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What’s in my climbing bag?

Program Coordinator, Rebecca Saldanha tells us what exactly is in her bag for rock climbing 

I love climbing because, in my opinion, there’s no one perfect body type for it. Everyone has their strengths and faults; small fingers help you grip onto tiny little holds but a wide arm span will give you that extra centimetre or two you need to conquer those more reachy moves. It’s a lot of fun to just watch different people climb and overcome their fears, especially newer or young climbers. Climbing is a great workout because it works so many different muscle groups but the elements of fear and problem solving help to work your mind at the same time. It’s so amazing what our bodies can do!

While working at the Toronto Pan Am Sports Centre, I would pass the wall and their friendly staff almost daily. I would tell myself “maybe next week, maybe tomorrow.” Finally, I decided I’m going to be BRAVE and try something new ~ALONE (even though that can be super challenging for me.) The environment and climbers were immediately so welcoming and encouraging. I made it to the top on my first climb! I can’t explain the adrenaline and pride I felt in that moment… I was hooked!!! 

Soon after, I got my hockey teammate into the sport and we became regulars. Spending hours together, climbing and learning from the more seasoned climbers, sometimes just staying to watch them artfully dance up the wall or play around and test our strength with silly challenges, like rock wall limbo. My climbing partner and I slowly learned how to read climbing routes together and how to support each other, mentally, on the wall. She will always be my favourite person to climb with but we live very far away from each other, so until we get to climb together again, I’ll enjoy making new friends and climbing alongside them!

Did you know? Different routes follow different colours and can vary in difficulty level based on rock placements, angle of the wall or rock types which can affect grip ability 

They say a girl’s bag says a lot about her … everyone’s tells a unique story, from the type of bag someone uses, to its organization and contents. I wanted to share my must-haves when I head to the wall. 

1.Reusable water bottle

Always need to stay hydrated. I love my handy dandy Nalgene. I usually use a carabiner to keep it with the rest of my stuff! 

2.Hair ties 

I neeeeeed my hair off my face 

3.Nail kit 

Long nails tend to hold me back from achieving my best climbs. I like to have a nail care kit handy in case I need a quick manicure before I get to climbing 

4.Climbing shoes

You need special shoes to rock climb! My current shoe of choice are the Evolv Skyhawks. They are super comfortable and were affordable, which were the two boxes I was looking to check for my first climbing shoe. I like to go no socks in my shoes but everyone has their own preference. Climbing shoes can get pretty uncomfortable if you’re in a long climbing session. It’s always a great idea to bring an extra pair of slides or slippers to wear in between climbs.


I prefer powder chalk over liquid chalk. I keep mine in this cute bag. People have all sorts of chalk bags to express their personality, I got mine from the brand Prana. It uses a drawstring mechanism to keep the chalk from escaping. Mine comes with a handy dandy waist belt which I can use to keep it around my waist as I climb but some people use a small carabiner to clip it to their belt.


I have a pretty standard women’s harness from the brand Edelrid.


Holds can get pretty chalky and hard to see. Some people like to bring a chalk brush to dust of holds so they can better make out the route and plan out the best way for them to execute it. 

8.What to wear

I love to wear something comfy and that I wouldn’t mind a couple snags in. My favourite’s are the Dance Studio pant from Lululemon, a comfy sports bra and an old t-shirt. 


After a long session my hands usually feel pretty sore. I love to put on a good balm or lotion to make sure my hands are feeling the love after all the hard work I put them through. 

10.A light low-mess snack

Climbing is a full body workout and uses up a lot of energy. I like to keep a trail mix or protein shake on the ground to keep me going. If I don’t finish it during the session I surely will on the car ride home.  

I’m always learning new things about climbing and I love that this sport pushes me to be a braver and more resilient woman. I’m so privileged to live in a community that has access to this amazing facility and encourages me to keep coming back. I hope you do something that makes you feel brave this week! 

See you at the wall!