Starting your ascent in the world of indoor rock climbing? Here's the gear you need

Ever since the historic first free ascent of Yosemite’s intimidating Dawn Wall was broadcast on social media last summer, rock climbing has been having a moment. With indoor climbing gyms all over the country growing at a rate of 10% every year, you don’t have to face down a sheer granite cliff to get your intro to the sport.

Climbing gyms have basic rentals – shoes, harness, and chalk bag – but if you are serious about getting into the sport, having your own gear makes a huge difference. If you’ve ever walked through the rock climbing section of an outdoor retailer, however, you know that it is an intimidatingly gear-intensive sport. So, where to start?

Here’s Digital Trends’ guide to the first four pieces of climbing gear you’ll need:

First Thing’s First: The Vocab

Before you get started in buying your equipment, you should understand the differences between the two types of climbing offered in most indoor facilities.

Bouldering is climbing on shorter walls without ropes. In bouldering, climbers stay lower to the ground, which lowers their chance of injury in case of a fall. Each climb is called a “bouldering problem”, or simply “problem.” In the United States, bouldering problems range in difficulty per the V Scale, with V0 being the easiest, and each number up indicating an increase in difficulty.

For many indoor climbers, bouldering presents a great introduction to the sport, since all you need to get started is a good pair of climbing shoes, and optional chalk and chalk-bag.

Top rope climbing or “top roping,” is the basic type of rope-based climbing. In top roping, the climber is securely attached to a rope set up in an anchor system at the top of the climb. Mastering top roping is essential before moving on to other ropes-based climbs, such as lead climbing, in which the climber and the rope start at the bottom and ascend together. In rope climbing, each route is simply called a “route”.

The difficulty ratings of top rope routes differ from the ratings in bouldering, divided by two numbers indicating class and grade. Class 5 indicates a vertical or nearly vertical wall that requires a rope, while grade refers to the difficulty level. Rope climbing routes start at 5.1 and currently go up to 5.15a, with each increasing number and letter indicating increased difficulty.

Top roping usually requires a belay test at your local climbing gym to make sure that you can use the equipment safely, as well as a climbing harness and sometimes a belay device, in addition to climbing shoes and chalk/chalk bag.

Deals

Sleep soundly with the OlarHike twin air mattress, now 50% off for Prime Day

Is your house not big enough to accommodate more beds? What if you’re going camping and you can’t handle lying on the hard ground? The solution is an air mattress, like the OlarHike, which is available on Prime Day for only $60.
Computing

Keep your portable computer safe and shiny with the best laptop bags for 2019

Choosing the right laptop bag is no easy feat -- after all, no one likes to second-guess themselves. Here are some of the best laptop bags on the market, from backpacks to sleeves, so you can get it right the first time around.
Deals

Amazon zips $39 off the Coleman Tandem sleeping bag for Prime Day

Get premium sports and outdoor gear at heavily discounted prices during Amazon Prime Day 2019. One of the items you can get on sale is the Coleman Tandem Adult Sleeping Bag. Order yours now at only $61.
Smart Home

From calling an Uber to playing games, here are the best Alexa skills

Amazon's virtual assistant does more than you might think -- well, assuming you know how to access Alexa's treasure trove of skills. Here are some of our favorites, whether you need to order a pizza or check the weather report.
Emerging Tech

Stay up to date on Tropical Storm Barry's path with these apps and websites

Looking to track Tropical Storm Barry as it makes landfall and heads into the southeastern U.S.? We've assembled a list of the best hurricane tracking apps and websites to stay ahead of the storm, and out of harm's way.
Cars

Awesome Tech You Can’t Buy Yet: Drone lens, laser synth, and more

Check out our roundup of the best new crowdfunding projects and product announcements that hit the web this week. You may not be able to buy this stuff yet, but it sure is fun to gawk!
Deals

Prime Day brings deep discounts on Segway scooters, hovershoes, and transporters

Segway's nearly decade of experience gives its parent company Ninebot a distinct advantage over its competitors, and it has come out with some pretty neat scooters and hoverboards as a result.
Deals

Amazon Prime Day drops deal on Razor EcoSmart Metro Electric Scooter

The Razor EcoSmart Metro Electric Scooter is easy to assemble, easy to ride, and has great battery life and a top speed of 18 mph. With a Prime Day 2019 sale taking 46% off the normal price, it's now much easier on the pocketbook, too.
Deals

Amazon outdoors sale takes 50% off the Coleman Elite Montana Tent for Prime Day

Amazon Prime Day 2019 also has deals for the outdoor person. Expect to see great camping gear discounts during this event. In fact, the green Coleman Elite Montana tent is now available at half its usual price.
Deals

Amazon drops up to 40% off on Marmot sleeping bags for Prime Day

If you're planning an outdoor trip with the whole family but you still lack essentials like sleeping bags, Amazon is offering a reduced price of up to 40% off on Marmot Mummy Sleeping Bags.
Deals

Spend a day at the beach with the WolfWise pop-up tent, now 69% off on Prime Day

A good beach tent is the WolfWise Easy Pop Up tent for protection against the harmful rays of the sun. This lightweight tent is available on Prime Day for only $70. You get to save $97 from its original price of $140.
Deals

Best Prime Day Camping Deals: GoPro, Marmot, and LifeStraw discounts

Prime Day 2019 is underway. While you may have spent your time looking for the latest tech gadgets at rock-bottom prices, did you know that Prime Day is actually one of the best opportunities to score deals on all kinds of camping gear?
Deals

Best Prime Day camping deals: Marmot, GoPro, and LifeStraw discounts

Prime Day 2019 is underway! While you may have spent your time looking for the latest tech gadgets at rockbottom prices, did you know that Prime Day is actually a great opportunity to score deals on all kinds of camping gear?
Deals

Amazon’s Prime Day price on the Garmin Forerunner 235 is the best we’ve seen

We've covered deals on the Garmin Forerunner 235 on Amazon and elsewhere quite frequently, but Amazon's Prime Day deal by far beats any other price we've seen for this smartwatch, either new or used. You'll save 58% through Tuesday.
1 of 5