EQUIPMENT

Sandstone eats climbing gear so you need to consider investing in a separate set of equipment if you are a regular visitor or even just planing a trip to the area. Its not that expensive and most of it is self explanatory in relation to the code of practices on sandstone.


Static Ropes


1x 15 to 20 metre for anchoring.
1x 30 metre for climbing.

The reason people use static ropes is to minimise the amount of movement within the system and prevent excessive movement upon the rock which will in time cut into the rock and your rope. A good number of manufactures produce static rope and can commonly be found in all good climbing shops.

Whilst low stretch ropes might be appropriate in some circumstances to help reduce rock damage, it is not always safe for a climber falling above the belay. As soon as the climber is level with or above the belay anchor when topping out they are no longer top roping. They are now in a low fall-factor lead climbing position. Low stretch ropes for climbing are not considered to be appropriate for this activity. For long slings, static ropes with rope protectors should be used to avoid any stretch and cutting into the rock.

Whilst it’s a personal choice of the climber as to which rope they use, we advise to focus on the other very important protocols such as using correct rigging (long sling and a karabiner hanging over the edge), always topping out and not lowering off to safeguard the precious rock.

Slings


When purchasing a sling ensure you have a few 2.5cm X 120cm slings to hand. Thicker and more robust slings do help with the lifetime of the product when it comes to sandstone and additionally any wear can easily be identified. Generally the belay bolts are set up with the 120cm sling length in mind but make sure they are actually long enough so the karabiner and rope can hang over the edge of the crag so little or no rope movement comes in contact with the rock.

Rope / Rock Protector


Rope Protectors have two functions. One is to protect the rope from abrasion and secondly to protect the rock from being sliced into. Canvas rope protectors have on occasions added to the rubbing effect on the rock and are generally not advised. Sandstone climbers have been turning to more robust and non traditional methods such as the use of a rubber inner tubes from bicycle tires, old (or new) hose pipes, rubber based carpets or mats and PVC rope protectors (if you can find them). It's all a little in the realms of experimentation. The key is to keep the moving ropes away from the rock.

One of the best pieces of kit on the market for this purpose is the sandstone rope protector aka a plastic tube. For more information Click Here..

Knot Protector


The knot that hangs over the edge of the rock can also see its fair share of abrasion. Some climbers have taken to protecting these by using plastic bottles cut at the bottom to slide over the knots. This can work well, but care is needed to insure that there are no sharp edges for ropes to snag on.

Karabiners


For the anchor at the top for the active rope to run through it is advised that a stainless steel crab is used. The pure reason for this is so it withstands wear better over time.

Carpets and Towels


If you don't clean your boots before you set off on a line or boulder problem you won't get very far. To help with this, cleaning your boots is essential and a piece of carpet and perhaps an old towel will do the trick. Rubber bottomed door mats and cut carpets can easily be purchased from a number of household retailers/ supermarkets and carpet shops. A good number of bouldering mats now come with either stowed as part of the unit or in some cases sewn in.

Eco Balls


Metolius Eco Balls are the product of choice when it comes to bouldering and climbing on sandstone. They leave next to no visible marks on the stone depending on the amount of substance you use and if marks are left they are easily removed. The Eco Ball shows its true potential when placed in a bouldering bucket to create a excelent drying environment. They offer better friction due to the lack of chalk that builds up on your hands with normal chalk use. Eco Balls work best for bouldering and can very much hold their usefulness on many of the top-rope lines at say Harrison’s and High Rocks.

For a full product review and further information Click Here.

Bouldering Mats and Launch Pads


Bouldering Mats play an important part in protecting against ground erosion as well as yourself in the event of a fall. A number of sandstone climbers are specifically seeking out highball problems to try, and there are a number of pads on the market that are more tailor made towards this. Some companies now produce smaller "Launch Pad" products that are ideal for placing under the start of a line and offer some cushioning for the start of routes. Some of these "Launch Pads" also have a smaller amount of material to wipe your feet which is very handy indeed.

Rock Climbing Shoes and Harnesses


There is no specific kind of climbing shoe for sandstone, but people tend not to use there latest and greatest shoes, but please ensure that you do use climbing shoes and not trainers. The same goes for harnesses, your shiny new harness may not be a good idea if you're into chimney climbs. You may also see some very traditionalist sandstoners wrapping the rope around their waists instead of using a harness. The idea around this is that you don't hang around long on a route once you have fallen off.