Climbing FAQ

Climbing Areas
Climbing FAQ
 For Beginners
 Buying Gear
 Gear Reviews
 Gear Maintenence
 Health and Training
 Home Gyms
 Ice Climbing
 Aid Climbing
 Advanced Topics


Best of Rec.Climbing

About Tradgirl
Table of Contents
DYNO [For Beginners] [Buying Gear] [Gear Maintenance] [Locations/Partners] [Safety] [Toproping] [Leading] [Health and Training] [Home Gyms] [Mountaineering] [Ice Climbing] [Aid Climbing] [Advanced Topics] [Rec.Climbing] [Miscellaneous]
IMPORTANT DISCLAIMER:  Trusting your life to something you read on the internet is just plain stupid.  Get corroboration from a more reliable source, use your common sense, don't get yourself killed, and don't come crying to us if you do.

For non-climbers or beginners

I just read Into Thin Air.  What should I read next?
So-and-so just died.  How can you justify participating in such a dangerous sport? / How can you climb if you have children?
What does "sport" mean?  What does "trad" mean?
What does [climbing term] mean?
How do I get started climbing?
Can I learn to climb if I'm afraid of heights?
What do the numbers mean? / How are climbs rated?
How can I climb better? (for beginners)
How do I tie a [whatever] knot?
How do I coil my rope? Should I use a mountaineer's coil or a butterfly coil?
Should I let a faster party pass?

Buying Gear

What rock shoes should I buy?
Where can I find extra-large shoes to fit my big feet?
What quick draws should I buy?
What rope should I buy?
Where can I buy cheap gear online?
Why should I buy climbing gear from my local store?
What should I buy for a beginner's rack?
What bouldering pad should I buy?
Which fingerboard or hangboard should I buy?
Should I buy slung hexes or wired hexes?
What should I use to make a cordelette?
How does buying stuff from Barrabes work if I live in the US?
What cams should I buy?
Which helmet should I buy? / Should I get a foam helmet or a hard shell helmet?
Which harness should I buy?

Gear Reviews

Where can I find reviews for climbing and mountaineering equipment?
What do people think of shoes from
What do people think about Rock Empire cams?
Should I buy a Petzl Tikka headlamp?
Is the Petzl Reverso a useful device? / How do I use it?
What are Petzl Tiblocs good for?
Should I add CCH Hybrid Aliens (offset Aliens) to my rack?

Gear Maintenance

How do I get the smell out of my shoes? / How do I clean my shoes?
Where should I get my shoes resoled?
How can I resole / repair my shoes myself?
My new shoes are too tight. How can I stretch them?
How do I wash my rope?
How do I mark the middle of my rope?
What can I do with my old rope? / How do I make a rope rug?
How do I clean gear like biners and cams?
What's the best way to mark my gear?
How do I sling my hexes?
How do I clean the tubes for my water bladder? (Platypus, Camelback, etc.)
How do I resling my cams?
Where should I get broken trigger wires repaired?
How do I make my own replacement trigger wires?

Locations and partners

Where can I find a climbing partner?
How do I find/keep a mentor?
Should I date/marry a non-climber?
How do I get my non-climbing SO to start climbing?
Should I date my climbing partner? / Should I climb with my significant other?
How do I talk about climbing in a foreign language?
What happened to Rock 'N Road?
Where can a 5.8 climber go on a road trip?
What will the weather be like at [place] on [date]?
Is there a climbing gym in my area?
I'm going to Hawaii. Is there any climbing there?
I'm going to [place].  Is there any climbing there?
Should I rap or walk-off from Royal Arches? / How do I do the North Dome Gully (NDG) descent?
Where's the best place for a climber to go to college?


When should I retire my rope?
Is it safe to use dropped gear? / Is it safe to buy used gear?
Should I wear a helmet? / Why don't people wear helmets?
Can I use a [whatever] helmet as a climbing helmet?
What should I use to backup my rappel?
I dropped my belay device. How do I belay and rappel without one?
Should I tie stopper knots in the ends of my rap ropes? If so, how?
Should I tie in with a bowline or a retraced Figure 8? / Is it safe to tie in with a bowline?
How do I clip a bolt to minimize the possibility of self-unclipping?
How do I belay safely with a Gri-Gri? / How can a Gri-Gri fail?
What should I do if my tri-cams need new slings?
Should I belay off my belay loop or should I use the waist and leg loops?
Should I anchor in when belaying a leader?
What knot should I use to tie webbing? / What are the safety concerns when using water knots?
Is it safe to use a girth hitch (aka lark's foot) and what are my other options?
Will using a magic marker to mark my rope weaken it?
Should I use a sliding x knot to equalize two pieces?


What do I need to set up topropes outside? / How do I get started?
Should I use webbing or static rope for my toprope anchor?
What should I use to pad a sharp edge?
Is it safe to toprope on static rope?
How do I set up a toprope so that it's equalized correctly?
How do I toprope a route that is longer than half a rope length?
How do I carry and store large lengths of webbing?
How can I get hurt while top-roping? (avoiding common errors)
I'm going to [place]. What can I toprope there?


When should I start leading?
How do I learn to lead on gear?
Should I be falling while leading on gear?
What do I need to know to be a good trad leader? (the whole package)
How do I get over my fear while leading? / Is anyone else afraid?
Should I carry tri-cams?
Should I carry hexes?
How do I rack long slings?
How much gear should I place? / When should I run it out?
Should I rack on a gear sling or on my harness? / How should I organize my rack?
Should I place tri-cams with the point (stinger) up or down?
Will a bad piece "slow me down"? / Should I bother placing psychological protection?
Should I carry a nut tool while leading? / How do I rack my nut tool?

Health and Training

Should I get laser eye surgery (if I'm planning to climb at altitude)?
Should I wear contact lenses or glasses at altitude / in extreme cold weather?
What exercises can I do to help prevent injuries?
What training program should I use to get stronger?
How should I stretch? / Should I stretch?/ When should I stretch?
Help! I've been injured. What should I do?
How can I recover from my injury faster?
How can I keep my hands from sweating so much?
How do I tape for crack climbing?
Is it OK to use Superglue or Crazyglue (cyanocrylate-based glue) to repair minor finger injuries?
How do I prevent flappers?
Does taking glucosamine help?
Will taping help protect me from finger injuries?

Home Gyms

How do I build a home climbing wall / bouldering cave?
How do I build a crack machine?
What should I paint my home climbing wall with to provide friction?
How can I make my own holds? / How can I get holds cheap?
Where can I buy holds online?
Where can I buy cheap t-nuts?
How do I clean my holds?
What should I use to cushion my fall? / How can I self-belay on my home climbing wall?
What training program should I use with my home climbing wall?
How do I build and use a finger board, hang board, campus board or HIT strips?
How do I make a glue-up? / How do I glue holds to concrete?
How can I turn a tree into a climbing wall?


All Denali (Mt. McKinley) questions
All Mt. Rainier questions
All acclimatization and altitude-related illness questions
How do I get started mountaineering? / Is mountaineering for me?
What size shaft should I get for my ice axe?
All avalanche questions

Ice Climbing

Is ice climbing for me? / How do I get started?
How do I sharpen my tools and crampons?
How do I make a home ice wall?
What are current ice climbing conditions at [place]?
What should I use for eye protection / a helmet?
Which boots should I buy?
Which crampons should I buy?
Which ice tools should I buy?
Which screws should I get? / How do I place ice screws?
What about titanium ice screws?
What gloves should I wear while ice climbing?

Aid Climbing

Are aid climbers really climbers or just lunatics without talent? / Is aid climbing for me?
How do I get started aid climbing?
Where can I practice aid climbing locally? (US only)
Which aiders should I buy? / How many aiders should I use?
Should I use the "new" Russian aider system?
Which ascenders should I buy?
Which portaledge should I buy? Should I buy a single or a double?
How are aid climbs rated?
What's the most efficient way to work as a three person team?
Does this route go clean?
What harness should I buy for big walls?
What should I wear for shoes while aiding?
How do I jug (ascend the rope)?
What should I use as a backup while jugging?
How do I get the rope to feed smoothly through the lower ascender after tying in short?
Everything about hooks (slinging, racking, using) with an emphasis on cam hooks

Advanced Topics

What knot should I use to join two ropes for rappel? / Is the EDK really a "death knot"?
How can I climb harder? (for experienced climbers)
What are twin ropes, double ropes, and half ropes and how do I use them?
What should I buy/carry for a second rope?
How do I belay two seconds simultaneously? / How can we climb efficiently as a party of three?
How do I top-rope self-belay?
How do I self-belay on lead?
All bolting questions
How do I prevent injury to the leader on overhanging routes by providing a dynamic belay?
How do I make a harness out of webbing or rope?
How do I use Tiblocs to protect the leader while simul-climbing?
When, where, and how should I pass a slower party?


What is rec.climbing? / How can I read it?
Is there an official rec.climbing FAQ?
What does this acronym (e.g. HTH or YMMV) mean?
Why is Lord Slime being mean to me?
What the hell is wrong with you people? (rec.climbing culture explained)
Why did everyone react like I'm an ax murderer when all I did is ask a simple question about Tiblocs?
What are the alternatives to rec.climbing?
What if my question isn't answered here?


Where did the word "beta" originate from?
Where can I find climbing related graphics on the web?
All GPS questions
All photography/camera questions
Where can I learn more about the history of climbing?
Where can I find non-leather rock climbing shoes?
What you didn't ask but we wish you would.
What movies having climbing scenes and are they any good?
What is slacklining and how do I do it?

Most of the information in this FAQ was originally posted on rec.climbing. If you would prefer to have something attributed to you removed from this FAQ, please contact us.

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