For those of you that think of exercise and immediately cringe at the thought of those spinning machines and treadmills in a stuffy gym, try expanding your mind and the definition you use for what exercise is. While the weather’s nice and the trees are full of life, why not take the initiative and enjoy an outdoor activity like rock climbing.

What most people don’t realize is that these kinds of fun outings are just as much if not more physical activity than anything you can do inside. The best part is that when you’re busy scaling a crag-filled rock wall you likely won’t think to yourself, “wow, I’m exercising”. It’s too much fun for that.

The only difference between those indoor grind sessions and the great outdoor rock climbing sport is that when you get ready to climb a rock wall, you’d better be prepared for costs associated with the sport. It’s not cheap and that’s mainly because of the safety requirements you’ll want to see too immediately. If you don’t you’ll find yourself in a situation that might cause you great physical harm.

And so, for any newly minted rock climbers out there, the first step in your great outdoor adventure is the purchase of some new gear. Not only is that gear built to hold your weight and the pressure you’re putting on it with your weight, it must hold for hundreds of feet and hundreds of different climbs.

Finding rock climbing gear is a simple task. Any major sporting goods store will have most of what you need. You can also get online and find your gear from online outlets or wholesale and discount storefronts. The price of your gear will likely range from as low as $30 for couplings to $1200 for high-quality harnesses and tethers. Unless you’re absolutely sure what you need and what size you are, you should consider an in-store purchase first. You’ll want to make sure everything you buy fits as well as possible.

You might be faced with the decision of what kind of gear to purchase and which pieces are most important. First, everything is equally important, but one thing many people don’t pay quite as much attention to is the importance of rock climbing shoes. The grip they offer is second to none and you’ll need every bit of grip when climbing a sheer rock face and your life is on the line.

The rest of your gear is largely self-explanatory, but taking a good class and spending your time in a storefront is vital to making sure you don’t forget anything. You’ll want every bit of rope, clasp, harness, and hook you’ll need when you set out or you might find yourself in danger when there’s no need to be.

Another important aspect which has arisen in recent years when choosing your gear is the environmental impact you leave on the rocks you are climbing. There is a bit of a push of late to move to clean climbing practices by not drilling bolts or hammering pitons into the rock. These important tools have long been used as anchors for keeping you attached to that great big rock face above the ground. However, recent developments such as spring-loaded camming devices have made them less necessary.

When you take your climbing classes, make sure to ask about clean climbing and the differences from plain old sport climbing. Rock climbing is a wonderful sport that millions enjoy around the world every year. It’s effective in keeping you fit and fun all the while. However, make sure when you set out that you know exactly what you need and the effect you’ll be having on the environment in the process.