Essential Gear for International Sport Climbing
Traveling internationally with climbing gear in tow is quite a commitment. A standard sport rack will easily fill a large backpack and weigh in near airline limits. You want to cut out unnecessary items, but your gear is ultimately what will keep you safe so be careful not to scrimp too much. Below we have a list of everything we brought with us for climbing in Thailand.
· 2 Singing Rock harnesses – discontinued model
· Mad Rock Chalk Bags
We will do proper gear reviews in the coming months, but in short we don’t have much to complain about. I use the women’s Nago shoes because the toe box is bigger and more comfortable than my Moccasyms. I got the Moccasyms tight like everyone suggested, but in the heat my feet swell and the pain is so severe that I can’t actually climb. Our helmets are really fantastic. Super light weight and well ventilated, we’ve tried others and these are the best. I really like using belay gloves, they enable me to feed rope out smoothly when lead belaying and are especially nice for rappelling. Nearly all of our locking biners are Petzl’s. Primarily because they have the idiot stripe that shows red when your biner is unlocked. You can glance at it and see if your belayer is ready, if the gate is vibrating loose (it happens), or if you’re safe at the anchors. Our chalk bags are terrible. They are difficult to open, don’t close all the way, and the opening could be more rigid to ensure easy access. It appears that they are discontinued as my attempts to find them have not yielded any results.
We were able to fit everything listed into our Mountain Hardwear Splitter Backpack (size large). The only thing we didn’t manage to fit was one helmet, but had we left the 60ft of webbing at home (what were we thinking?), we would have been able to squeeze it in. Climbing in Ton Sai we have used everything except for the webbing and the figure 8.
We decided to bring our 60m Edelweiss Axis 10.3mm rope. The main reason for selecting this rope was that it was what we already had. The 60 meter length has been enough for most climbs we wanted to try. There have been a few instances where a 70 meter rope would have allowed us to try routes too tall for our 60 or would have made lowering off a multi-pitch much more efficient. The next rope we buy will likely be a 70 with a smaller diameter to keep some of the weight down with either a dual pattern or a center marking.
There are many long climbs that require as many as 16 draws. We have 12 ready-made draws and 4 draws set up with 3ft slings, two of those have locking gates that we use for top roping. Our draw selection has been just right. We often put up nearly all of our draws on single pitch and have used nearly every piece of gear we own on some multi-pitch climbs.
There are a surprising number of climbing shops on Ton Sai and Railay with an even more surprising selection. If you find you need something you don’t have, chances are it is just a fifteen minute walk to the shop to buy it. A lot of the prices are pretty similar to the prices at home, though some items are more expensive. Don’t plan on buying shoes here unless you want to get old models for 20% more than they cost at home. Another thing you probably want to bring is loose chalk. The loose chalk they sell here is some mystery substance that appears to actually make your hands more slippery. Blocks of chalk are also available, but again cost slightly more. It will serve you well to bring everything you need and limit any purchases at the climbing shops.