Scarpa Eclipse ($109):
Lace up the right climbing shoe and you acquire Spider-Man's verve, able to find friction on featureless vertical and turn cracks into thoroughfares. While there are lots of deserved choices out there, the Scarpa Eclipse gets some serious nods—like, let's see, from the rock jocks at Rock & Ice magazine who voted the Eclipse "Best All Around Value" for footwear. This sticky specimen is impeccable for entry-level climbers, with a flat last that's supportive, flexible, and quite content on sport, trad, or gym climbs. The polypropylene midsole breaks in quickly, yet provides enough stability to keep your feet from flaking out on long climbs and edgy routes. For style mavens, it's worth noting that the Eclipse exudes a progressive form that doesn't shout "novice"—not a bad quality when the climbing gym is packed with hotshots half your age. At just over a C note, consider the Eclipse a "does-it-all" climber that's a steal. Contact 801-278-5533, www.blackdiamondequipment.com.
Metolius Safe Tech All-Around Harness Package ($90):
Out of the starting blocks, the Safe Tech All-Around sets you up with the no-compromise basics you need to tie up and clip in. Metolius' patented 3-D system can take credit for what's perhaps the most adjustable harness out there, which creates exacting comfort and the best-possible safety fit for men and women. Super beefy front belay and rear haul loops are thankfully overbuilt for maximum longevity, the same story with the tough tie-in points and abrasion-resistant polyester outer layer. Its sleek components and burly construction are enough to make the All-Around equally adept at trad routes, sport climbs, multi-pitches, or quick laps at the climbing gym. Contact 541-382-7585, www.metoliusclimbing.com.
Black Diamond Beal Flyer 10.2mm ($165):
Skydivers don't skimp on parachutes. Divers don't use low-ball equipment. And climbers? Well, let's just say a rope isn't the place for bargain hunting. The Beal Flyer is designed as a bridge between super-thin and classic-size ropes—an optimum blend of weight and durability that's a great all-rounder. At 64 grams per meter, the low-bulk Beal Flyer has a light feel that won't weigh down leaders with excess pounds. Handling of this mild-mannered rope is silky smooth, making it a solid year-round companion for all aspects of climbing, from trad and sport to ice and mixed. And about durability: you don't wanna worry about snags and crags rubbing your rope raw, the reason behind BD's DryCoVer sheath, which bestows an outrageous amount of abrasion resistance to the Beal Flyer. Contact 801-278-5533, www.blackdiamondequipment.com.
Petzl Elios ($59):
Forget about the bad-hair factor; cranial injuries are immeasurably more serious. Protecting your noggin from hard rock is a no-brainer, and one of the best forms of insurance is the Elios. This climbing helmet hits all the bases, being light, strong, and extremely adjustable for those hard-to-fit protrusions. Built with a high-density expanded foam headpiece on the inside of a thermo-formed outer shell, you'll have the best-possible durability and impact absorption in a lightweight climbing helmet. No worries about poor fit, either, because a single adjustment in the back and adjustable chinstrap allows for quick, fumble-free fine-tuning. Meanwhile, the helmet's ergonomic shape is sculpted to provide maximum field of vision without compromising protection (available in two sizes). Contact 801-926-1500, www.petzl.com.
Osprey Ceres 50 ($179):
There are plenty of reasons for contingency planning, especially in high places, so the smart money is on those who carry the needed (and correct) gear. With the Ceres 50 (three sizes: 2,800, 3,000, or 3,200 cubic inches), you've got a climbing-inspired pack with enough capacity to swallow the essentials, plus the on-the-money features for tools of the trade. A removable framesheet and full-length stay keep the package light and flexible enough for acrobatic maneuvers, and the framesheet can double as a small sleep pad for bivy time. Its removable floating top pocket lets you overstuff the pack if need be—you can even use it as a detachable fanny pack. And with dual tool loops, crampon patch, shovel pocket, ski/snowboard straps, and extra accessory compatibility, you've got all the exterior add-on capabilities a well-outfitted climber needs for 24-hour adventures. Contact 970-564-5900, www.ospreypacks.com.
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication