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Chalk Bag & Ball (starting at $25)

And finally, chalk bags and chalk balls are an easy way to improve climbing. Chalk (magnesium carbonate) is used to prevent sweaty hands and in-turn improve grip. Chalk bags are worn around the waist or clipped to a harness and the chalk ball helps contain the dust and mess. These items are available for purchase at the gym.

Harnesses (starting at $60)

Simple auto-belay harnesses are available for use at Aspire. But function and safety are prioritized above comfort. With a padded harness, your climber will be more comfortable to allow greater freedom of movement. Choosing a harness starts with the waist measurement. Select a size that’s within the recommended size range. Don’t buy too large because the leg loops will be too big. Ideally trying a harness on is the best way to ensure proper sizing and fit. 

Here is How to Fit a Climbing Harness guide from MEC.

Black Diamond Climbing Harness
Black Diamond Climbing Harness
Petzl Climbing Harness
Climbing Shoes (starting at $65)

There are many types of climbing shoes available. For youth climbers in the School of Hard Rock, you can expect to pay $65-$140 for climbing shoes that fall into the neutral category. As climbers progress in the sport, moderate to aggressive models may be more appropriate but reserve these expenses to the Vanguards (advanced) level or higher. See the bottom of the page for recommended retailers.

Here is a complete How to Choose Climbing Shoe guide from MEC.

Climbing profile comparison image

Getting Started

Welcome to the fall season of the School of Hard Rock. To prepare you and your child for the season to come, we would like to provide you with information regarding climbing gear, and investing in comfort and performance.


As with most sports, there is some specialty gear involved and climbing is no different. Fortunately, the investment is reasonable compared to other sports and it only takes a few key items to complete the kit. In order of importance;

  1. Climbing shoes

  2. Chalk bag & chalk ball

  3. Harness

Young climber at Aspire Climbing Gym in Milton Ontario


Here's what you need to know to get started in climbing. 

Local Retailers

Here are the local retailers we recommend for climbing gear purchases. Don't buy climbing gear on Amazon. Proper fit and sizing can only be done in person.

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