2 min read

15 Tools Aspiring Rock Climbing Photographers Should Use

Rock climbers often seek the latest gear trends, but knowing where to invest wisely can be challenging. In this post, I share my top five most-used climbing gear pieces and how I use them for rock climbing photography, covering pre-shoot, shoot, and post-shoot essentials.
15 Tools Aspiring Rock Climbing Photographers Should Use


Rock Climbers need gear. It is easy to obsess about the latest and greatest trends in gear.

It is not always easy to know where to spend your hard earned cash and what will give you the best bang for your buck.

In today’s post, I’m going to cover my five most used pieces of climbing gear. Then how I use them to shoot rock climbing photography.

I’m going to split up my gear recommendations into three major sections.

  • Pre-Shoot: These are the best tools for pre-planning your shoots.
  • Shoot: These are the rockstar tools to use during shoots.
  • Post-Shoot: What you should use after you’ve done the work.

Pre Shoot

I use each of these tools to help me plan for my shoot up to the moment I’m actually shooting.

Weather Forecasting:

  • I use mobile apps for weather forecasting. Dark Sky is my go to and Open Snow for winter weather.

Location Scouting & Research:

  • Local Guidebooks: Most climbers already carry these. They’re awesome for scouting interesting routes and crags to shoot at.
  • Mountain Project: This often is my first stop for finding good route beta, best areas, best times of year and day, etc.
  • I use The Photographer’s Ephemeris for sunrise and sunset times. As well as paths in relation to the shoot location. Other well-known options are PhotoPills, Sun Surveyor.


On shoot day I rely on a handful of great tools. These are my absolute favorite.

  • Topo Designs Quick Pack: A durable camera bag keeps your gear organized. It also makes it easy to manage so you can move around.
  • Metolius Mini Biners: I use these for clipping gear, organizing runners, and leashes.
  • Petzl Ascender: Use this bad boy to jug up and down the rope and keep up with your athlete.
  • Sterling 9mm HTP: A good static rope is worth its weight in gold. I love and rely on the Sterling HTC for my everyday line. It is light and durable.
  • Petzl GriGri 2: This pairs with an ascender and etrier to jug up and down a route. It makes quick, but safe, movement easy breezy.
  • Peak Design Leash: I use this to backup my camera, and attach it to my ascender via one of those mini biners.
  • Petzl Quickstep Adjustable Etrier: This bad boy rocks for jugging 1-2 pitches super quick. Love this thing.
  • Black Diamond Runners: Useful for organizing rope coils, protecting gear, fixing anchors, etc.

Post Shoot

After the actual shoot day, these are the tools I use to move my images through to the next step.

  • Backup: I use two portable hard drives to backup my camera cards in the field. Then a Network Attached Storage device when I get back to the office. I’ll release a more detailed overview of my backup workflow in the future.
  • Adobe Lightroom: For post processing photos, tagging, organizing, etc.
  • Email & Dropbox: For sending sick shots to the athletes, editors, and clients you worked with.


This is the gear that I use to help me hang with the big dogs and shoot sick photos.