Names and Uses of Mountain Climbing Gear

Names and Uses of Mountain Climbing Gear
Depending on the type of mountain climbing you do, you will probably need a great deal of gear and the knowledge of how to use it. If you are preparing to scale a large mountain face, a few pieces of equipment you will need are ropes, harnesses, shoes and carabiners. If your mountain climbing involves ice climbing, you will need special gear.

Climbing Shoes

Climbing shoes are specifically designed for use in rock and mountain climbing. Climbing shoes come in three types: Edge rock climbing shoes, which are good for beginners as they are stiff and protect the feet; smearer rock climbing shoes, which have a rounded edge and allow a bit more flexibility; and slippers, which are excellent for getting your feet to fit into tiny crevices. But slippers are hard on the feet because they are so flimsy.

Climbing Harness

A climbing harness is used in mountain climbing to secure you to ropes and anchor points. There are three basic types of harnesses: The sit harness is comprised of a sit belt and loops for legs for added security and movement; the chest harness goes across the chest and allows flexibility in your position so you can stay upright while climbing; and the full-body harness is similar to wearing the chest harness and the sit harness. The full-body harness is good for those with small bodies that need the extra support.

Climbing Ropes

Ropes are used for support, to keep you tethered and to haul gear. Ropes are also used for rappelling. There are numerous types of ropes designed for a variety of types of climbing. They are generally single, half or twin ropes. Single ropes are the most common and versatile. Twin ropes are used in pairs and are great for alpine climbing and offer added safety. The half ropes can be used like twin ropes, in pairs, or in the half rope position where the left and right ropes are run through alternating clips, limiting drag.


Carabiners are used to connect two ropes and also to anchor a rope. Two things to consider with carbiners are the shape and the "gate" type. Carabiners are traditionally an oval shape but tend to be weaker than the D carabiner. The D carabiner is shaped so the weight load is shifted away from the gate, which is the weakest part of the carabiner. There are several types of gates on the carabiner: The straight gate, which is the most common; the locking gate, which prevents the gate from accidentally opening; the wire gate, which is thinner and leaves a larger gate opening; and the bent gate, which also leaves more room for clipping because of its bent, concave shape.

Article Written By Shiromi Nassreen

Shiromi Nassreen has been writing professionally since 2005. She specializes in travel and outdoor topics, and her articles have appeared in various print and online publications, including "DISfunkshion Magazine" and Matador Travel. Nassreen holds a Bachelor of Arts in theatre studies from Rose Bruford College of Speech & Drama.

Don't Miss a Thing!

All our latest outdoor content delivered to your inbox once a week.



We promise to keep your email address safe and secure.