained more than one of those scrambles. and so, THIS BAG. Patagonia literally markets it with “built with our burliest fabrics to withstand abuse from short hauls and getting stuffed in chimneys.” I was sold. And not just that, I’ve tested this bad boy’s durability and it totally lives up to it’s expectations. Plus, this colors are rad.
STATIC WAXED CANVAS CHALK BAG
Okay. I had my eye on this bad boy for ages. I’d go to REI and then leave without it.. over and over and over. A month or so ago I finally pulled the trigger and.. whomp whomp. I was pretty let down. I mean, the bag is fine. It works, and it’s durable.. but something about the waxed canvas makes it so that every bit of dirt, ever, sticks to the bag. What once was this beautiful slate grey, canvas bag now looks like a dirty mess. Like I said, I still use it and it’s functional. Just sucks that it looks and feels gross. I’m hoping long term this bag shines with durability!
And, well. That’s it. That’s my basic set up for most climbs. Chalk bag, shoes, backpack, harness. Keepin’ it bare bones over here, just the way I like it.