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sweetchuck


May 8, 2006, 8:46 AM
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What you bring, what you recommend, and what you see…
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I’m a new leader (read: NOOB, alright). I’ve put together a decent rack, and I have read an awful lot of recommendations on what makes a good all around rack. I often hear: 2 sets of nuts, a few tri-cams (if you like them) a full set of cams and some doubles, and some hexes if you are over 50 or a noob loser (like myself). Well, that’s my rack. I don’t have quite 2 sets of nuts but one set plus some fillers, and I haven’t been bringing my hexes because I am tired of my partner laughing at me. So, I put all this on my gear sling (I can’t even imagine hanging it all on the 4 gear loops on my harness. This rack is huge, it weighs a ton, but it does get me to the top, and has enough options to make up for my lack of placement experience, and desire to sew it up. From what I have read, it’s a good all around rack. Now, when I look around at climbing pictures, I don’t see trad climbers carrying mondo racks like this. I see a lot of pictures of people with just a few cams hanging on their harness. I understand that more experienced climbers know what they need to bring, and are more comfortable running it out, but still there seems to be a huge disconnect between the ‘standard’ rack people recommend, and the sparse rack I see in the pictures. So I was just wondering who really carries the rack they recommend. Do we just not make it into the pictures because our huge rack is obscuring our tanned muscles? I’m also just trying to open a conversation about, perhaps, ways to thin down my rack a little, and maybe hear from the 5 cam crowd on how they do it. I mean, when I leave the ground, it’s not just the gear I need for the pitch, but also for the first and second anchor I need to bring. Hmmm. Well thanks for giving me a read, spray on…


jakedatc


May 8, 2006, 9:03 AM
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im certainly not an expert but not totally new at this. but the amount of gear you bring depends on where you are climbing.
my rack.. and what was basically recommended to me for north east trad. It's pretty light but still gives options.

1 set of nuts
tri cams pink,red, brown
green alien
yellow alien
tech friends 1.25,1.75, 2, 2.5, 3 (skipped 1.5 due to major overlap)

eventually i'll add doubles of mid range nuts, C4 1 and 2, and maybe #10 and 11 hex to cover big stuff (or #3 c4.. we'll see what the $ situation is)


tavs


May 8, 2006, 9:10 AM
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A few things....

1. The "recommended rack" is often the one people recommend you OWN, not necessarily carry on every route. That rack should get you up many of the routes you'll want to climb, but not necessarily while carrying all pieces all the time.

2. The "small rack" syndrome in the photos you're talking about can result from many things: a) the guy/gal is most of the way up a route and thus has already placed most of what he/she was carrying; b) the person is more experienced/climbing well below their limit/has been on the route before, and thus knows what pieces are actually needed on the route; c) the route is single pitch with a bolted anchor (so, no gear needed for anchors, can see the whole route and know what gear would be needed, etc--even among more experienced climbers, the rack carried on a relatively short single pitch will be much smaller than the rack carried for a long multi-pitch line).

3. In general, as you get more experience, you will find yourself carrying less gear at least some of the time. You'll be able to read routes better, see placements better, feel more comfortable climbing further between pieces, etc. You may also start "working" routes more like sport routes, where you're trying to send harder things, and figuring out the "gear beta" is like figuring out the movement beta, and you end up carrying only exactly what you need. As you move into harder grades, you're also more like to encouter routes that don't offer a lot of options, so there's no need to carry a lot of gear you won't be able to place anyway.

4. That said, even once you're a seasoned vet, there will still likely be times when you'll carry a full rack--when you can't see the whole route and don't have any details on it; when you're doing a multi-pitch line with a finger crack first pitch and off-width to hand second pitch, etc. For those times, all your experience as a newbie lugging pounds of gear will benefit you......so get used to feeling heavy :)


trenchdigger


May 8, 2006, 9:17 AM
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I'm afraid you're going to get the typical climbing question answer on this one... get ready now.

It depends...

I've racked up with 1.5 sets of nuts and a half set of hexes (the large end) for a 7 pitch route. My friends climbing behind us (and just as strong of climbers) carried 1+ sets of nuts and a rack of small and mid cams (probably 8-10 total). My rack weighed half of what theirs did.

Once you do start paring things down, know that you may not always have the piece that you want available on your harness. You'll need the skill to find alternate placements based on the gear on your rack. Sometimes that means climbing a bit further or possibly downclimbing. Make sure you're good at spotting placements that less experienced climbers might miss. Also, as you presumed, paring down your rack does usually mean running it out a bit more. Know when you can run it out and when you can't (or shouldn't).

What do you leave behind? Well, some of that decision may be based on previous experience or analysis from the ground or a topo, and the rest on personal preference. Are you willing to sacrifice the flexibility of cams for the weight savings of hexes? Will you skip that #5 camalot placement on easy ground so you don't have to carry the extra boat anchor? Start with a standard rack and knock off what you're willing to leave behind based on what part of the route you're willing to skip some placements.

What is the standard rack? The standard rack will usually protect the route in such a way that a fall at any protectable part of the route will be relatively short and uneventful. Take that with a grain of salt, and always consider the source of a "standard rack" recommendation. Guidebook and topo suggestions generally err on the side of safety, but some variation will be evident.

Hope that helps answer your question.


mcfoley


May 8, 2006, 9:34 AM
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http://www.rockbum.com/...ek%2006/IMG_2699.jpg
Thin down schmin down....You need a rack like this.


bill413


May 8, 2006, 9:50 AM
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ooooo....sexy!!!


vegastradguy


May 8, 2006, 10:03 AM
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tavs and trenchdigger have good advice. trophies for you both.

that said, i carried my full rack up just about every climb for the first two years or so i climbed. after that, i slowly pared it down...and am still doing so.

originally, i climbed everything with a full double set of cams from green alien to blue camalot (plus a #4 camalot), a set and a half of stoppers, and a 10 slings.

these days, i've taken some advice from those with more experience, and have pared it down to a single set of cams from purple camalot to blue camalot, two sets of stoppers, and 12-14 slings. i double up accordingly when the route is at my limit or there are long stretches where doubles may be required, etc, etc.

that said, if i have a beginning trad leader with me, i beef the rack back up to what i carried before. this allows them to sew it up, which, btw, is exactly what they should be doing as it gives them more practice placing pro and lets me critique more placements for them.

anyway, its all about mileage. also, dont let anyone laugh at you for carrying hexes- hexes are great pro and if you like 'em and use 'em, there is absolutely no reason not to carry them.


papounet


May 8, 2006, 10:53 AM
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I'll chime in with somewhat similar advice.

it depends of the type of rock, the overall difficulty, the style, the length of the route, whether you have to build an anchor...

For example, hexes are worth next to nothing in granite whereas cams shine in those parallel or flaring cracks. In some areas, tricams are worth having, in others they won't leave your harness.

In alpine style, you'll use some slings and a lot of ingenuity weaving the rope around gendarmes, and you don't want to lug around even more weight.

In adventure setting, a hammer and a set of 5 pins may go in the pack as a safety measure.

In cracks, you'll be tempted to sew it up, whereas on slabs, you'll cry for placements.

In some routes, you'll learn to run it out when at ease and double the protection just before the crux

As most said: it is best to err at the beginning on the side of too much.

Although I now own 21 cams, I rarely get to carry all of them at the same time :-(.


On a typical short pitch I'll carry 1 set of 9 DMM nuts,3 BD micro nuts, and between 7 and 9 BD Camalots .5,.75,1,1,2,2,3 (and either a 3.5, a 4 or a pair of .5 +.75 depending on what I can see from the route) on a padded geear sling

On a "unknown" routes, I'll add 4-5 nuts, 4-5 hexes, and 4-6 more friends to end up with a 12 friends set ranging from .3,.4 to 4 with doubles in .5,.75,1,2 and perhaps in 3 as well

To give you an example of the learning phase you'll probably go through:

- for a while, I carried .1 and .2 camalots together with the .3 and .4 (they have now been repalced by zeros and aliens). I foudn that I was not using them enough to mandate carrying them unless specifically called for.

- for a while, I carried micro nuts, and they have provided me with the exact reassurance I needed in some "easily-retold-as-epic-after-a-few-beers" situations to the point I'll continue to carry them if only as a good-luck charms.

Ps: Although it is easy to discover after the fact that one has carried way too much gear, it is easy to get to "call for mummy" while repeating some classic lines with a small gear set. Old-school FA may have had a differrent opinion on the amount of pro necessary.
G. Rébuffat used to recomend 30m of ropes and 6 carabiner to do most if not all of his 100 most beautiful routes in the Alps.
The jingling noises of all those climbers geared as in the latest HW catalog must be sufficient to make him turn in his grave.


saxfiend


May 8, 2006, 11:02 AM
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I've been leading trad not quite a year, so I'm still working on my own answers to the questions you asked. But one thing you might want to think about is not just how much gear you carry, but how you carry it.

For me, using a multi-loop gear sling has been a good way to distribute the load. I rack heavier stuff like large cams on my harness, and lighter stuff like nuts and small cams on the shoulder sling (so I don't end up top heavy). I'll rack tripled-sling draws in both places.

I know some people don't like using the shoulder gear slings, but I've been happy with this arrangement so far. It's nice because not everything is crowded onto my harness loops, and the weight of the gear is more evenly distributed.

JL


vegastradguy


May 8, 2006, 12:28 PM
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oh, random thought for racking.

when getting ready for a climb and the rack is unknown, but the difficulty is such that you're not too worried about it, if you're going to take doubles of a size, take 'em in the size you're the worst at. for me, this means purple camalots (ringlocks!) and green aliens (tips!). everything else i'm pretty good at, so if i have to run it out at that size, i'm okay doing that. just a thought for your consideration.


papounet


May 8, 2006, 2:23 PM
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In reply to:
oh, random thought for racking.

when getting ready for a climb and the rack is unknown, but the difficulty is such that you're not too worried about it, if you're going to take doubles of a size, take 'em in the size you're the worst at. for me, this means purple camalots (ringlocks!) and green aliens (tips!). everything else i'm pretty good at, so if i have to run it out at that size, i'm okay doing that. just a thought for your consideration.

a randow thought for you, a giant leap for me !!

thanks, you'll get a vote

Ps: it may explain why I can't stand the though of not taking those .4 .5 .75 !!


rhythm164


May 8, 2006, 3:28 PM
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http://www.rockbum.com/...ek%2006/IMG_2699.jpg
Thin down schmin down....You need a rack like this.

that is fucking HOT


tradrenn


May 8, 2006, 6:25 PM
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What I have is Hexes, Nuts, Cams, Aliens, Tricams

For Southern Ontario I take Hexes but leave Aliens at home and almost never use Tricams on lead but I find them very useful to make an anchor.

For Gunks I bring Aliens but leave Hexes at home, Tricams are useful there for anti - zipper and in horizontals, don't use them much for an anchor.

For RRG I leave Hexes at home and use tricams for anti - zipper, don't use them on lead.

For JTree again I leave hexes at home but bring Aliens and use Tricams for anyi - zipper, but I don't find them that useful on lead.

I also own 2 #3 camalots but usually just carrie one, #4 Camalot only gets used if I know that I will need it ( from quide book or other climbers )or I can see that I might.


skiclimb


May 8, 2006, 6:55 PM
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In reply to:
http://www.rockbum.com/...ek%2006/IMG_2699.jpg
Thin down schmin down....You need a rack like this.

Hawtest photo evah!!!


dutyje


May 8, 2006, 7:43 PM
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Definitely, as others have said, it comes from a bit of research and experience. Remember to take into account the fact that you're newer and you'll be less comfortable with runouts.

I just did 4 pitches a few weeks ago where a friend recommended that I carry "a set of nuts, a couple TCUs, double .75 Camalots, double #1's, and a #2".

I asked about tricams, and he said I could maybe use a pink or red. I asked about a #3 and he said it wasn't necessary. I asked about double #2's and he said it wasn't necessary.

In my paranoia, I brought along a full set of nuts, the 6 smallest tricams, TCU #2-4, Friends 1.25 through 2.5 (including all the outrageous overlap), C4 #1, double #2, and a #3.

I ended up needing the #3 as my very first piece, about 20 feet off the deck. I placed both #2's on all but one pitch, used half the tricams (including a couple large ones), placed every cam at least once (most multiple times), and didn't use nuts until the last pitch, where I placed about half the set.

This friend has a reputation for being a rather bold leader, and I accounted for that in planning my rack. I learned alot about that route, and will probably be able to trim my rack a bit next time, but I'm very glad I brought as much as I did. I also followed a "smoke it if you got it" mentality in placing gear, as I still need to get experience quickly identifying and making good placements. I'll be quite comfortable running it out a bit more next time as well.

I find it useful to inventory everything I took vs. everything I used on a climb. I actually log my "recommended rack" for my next time up a route. This experience will help provide a context for reading guidebooks and listening to the recommendations of others when I'm gearing up for a new climb.

Anyway, sorry for the long post. Just wanted to share my experiences, as it seems we have both been coming to the same conclusions. My total rack is probably about the same size as yours, and I concluded I didn't have the space or stamina to lug the whole thing up on every climb.

One last point. You mentioned you couldn't envision putting it all on your harness. I actually have found it very beneficial to not own a gear sling. I'm going to rack everything on my harness. If I've got too much crap and it won't all fit, I'll make choices at the base of the climb. It's a good first exercise in making decisions to lighten the load.


vegastradguy


May 8, 2006, 11:09 PM
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alot of good advice in this thread. dutyje's got some great points. i used to carry the kitchen sink, so to speak, but i should point out that i never once regretted taking that much gear with me up a route.

its only been recently as i have gained confidence in my abilities and skills that i have been willing to trim my rack down.

i have found that, as a new leader, its a pretty rare case that you ever take it all and wish you didnt have it....given time and inclination on most easier routes for new leaders, a climber can find a spot for just about everything they are carrying!

case in point: i once watched a new leader on a relatively soft 5.9 in Red Rock take more gear than i owned up a 50' route. On the route, by the time she reached the anchors (two bolts), she had actually placed 27 pieces of gear (yes, i counted!)....and I'd be willing to bet she was pretty damn happy about every piece she placed.

I climbed the route right after she did and placed about 8 pieces....maybe less, I cant remember now, but I do remember being amazed at her ingenuity in finding pro on the route....I also thought that she had over done it, but as a new leader, i cant argue with the philosophy to never pass up the opportunity to place tons of gear-- although, if that pitch had been twice as long, she would have been hosed. :D


tradrenn


May 9, 2006, 4:15 PM
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In reply to:
One last point. You mentioned you couldn't envision putting it all on your harness. I actually have found it very beneficial to not own a gear sling.

This is the first year that I use Gear sling ( Metolius with 4 loops ) I used to have a big mess in my pack, now all the gear is nicely organized. Draws, cordallete and spare biners are on short yellow sling. I find it to be very useful thing to have for transportation reasons ( also works well if you have to fly with your gear ) I still carry all my gear on my harness.

Dutyje has a good points, and you can always carry your gear on some sort of short sling, but again I find that to be too messy.


rhythm164


May 9, 2006, 4:22 PM
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I usually carry just my cams on a padded gear sling and try to fit the rest of it on my harness. If I take a cordlette(s) that'll end up on the sling too, just to keep it out of the way.


colotopian


May 9, 2006, 6:07 PM
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I would say take only as little as you need.


saxfiend


May 9, 2006, 7:34 PM
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In reply to:
I would say take only as little as you need.
Wow . . . now why didn't I think of that?

JL


brutusofwyde


May 10, 2006, 1:46 PM
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In reply to:
A few things....

1. The "recommended rack" is often the one people recommend you OWN, not necessarily carry on every route. That rack should get you up many of the routes you'll want to climb, but not necessarily while carrying all pieces all the time.

Often, topos will list a recommended rack for a particular multi-pitch climb.

In reply to:
2. The "small rack" syndrome in the photos you're talking about can result from many things: a) the guy/gal is most of the way up a route and thus has already placed most of what he/she was carrying; b) the person is more experienced/climbing well below their limit/has been on the route before, and thus knows what pieces are actually needed on the route; c) the route is single pitch with a bolted anchor (so, no gear needed for anchors, can see the whole route and know what gear would be needed, etc--even among more experienced climbers, the rack carried on a relatively short single pitch will be much smaller than the rack carried for a long multi-pitch line).

Another reason I haven't seen on this thread: In the climbing magazines (which I don't read anymore, except Alpinist) often the photos are staged.

The rack in these photos may have been chosen not because it is useful on the climb, but because it looked good in the photo, or showed off a particular brand of gear.

Or the climber pictured may have written notes somewhere to the effect of "after the first high-step, #3 stopper. crank through first crux. drop-knee-shoulder-scum no-hands-rest. use left hand to place 0.75 camalot under roof..." A "skeleton" rack, assembled in the order that the pieces will be placed for a rehearsed (or well-eyed) route, allows the leader to climb through the pitch with the absolute minimum of fumbling for the right piece, and carrying the minimum weight.

Whatever you are carrying for a pitch, maintain an awareness at all times of what your protection resources are: what cams, nuts, carabiners and slings you have remaining. This awareness not only keeps you from nasty surprises (when you run out of slings or fumble for a cam you've already placed) it also allows you to use your rack more efficiently: Suppose I'm in the middle of a long, 2.5" crack. I only have 2 each of 2", 2.5" and 3" cams, i.e. 6 pieces in those sizes I might reasonably expect to find placements for, in other words. If I find a section of the crack that necks down, or widen's up outside this range, or where a second crack allows, I will use a small nut or big cam in that location, allowing me to conserve the pieces that fit most of the pitch for when I have no other placement opportunities.

Similarly, if I have no other placement opportunities, I might run it out just a bit more between placements in the limiting size range, rather than placing a piece as soon as I feel uncomfortable and running out of pieces with 80 feet of 5.10, 2,5" crack left to go between me and the anchors (which btw also require 2.5" pieces!!!)

Hope this helps.

Brutus


Partner cracklover


May 10, 2006, 3:04 PM
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In reply to:
Whatever you are carrying for a pitch, maintain an awareness at all times of what your protection resources are: what cams, nuts, carabiners and slings you have remaining. This awareness not only keeps you from nasty surprises (when you run out of slings or fumble for a cam you've already placed) it also allows you to use your rack more efficiently: Suppose I'm in the middle of a long, 2.5" crack. I only have 2 each of 2", 2.5" and 3" cams, i.e. 6 pieces in those sizes I might reasonably expect to find placements for, in other words. If I find a section of the crack that necks down, or widen's up outside this range, or where a second crack allows, I will use a small nut or big cam in that location, allowing me to conserve the pieces that fit most of the pitch for when I have no other placement opportunities.

Similarly, if I have no other placement opportunities, I might run it out just a bit more between placements in the limiting size range, rather than placing a piece as soon as I feel uncomfortable and running out of pieces with 80 feet of 5.10, 2,5" crack left to go between me and the anchors (which btw also require 2.5" pieces!!!)

This is good advice! Another way to deal with this situation is with those hexes you've left in the bin in your apartment.

On a 30 foot stretch of 5.10 tenuous offwidth-smear-fests-in-a-corner, I'd flail and curse with a bunch of fucking number four Camalots getting in the way on every damn move. Instead, I'll just take one number three camalot and one number four, and a biner-full of big hexes. I'll just walk up the one that fits, and leave big hexes behind where I find constrictions. No crap to get in my way, no extra weight holding me back, and a moving TR above my head... how sweet it is! Whoever says that hexes have no place on harder climbs equates hard with thin, which ain't always so!

One other trick to not carry all that crap up with you, is to dump the biggest pieces first on the pitch. Of course, if you can't see what's coming, you're rolling the dice!

GO


norushnomore


May 11, 2006, 1:49 AM
Post #23 of 33 (4472 views)
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Re: What you bring, what you recommend, and what you see… [In reply to]
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I think hexes and nuts time is passed. Some might disagree with me but that's my opinion.

Weight argument is weak as you need 2 biners vs 1 for cam. And larger nuts are not that light. Then add a nut tool and number 11 hex to hit that tool and the fact that you need many more nuts to cover same range as cams would and you will find that with nuts you might be carring more weight, spending more time placing them and even more time cleaning.

Small cams are very light nowadays and you can have a dozen of them on you easily and not be burdened that much at all.

And if you still disagree get a couple of c3(s) and try them out. I was blown away last weekend at the new protection options they offered.

Also think of Tony, he covered 60 pitches of free climbing in one day with 12 cams and not much else

And if you are still using hexes, well, peace.


trenchdigger


May 11, 2006, 6:38 AM
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In reply to:
I think hexes and nuts time is passed. Some might disagree with me but that's my opinion.

Weight argument is weak as you need 2 biners vs 1 for cam. And larger nuts are not that light. Then add a nut tool and number 11 hex to hit that tool and the fact that you need many more nuts to cover same range as cams would and you will find that with nuts you might be carring more weight, spending more time placing them and even more time cleaning.

Small cams are very light nowadays and you can have a dozen of them on you easily and not be burdened that much at all.

And if you still disagree get a couple of c3(s) and try them out. I was blown away last weekend at the new protection options they offered.

Also think of Tony, he covered 60 pitches of free climbing in one day with 12 cams and not much else

And if you are still using hexes, well, peace.

Sport climbers... :roll:


brutusofwyde


May 11, 2006, 7:19 AM
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Re: What you bring, what you recommend, and what you see… [In reply to]
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In reply to:
I think hexes and nuts time is passed. Some might disagree with me but that's my opinion.

Weight argument is weak as you need 2 biners vs 1 for cam. And larger nuts are not that light. Then add a nut tool and number 11 hex to hit that tool and the fact that you need many more nuts to cover same range as cams would and you will find that with nuts you might be carring more weight, spending more time placing them and even more time cleaning.

I haven't carried hexes routinely for 25 years. I still carry a range of nuts. And if you're climbing on cams without a nut tool and not using slings to extent the placements, I thank you in advance for all the cams you will be leaving as booty.

Brutus

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