Storing the Gear

Photo by Jon Rou

Rock climber Carson Szarek ’16 stocks a roomful of climbing gear for trips to Joshua Tree and the Sierras.

  1. AXE: Known as an “ice tool,” the axe is used for climbing a wall of ice. “You plunge the tapered end into the ice to anchor yourself, freeing the other hand. It’s like creating your own ladder. The long handle also serves as a hiking pole.”
  2. SHOES: These are known as “aggressive shoes,” with a down-turned design for traversing boulders and overhangs. “You buy these in sizes too small for your feet, to give you the best grip. They’re painful, but they let you climb better. There’s a lot of suffering in climbing.”
  3. CHALK BAG: Chalk helps create friction between your hands and a rock surface, and prevents your hands from sweating. “Chalk can be used to indicate direction for climbers who follow you, but that’s a non-pure way of doing it. Climbing is all about not leaving an impact on the wall.”
  4. QUICK DRAWS: These are used to latch onto pre-established bolts found on a surface. “At Joshua Tree, the bolts are 20 feet apart. If you miss the bolt, you could fall 30 feet. That’s when it gets exciting.”
  5. CAMS: These spring-loaded devices are placed in a crack, like an anchor screw. A cam opens up and expands in a crack. There are various sizes, used for different cracks.
See Full Issue