Climbing gear (like food or income tax) is just another one of those expensive life necessities. Other than a sponsorship or scouring a bunch of classic 5.7’s after a holiday weekend, there aren’t many ways to score free gear. Luckily though, once a year, we have the Holiday season to help strong arm and coerce loved ones into getting us the gear we so desperately need. However, not all climbers are the same! Give a set of hexes to a boulderer and there’s a good chance he’ll just choke on them. So if you don’t know anything about climbing, maybe this can help you. However, If you’re already a veteran of the craft, this can help you beef up your ever-growing Christmas list.
Great Gifts for a Boulderer
Of the four main climbing disciplines, bouldering requires, by far, the least amount of gear. Therefore, chances are they already have everything they need. If they don’t though, here is what climbing gear I recommend:
No boulderer is complete without their own mobile mattress. Therefore, chances are they already have one. But the addition of an oversized pad like the Black Diamond Mondo, or a smaller supplemental pad such as a Metolius Shortstop could complete their set and save their ankles!
Climbers can be superstitious about their brushes, so tread carefully here. I know I wouldn’t turn down a fancy Sublime Climbing nylon brush though. And if you want to help someone stock up you can’t go wrong with a Mammut Boulder Brush set as well.
If you have a bit of arts and crafts talent I would recommend the Mammut Stitch Boulder Bag. It comes with a set of embroidering tools and is ready for you to customize it to whatever you want. Giving you a great chance to make an unforgettable gift!
Also known as a bouldering helmet. No boulderer is complete without their lucky sending cap! You can get fancy and knit your own or find out his or her favorite company and buy ‘em a head sock to match it.
Shopping for Sport Climbing
Sport climbing is where the sport starts to get a bit more expensive. In addition to most of the climbing gear a boulderer would want, sport climbing also requires carabiners, quickdraws, harnesses, helmets, and a rope. Here are some of my favorites:
There isn’t a sport climber alive that would complain about getting a brand new Arc’teryx FL-365. Arc’teryx is known for making great (but also expensive) gear. That’s what makes it great for gifting, since we all want it but can’t justify buying it.
In my opinion, two draws take the cake: The DMM Alpha VW Sport and the Edelrid Bulletproof. The DMM’s giant bend and notoriously smooth gate make it an absolute dream to clip while the Edelrid has a steel plate that will extend the life of the draw and keep your rope from turning black (it also clips smoother than a babies butt).
Sport climbing typically means short(er) approaches and more falling. This equates to a beefier rope. The Sterling Evolution Velocity has been a constant performer in the category. However, for $40 less, you can get a Bluewater Lightning Pro that may be just as good.
For sport climbing, you want a light helmet that protects side impacts as well as top. The Petzel Sirroco and Mammut Wallrider are slowly taking over in the helmet world. If needed, you can find a lot more info on helmets here.
This is a thoughtful gift, and if you aren’t a climber yourself, it will really show that you did your research! For a quick TR/sport anchor, buy two long dogbones and equip one with a Bulletproof locker and a normal locker. Euip the other with a normal locker and a Bulletproof bent gate non-locker. This is so the next person can either top-rope or pull the rope and lead it without having to fumble with a locked biner at the end.
Buying Gear for Trad Climbing
This is where climbing gear becomes exceedingly expensive. Traditional climbing protection is often times purchased second-hand (the humble beginning of my rack) and cherished for as long as possible. It’s not uncommon to see people still placing (semi-sketchy) nuts and cams from the ’90s that have been re-slung a dozen times. Want to show somebody you care? Here is some of my favorite gear for any trad rack:
Spring Loaded Camming Devices (Cams)
Personally, I’m in love with the Black Diamond Camalot Ultralights and I doubt there is a single trad climber in the world who would be upset about getting a rack of them. Which is why they aren’t cheap. Other than Ultralights, I would also highly recommend Totem Cams. Specifically a Black Totem (it’s a pin scar master and hard to find).
DMM is the king of passive protection. The DMM Alloy Offsets come up with me on damn near every climb. I can’t praise them enough. You can also complete the set with a rack of DMM Offset Peanuts (coincidentally, this is what Lauren got me for Christmas last year).
Again (since hexes are passive) DMM reigns supreme. DMM Torque Nuts not only sport an extendable sling, but they can also be used to protect parallel cracks. That’s right, hexes so good that you can leave the cams behind! #ultralight
Speaking of ultralight, reducing the weight of all your biners is a quick way to shave half a pound from your rack. I changed all my cam and alpine biners to the Black Diamond Oz’s. At 28g, it is NOT the lightest carabiner. But it IS the lightest with a snag-free keylock.
When it comes to traditional climbing, I prefer my rope to be a bit thinner. I’ve recently fallen in love with the Sterling Fusion Nano IX 9.0. I’ve taken it over 10,000 feet so far and haven’t had a single complaint.
Just Give us Love and Support
Having all the climbing gear in the world doesn’t mean much if you don’t get to use it. We are all well aware that climbing can drag you away from loved ones for an extended period of time or cause stress on family members due to its risky nature. So other than just a beautiful set of DMM Torque Nuts, give us support and motivation. It’s a lot easier to bear down on the 20th pitch of a climb or 5th hour of a descent when you know your loved ones are on your side.
I hope everyone gets a chance to take advantage of the Holiday temps and go out and climb! From the bottom of our hearts, happy sending and Merry Christmas from the Dirtbag Beta tribe!
P.S. We will be in Red Rock for the majority of the Holiday season and El Potrero Chico after, feel free to contact us for some climbing!