rock climber smiling about an undercling jug, wearing layers of technical clothing

How to Dress for Rock Climbing

Reading Time: 2 minutes
If you’ve ever ripped your pants on a high step or a brush with sharp rock, dealt with bulky pockets that repeatedly got caught on your harness, or missed a foothold because you couldn’t quite see it past your loose jacket – then you can appreciate the importance of good rock climbing clothing.  For comfort while climbing, you’ll want to wear clothing that offers mobility, durability, a close fit, harness compatibility, and moisture-management. Read on about how to dress for rock climbing to avoid the previously mentioned mishaps and many others while you’re on the rock
When you get to some reachy moves, the last thing you want is for your clothing to hold you back. Stretchy materials and/or articulated designs are key for comfort and mobility while climbing.
I’ll admit that sometimes I just wear stretchy clothing to climb in, mostly in hot weather, while worrying less about durability. Because of this, I end up with worn out spots on my favorite leggings and annoying scratches on my legs. But I also continually sing the praises of my Marmot Scree Pants, which offer great flexibility and amazing durability – you can have it all! Wearing these durable climbing pants is definitely a good confidence boost to help me feel un-hesitant to knee bar.
Fit and Harness Compatibility
Your climbing clothing should help you out, not get in your way. Closer fitting clothing is better than loose, bulky attire which can block your vision when you’re craning your neck to look for foot holds. Low profile pocketing and other details make for climbing clothing that won’t snag on your harness or the wall.
Climate Control
It’s important to keep in mind the variation in energy exerted during a typical climbing outing. Climbing and bouldering are pretty high output activities, but unless you have impressive endurance and no regard for your climbing buddies, you’ll also be doing at least as much belaying, spotting, or spectating / beta suggesting, which are much lower output activities. To avoid getting the shivers because you were sweaty after a climb and then cooled down too much while standing still, the key is layering.
You want to wear moisture-managing first layers, to prevent your perspiration from chilling you too much after going from performance to resting. And if it’s not a hot day, you’ll want to have extra layers to pull on for while you’re belaying, spotting, or just hanging out between climbs. Depending on the conditions, I’ll layer a combination of a fleece top, a softshell jacket, a down puffy coat, and a fleece lined hat.  Having a combination of baselayers, midlayers, jackets, and a hat can make all the difference when the sun starts to set and the temperature drops, and you still need to hike back to the car.
For all of your climbing apparel needs and to find out some of our favorite climbs around Park City, head in to White Pine Touring and talk with one of our Experts.
Kendall Fischer, Content Writer