What to bring to a Sport meet

If you’re joining us to clip some bolts, do some moves and send a project or top rope some routes and get your first experience on rock, we've got a quick run-down on some of the gear that's useful to bring along.

If you're a club member, there's some club kit you may be able to borrow to avoid having to buy everything on day one. Check out details here: Club Gear

This page covers the essentials you need for a day at a UK sport crag, whether that's top-roping, or getting on the sharp end and leading for yourself. Fortunately this is a little shorter than it's sister page on What to bring to a Trad meet 😄 UK sport climbing might not encompass the same type of adventure that trad climbing does, but from it's generally simpler and less faff, which translates to a lighter pack and a heavier wallet.

You can pick up any of the gear mentioned on this page from any decent climbing shop, or even a local climbing wall - see the attached links, and also The Climbers Shop, Rock & Run, Cotswold Outdoor (where you get BMC discount)

Too busy/lazy/psyched to read stuff? Here's an ace video our member (and qualified instructor) Luke Hunter has put together for us summarising his take on sport gear to carry. Feel free to share it with your friends!

Stuff you always need

  • Harness, climbing shoes, chalk, helmet, belay device
  • Good-sized rucksack (e.g. 35 litres) - for your stuff, and to share out carrying all the gear

Belay device

For sport climbing pretty much any good quality belay device will do. When you're starting out, picking up a simple "ATC-style" belay plate is the most flexible option allow you to learn the basics and cover you for indoors, sport & trad climbing as well as being useful for abseiling.

Once you have a grasp of the basics, many people like to also pick up an "assisted braking" device - these still require good practice with belaying but can add a little extra security and comfort when catching repeated falls and holding a partner who's hanging on a route working a hard move. There's many options on the market, so do your own research here. Popular options include the Petzl Grigri, Mammut Smart and CT Click-Up, but there are lots of others. Reach out to other members for their input if you're stuck, but be aware you may get as many answers as the number of people you ask!

General outdoors stuff

Sensible stuff for a long day out, in any weather, with potentially lots of walking

  • E.g. Good shoes, lots of layers, windproofs, sun cream, water, food etc
  • Carrying a compact first aid kit is always a good idea
  • Having a head torch in your pack can be a lifesaver if you get carried away and end up walking out in the dark

Other gear

  • For everyone:
    • At least one 120cm sling or personal anchor system/lanyard to anchor yourself to the rock
    • A couple of screwgate karabiners to go with your sling - useful when cleaning the anchor if you're the last one to climb a route
  • If you're leading routes:
    • Quickdraws - generally 12 is sufficient for most routes in the UK. Be aware that sport-specific quickdraws tend to be shorter and stiffer than general purpose quickdraws that can also be used for trad. Both will technically work in either context, have a read around about the pros/cons of each based on the type of climbing you want to do.
    • A clipstick can be useful in avoiding dangerous falls if the first bolt is higher than you'd like. Normally one between a group is sufficient.
    • Belay specs - totally optional but useful if you find your neck aches after your partner spends 3hrs working a route
    • Rope - a 60m single rope will do you for the vast majority of UK sport routes. There's a variety available at different price points and lots of information available online about some of the differences. They can be expensive, but your life depends upon it and if you look after them you'll get many years of use out of it.
    • Rope tarp - really useful at venues that have dust and other detritus on the floor, keeping your rope clean will prolong it's life

Hopefully this page was useful for you. Assuming you're a member of the club, if you have any other questions reach out via any of the social channels and other members will be happy to share their experience and advice.

We have plenty of training courses for you to learn the right skills; and your climbing partner for the day will also share their wisdom and maintain safety. By buying your own starter-kit you will get to learn straight away and start collecting shiny new gear!