Ready to give climbing a try? |

Ready to give climbing a try?

Joelle MilholmGlenwood Springs, CO Colorado

Getting started in climbing involves a lot of equipment and training, and if you are a newbie, it can be hard to know where to start. There are a number of different styles of climbing and varying levels of experience needed for each.For someone starting from scratch, it can be as simple as getting two things.”If you wanted to just get started, you could just go out with shoes and a chalk bag,” said Jon Zalinski, a climber for 15 years who also works at Summit Canyon Mountaineering.That would equip someone for bouldering, which is a type of climbing that does not require a rope and involves climbing on large boulders for short periods of time without danger of a high fall.Some climbers start with bouldering and quickly acquire the desire to get into traditional and sport rock climbing with a harness and ropes. With harnesses costing between $40-$100, ropes varying from $150-$250, automatic locking belaying devices around $80 and different kinds of carabiners ranging from $5.50-$25, the expenses can add up quickly. Most climbing gear has to be replaced every once in a while to maintain high quality and provide adequate safety. Ropes, for example, give an estimate of how many times you can fall on them before they should be replaced.”Depending on how small and skinny it is, it may only allow for a few falls,” Zalinski said. “If one is thicker and nicer, it can hold for quite a few more.”To help extend the life of a rope, lots of climbers purchase rope bags to carry them around in. With all the beatings ropes take rubbing against rock and carabiners, a bag, which also helps in transportation of the rope, is necessary for a serious climber.Zalinski said, in total, he has spent around $3,000 on his climbing gear. And that’s just rock climbing. He, like many climbers, started rock climbing but took up ice climbing for new challenges and something to do in the winter.”That’s another $1,500 in boots, axes, a helmet,” he said.For a climber going out to Rifle Mountain Park who plans to hop on to a pre-established route, they will need 12-18 quick draws, a device made up of two carabiners joined with a sling. At $12-25 each, that can quickly burn a hole in a climber’s pocket, proving that climbing is not only for the faint of heart, but it’s also not for the lacking-in-funds type, either.

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