What clothes to wear is a difficult question not only when you’re going out with friends on Saturday night. The answers vary but they all basically lead to one conclusion – whatever you feel comfortable in.
Going on a multi-pitch journey won’t be possible without the proper clothes. The longer you’re out there conquering cliffs, the more important they become. Always leave some room in your bag for a rain jacket and an extra layer.
Pick apparel that is made of tough, functional, stretchy, and multipurpose material. Keep in mind that most rocks are abrasive with crystals and edges that can easily tear lightweight fabrics. Otherwise, ripping the knees and back spots of your pants is almost guaranteed.
The most important part about rock climbing is your ability to stay mobile. You don’t want any clothes that will restrict your movements in any way whatsoever. Wear loose and baggy pants and shirts so you can bend, step, and traverse as freely as possible.
Just like in hiking and camping, stay away from cotton materials. They will trap moisture, which leads to more serious issues when you increase in altitude and decrease in temperature. They won’t dry fast, leaving you feel cold for a long period of time.
Synthetic material clothing keeps you dry. Also, stick with lightweight, moisture wicking fabrics for a comfortable, weatherproof outfit. Lightweight synthetic clothing is also a good option for clothes when you’re trying to stay cool.
It’s not a coincident that shorts that are specifically designed for climbing are cut long enough, usually at least several inches below harness leg loops. You don’t want them to rub against bare skin.
Also, you want your skin to be fully protected from the sun. Sunscreen is not enough and you’ll have to stop and take time to reapply fairly often.
“Many climbers prefer shorts over pants, especially the loose-fitting athletic variety, though this will also leave your knees exposed to scrapes and cuts when they bang against the rock,” according to Eastern Mountain Sports (EMS). “As an alternative, choosing capris or three-quarter-length pants will offer a little more protection.”
Long pants are usually suggested for crack climbing, even during warmer days. This is a type of rock climbing in which the climber follows a crack in the rock. The knees are against the hard surface all the time. You don’t want to scrape them, especially if the rock is granite.