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trisgo


Nov 16, 2014, 7:06 PM
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Should someone learn hexes before cams?
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I have my opinions on this, but I'm curious to hear others. Do you think it's important for someone new to trad to learn how to place hexes before learning how to place cams?


(This post was edited by trisgo on Nov 16, 2014, 7:07 PM)


6pacfershur


Nov 16, 2014, 8:50 PM
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Re: [trisgo] Should someone learn hexes before cams? [In reply to]
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hexes are useful in some situations and inexpensive; go ahead and monkey around with them a bit.


JimTitt


Nov 16, 2014, 11:41 PM
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Re: [trisgo] Should someone learn hexes before cams? [In reply to]
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A climber should be competent at using all the protection options available, then fling their hexes into box to gather dust along with that fig.8.


Partner camhead


Nov 17, 2014, 6:00 AM
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Re: [JimTitt] Should someone learn hexes before cams? [In reply to]
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To paraphrase a middle school band teacher's comments about the Alto Clarinet, "Hexes make better lampshades than protection. And they make terrible lampshades."

No seriously, there are a few spots where hexes would conceivably be the best (or even only) protection options, but in 15 years of climbing in many different places I've not found those spots. Your time and money would be better spent learning about and buying stoppers, cams, and tricams.


granite_grrl


Nov 17, 2014, 7:37 AM
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Re: [camhead] Should someone learn hexes before cams? [In reply to]
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camhead wrote:
No seriously, there are a few spots where hexes would conceivably be the best (or even only) protection options, but in 15 years of climbing in many different places I've not found those spots. Your time and money would be better spent learning about and buying stoppers, cams, and tricams.

The Niagara Escarpment in Ontario is good for hexes (especially since cams can rip out fairly easily unless they're in a good pod). But other than that I don't bother.

There are other places I've climbed where they would work fairly well too, but since cams don't tend to rip out of the rock as easily I don't bother with the hexes.

Edited to add - Niagara Escarpment is limestone


(This post was edited by granite_grrl on Nov 17, 2014, 10:12 AM)


dagibbs


Nov 17, 2014, 9:31 AM
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Re: [trisgo] Should someone learn hexes before cams? [In reply to]
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I tend to use hexes as large, relatively light, passive gear -- essentially as big nuts -- and find them valuable for this. To learn the ins-and-outs of placing them actively (cammed) is probably not needed, for that sort of placement just use an SLC or tricam.


sbaclimber


Nov 17, 2014, 9:40 AM
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Re: [trisgo] Should someone learn hexes before cams? [In reply to]
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trisgo wrote:
I have my opinions on this, but I'm curious to hear others. Do you think it's important for someone new to trad to learn how to place hexes before learning how to place cams?
Short answer, no.
Long answer, I 5-starred Jim's post. Wink
Passive protection is passive protection (unless your placing knotted slings...). If you know how to place a nut, you'll be able to figure out a hex.
....you'll probably never be in the position to actually *need* to though.


(This post was edited by sbaclimber on Nov 17, 2014, 9:52 AM)


Partner cracklover


Nov 17, 2014, 11:40 AM
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Re: [trisgo] Should someone learn hexes before cams? [In reply to]
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It's kind of a weird question the way you ask it - Should climbers learn to place hexes before they learn to place cams. As though placing hexes might, somehow, help you learn to place cams. So the answer to that question is no. There is nothing about placing a hex that will help you place cams.

With that said, I believe that it's very worthwhile to learn to place hexes, nuts, and cams (and tricams if you climb somewhere where they're useful) when you're starting out. All of these are useful, and all place somewhat differently. Then, if you decide you only want to carry X, Y, or Z, fine - sell the others, or leave them in a bin.

Personally, I like hexes, and carry them more often than I carry tricams. I'm going to disagree with Camhead and say that I find quite a few placements that are better hex placements than cam placements. Nearly always these are on 5.9 and easier climbs. And more often in corners than splitters. And occasionally in horizontals.

If I may be running pitches together and want a bigger rack, or if I know to expect a lot of larger pieces, I'll often bring hexes as a second or third piece in the larger sizes.

I know mine is not a popular viewpoint, so I could give several examples if anyone wants data to back up my claim.

GO


tomcecil


Nov 18, 2014, 9:51 AM
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Re: [cracklover] Should someone learn hexes before cams? [In reply to]
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I agree with everything Cracklover said---I also think you can tell an experienced climber because they carry Hexes. Like any protection the more experience you have with any particular type of pro the more valuable that gear will become to you as a lead climber. When you are learning to lead you are vulnerable because of your lack of experience--with a lack of experience the last thing you want is a lack of gear to place, your best defense is to 'carpet bomb' the crack, backup your backups...Hexes are light, relatively inexpensive and over and over again proven to be more secure than cams. I can tell you in the last 30 years of guiding here at Seneca and 40+ rescues we've helped with many were from cams pulling always (user error, the cam had moved after the leader climbed by, this is a lack of experience mistake), I cant remember any accidents from hexes pulling and yes people, lots of people use Hexes here... Hexes are simpler--simple is better.
If you are in Yosemite or Indian Creek I agree Hexes probably have limited use (even though I used many on the Nose) . I would recommend all new leaders consider at least one set of Hexes #4 through #11.


JimTitt


Nov 18, 2014, 10:15 AM
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Re: [tomcecil] Should someone learn hexes before cams? [In reply to]
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tomcecil wrote:
I also think you can tell an experienced climber because they carry Hexes.

Shit, Im a noob!


caughtinside


Nov 18, 2014, 10:48 AM
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Re: [JimTitt] Should someone learn hexes before cams? [In reply to]
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no


markc


Nov 18, 2014, 11:21 AM
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Re: [trisgo] Should someone learn hexes before cams? [In reply to]
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Cams are likely older than the majority of climbers starting to trad climb. Intentionally starting all-passive seems like pretty dated thinking. Whether cams find a temporary or permanent place on your rack is a matter of personal preference. That said, I think it's a good idea to be familiar with them.

I admittedly climb mostly easy to moderate traditional routes. I started my rack on a tight budget, starting with nuts, hexes, bargain-basement cams, and a couple tricams. I got multiple hexes for the price of one cam, which gave me redundancy in bigger sizes at a reduced weight. Placing hexes on easier ground or at the anchor saved active protection for more difficult or run-out sections. As Tom said, it also let me sew things up when I was learning. Even if I don't bring them on every climb, they've served me well over the years.


sbaclimber


Nov 18, 2014, 3:49 PM
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Re: [JimTitt] Should someone learn hexes before cams? [In reply to]
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JimTitt wrote:
tomcecil wrote:
I also think you can tell an experienced climber because they carry Hexes.

Shit, Im a noob!
6 beers in (<=me, right now)..."damned right you punter, you don't know 'nothin 'bout passive pro!" Tongue


JimTitt


Nov 18, 2014, 11:42 PM
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Re: [sbaclimber] Should someone learn hexes before cams? [In reply to]
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sbaclimber wrote:
JimTitt wrote:
tomcecil wrote:
I also think you can tell an experienced climber because they carry Hexes.

Shit, Im a noob!
6 beers in (<=me, right now)..."damned right you punter, you don't know 'nothin 'bout passive pro!" Tongue

Hey. I placed a hex in 1998! Nowadays Id just bolt it.


sbaclimber


Nov 19, 2014, 1:19 AM
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Re: [JimTitt] Should someone learn hexes before cams? [In reply to]
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JimTitt wrote:
sbaclimber wrote:
JimTitt wrote:
tomcecil wrote:
I also think you can tell an experienced climber because they carry Hexes.

Shit, Im a noob!
6 beers in (<=me, right now)..."damned right you punter, you don't know 'nothin 'bout passive pro!" Tongue

Hey. I placed a hex in 1998! Nowadays Id just bolt it.
Bolts count as passive pro...right!?


(This post was edited by sbaclimber on Nov 19, 2014, 7:17 AM)


ki6ojv


Nov 19, 2014, 5:57 AM
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Re: [sbaclimber] Should someone learn hexes before cams? [In reply to]
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I always try to use a nut or a hex 1st. I learned to climb with cams but after climbing for a while I took a step back and now only use I cam when nothing else will work. The cams are so forgiving and can be placed in a wide range of spots. I think it takes more skill to use a nut or hex in place of a cam. I almost feel like cams are cheating when I throw it in.

that being said I still bring them with me and I still use them. But learn the rock and use the right tool for the job.there is no right or wrong answer here.


mojomonkey


Nov 19, 2014, 7:40 AM
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Re: [ki6ojv] Should someone learn hexes before cams? [In reply to]
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This video should clear everything up.

This guy has many wonderful informational videos.


Partner camhead


Nov 19, 2014, 7:54 AM
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Re: [ki6ojv] Should someone learn hexes before cams? [In reply to]
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ki6ojv wrote:
I always try to use a nut or a hex 1st. I learned to climb with cams but after climbing for a while I took a step back and now only use I cam when nothing else will work. The cams are so forgiving and can be placed in a wide range of spots. I think it takes more skill to use a nut or hex in place of a cam. I almost feel like cams are cheating when I throw it in.

that being said I still bring them with me and I still use them. But learn the rock and use the right tool for the job.there is no right or wrong answer here.

So, it's cool to use passive pro as your own style, but climbers also need to be aware that first pieces off the ground should always be multi-directional to prevent zippering. Cams by default are almost always multi-directional; stoppers and hexes almost never. And to spend five minutes jiggling in a pair of opposed stoppers when you could have just sunk a cam in ten seconds is not cool style, it's just plain silly.


sungam


Nov 19, 2014, 10:53 AM
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Re: [JimTitt] Should someone learn hexes before cams? [In reply to]
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JimTitt wrote:
A climber should be competent at using all the protection options available, then fling their hexes into box to gather dust along with that fig.8 warthog and bulldog until the first hoarfrost hits.
fixt 4 u m8m8m8m8


Partner cracklover


Nov 19, 2014, 11:59 AM
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Re: [tomcecil] Should someone learn hexes before cams? [In reply to]
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tomcecil wrote:
I agree with everything Cracklover said

So far so good!

In reply to:
---I also think you can tell an experienced climber because they carry Hexes.

Oops, you lost me there. I know many experienced and excellent climbers who don't carry hexes.

GO


tomcecil


Nov 19, 2014, 12:27 PM
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Re: [cracklover] Should someone learn hexes before cams? [In reply to]
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I think hexes are a great value, especially for new leaders trying to build a rack.

Ideally someone leading trad climbs would know how all the different types of protection work-- from nuts to cams , why limit yourself when your life or limb are on the line?

Camhead-
There are certainly times a cam is a better choice.
The point is the value in being able to make a choice..


Partner cracklover


Nov 19, 2014, 12:37 PM
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Re: [tomcecil] Should someone learn hexes before cams? [In reply to]
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I know I'm veering a little off topic here, but a few things said by others in this thread remind me of something.

tomcecil wrote:
Hexes are... more secure than cams. I can tell you in the last 30 years of guiding here at Seneca and 40+ rescues we've helped with many were from cams pulling always

ki6ojv wrote:
The cams are so forgiving and can be placed in a wide range of spots. I think it takes more skill to use a nut or hex in place of a cam. I almost feel like cams are cheating when I throw it in.

I don't know if anyone else sees the massive difference in opinion here? It's not just over which is "better", but about whether this whole notion of cams being "easier to place" is correct.

Personally, I think many climbers treat cams with way too little care. They act like as long as it's in there, it's fine. IMO, that's a huge mistake. Especially with smaller cams, and with nubbly placements or placements that flare in any direction. Unless the placement is perfectly textbook, and the rock is obviously bomber, I always take a second look at every placement, and try to get it in the best possible spot. I've seen many people who treat cams like many people treat gri-gris - as if they're idiot proof, and do all the work for you.

Back when it first came out about Alien heads popping off, I rigged up a testing scenario, and tested all my Aliens and those of a number of friends. All of ours wound up being ok, but I learned something else during those tests: The difference between a pretty good placement and a really good placement often is the difference between a piece that holds a moderate fall, and one that pulls out. In some of the cases, I didn't even realize the placement was imperfect until after it pulled. Sometimes, when I was first testing, it took two or three pulls before I'd get one to stick. It was a wonderful learning experience, and I placed much better gear afterward - because I knew so much more, and had a better eye. In my later testing, I didn't have this issue, because pretty much all my gear held.

ki6ojv - don't take the above personally. I have no idea - you may be perfectly safe. But a lot of folks out there aren't.

The moral of the story, for me, is that I think that a number of people out there think cams are really easy to place either because they just don't know any better, or because they do but don't think it matters whether they place an okay piece or a great one.

GO


tomcecil


Nov 19, 2014, 12:50 PM
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Re: [cracklover] Should someone learn hexes before cams? [In reply to]
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Here I go again but I agree with everything Cracklover said...

In my earlier post I should of said a sure sign of an inexperienced trad leader is a rack with nothing but cams..
(Ok, before the nitpickers jump on me there are exceptions Indian Creek, maybe Yosemite etc..)
I can't tell you how many climbers I've met--even here at Seneca who carry nothing but cams--we just had a team of "sponsored" climbers taking pics of themselves falling on Seneca 5.11's who actually told people "the new cams" do exactly the same thing as nuts and tri-cams and "so there is no reason to carry anything but cams"--these folks are not only wrong but dangerous..


petsfed


Nov 21, 2014, 10:55 PM
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Re: [trisgo] Should someone learn hexes before cams? [In reply to]
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I don't think there's anything you'll learn from hexes that you won't learn from nuts.
Thus, if you don't climb at an area that needs really big chocks, then seeking out hexes before cams will cost you effectively two extra cams before you have a complete rack. Why not just pick up spares in the sizes you need and skip the hexes if you don't need them?

For the record, I thought that hexes were and are very useful on the larger cracks of Devils Tower and Eldorado Springs Canyon, and quite handy on the easier stuff at Vedauwoo and Joshua Tree, but basically useless at my local crag (which is so tiny and unremarkable as to not bear mention).


ki6ojv


Nov 24, 2014, 6:01 AM
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Re: [petsfed] Should someone learn hexes before cams? [In reply to]
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Thanks cracklover, I do use my cams and even yesterday it was the only choice for protecting my move so I used one in a horizontal. I know my placements and was taut to place it like you are falling on it and never try and use it. :) I do place them all the time, there is a right tool for every occasion.

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