During the last few months we have been fielding many questions about the gear Ellie is using. The following is a list of gear that we personally use.
It is important to remember that climbing (like most activities) is DANGEROUS! There is no such thing as safe and we urge you to seek professional instruction as well as follow all manufacturers recommendations when using climbing equipment.
Ellie uses the Edelrid Fraggle II. When she started climbing, most kids harnesses were still too big. The Fraggle is one of the smallest harnesses available and is easy to adjust as she grows. In addition to the small fit, the Fraggle is built in a way that fits a toddler well. The Fraggle is also fully padded in order to help make climbing a little more comfortable for your little one.
There are many great options for harnesses out there. These are the harnesses we climb in. Harnesses fit people differently based on body type and we encourage you to try on various models to see which style fits you best.
The most common question people ask us is what shoes Ellie climbs in. Currently, climbing shoe manufacturers only make kids climbing shoes down to size 9 or 10. Ellie started climbing when her shoe size was in the 4-6 range so we had to get creative. We are firm believers in letting your kid go barefoot as much as possible to facilitate the development of foot and toe strength. We found some great leather soled shoes that offered protection from the wall as well as the ability to still feel and grip with her toes. The two brands we use are Momo Baby and Robeez. These shoes work great for climbing when your child doesn’t fit into real climbing shoes. The one drawback on this style is that they do where out quickly and holes can form in the front of the shoes with heavy use.
Once your child is big enough for real climbing shoes, we suggest going for them. A lot has improved in the climbing shoe industry over the last 10 years. Climbing shoes are one of the only pieces of gear that you can buy that can significantly increase your climbing ability (for kids and adults). Climbing shoes usually fit snug for optimal performance. The drawback to this is that they can outgrow their climbing shoes quickly. The bigger the shoes is on your child’s foot the more difficult it will be for your child to feel the holds and use the shoes appropriately. Find a balance when selecting a shoe so that they are small enough to work well but not so small that they grow out of them in two weeks. There are some great climbing shoes on the market for kids. Here are some of the top climbing shoes for them.
Check with your local gym when buying a belay device. Some gyms won’t allow you to use your own or they mandate that you use a specific device. Below are the two most common styles that you will see. I have always found it valuable to learn and teach on an ATC style device. This will allow you to focus on the fundamentals of proper belay technique while also keeping the cost down. The GRIGRI has some great features. The downside is that they require additional training and are more expensive. Either way you go, seek out professional instruction.