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When rock climbing[,] [“When” is a subordinating conjunction that introduces an adverbial clause. Use a comma when starting a sentence with an adverbial clause because the clause is introductory.] it is important that you have the essential rock climbing equipment to help you avoid accidents and harm to yourself.  Gear that is absolutely critical for you to have before making your climb are helmets[,] [ items in a list] a harness[optional ,] [items in a list] [This is an optional serial comma that is not used in the AP Style Guide but is sometimes used by certain clients. This is not something that will ever lower your rating.] and climbing shoes.  Although there are many other pieces of equipment and safety gear that is mandatory for climbing[,] [Introductory clause] these are a few of the most important pieces it takes to make your climb safe.

Helmets

When you are rock climbing[,] [Adverbial/Introductory clause] you are faced with terrain that could possibly have falling rocks or branches. By wearing a helmet[,] [Introductory clause] you are able to protect your head from being hit by any of these falling objects although helmets may not provide protection from all objects. [In this example, please note that a comma is not placed before “although.” Like “when,” “although” is a subordinating conjunction that introduces an adverbial clause. When an adverbial clause begins a sentence, it is introductory and thus requires a comma. It is not set off with a comma when ending a sentence. If it is placed in the middle of a sentence as a nonessential clause, it requires commas on both sides, before and after.]Although the initial contact from the object will give your body a small jolt[,] [Adverbial/Introductory clause] you will have saved yourself from sustaining any serious injuries[,] [FANBOYS: Use a comma with a coordinating conjunction when linking independent clauses.] and your loved ones will be happy that you’re safe and sound.

Harness

A harness is what connects you to your safety rope and allows you to hang your equipment that you will need throughout your climb. Without a harness[,] [Introductory] you are simply out in the open for the worst case scenario[,] which [“Which” introduces a nonessential clause that is set off by a comma.] no one wants to go through. One small slip could land you at the bottom of the cliff you are climbing. By wearing a harness[,] [Introductory] you will greatly decrease your chances of that happening.  If you were to fall[,] [In “if” statements, use a comma before “then”; if “then” is not used, use a comma where “then” would fall in the sentence] the harness would catch you.  When climbing[,] [Adverbial/Introductory clause] you should be sure to have this vital piece of equipment.

Rock Climbing Shoes

Rock climbing shoes help you to balance on small edges and grip firmly to the rock you are climbing. Without them[,] [Introductory] you will find it harder to push up on edges of the cliff[,] [FANBOYS: Use a comma with a coordinating conjunction when linking independent clauses.] and you could possibly sustain an injury from not wearing the correct attire. These shoes are one of the most essential rock climbing equipment pieces that you will need on your adventure[,] [FANBOYS: Use a comma with a coordinating conjunction to link independent clauses.] so you should be able to climb without worries.
If you plan on rock climbing in the future[,] [In “if” statements, use a comma before “then”; if “then” is not used, place a comma where “then” would fall in the sentence.] you should take note of all of these tips.  This equipment may be costly[,] [FANBOYS: Use a comma with a coordinating conjunction when linking independent clauses.] yet it could save your life.