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alpinerock


Jun 30, 2003, 10:56 AM
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cam less rack
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Hey, i was talking to one of my friends ond i told him that i was going to start doing trad climbing, but the thing is I'm a little short on cash(only being 14) so he told me about some of his friends that don't have cams in their rack just nuts chocks and hex's(and some tricams) and was wondering what the pros/cons would be of such a rack


minnesotatrad


Jun 30, 2003, 11:04 AM
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When you are just starting out you don't really need any cams. You should get good at placing passive pro first. I have lead lots of short routes on only nuts and hexs. Cams do come in handy when your leading harder routes, but at first its ok to just have some nuts and hexs.


bandycoot


Jun 30, 2003, 11:10 AM
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Cams are a great first piece on a route. If you aren't familiar with this, you need to learn, but if a belayer is standing in a non ideal place (like away from the wall), and the leader falls or pulls the rope tight, it actually puts an UPWARD force on the pieces and can lift passive gear right out from the bottom up (if it isn't placed well)! This can be prevented a number of ways, but this is one of the reasons that I love cams: they are multidirectional if in a good placement! I'm sure that tricams have the same potential and I've heard that they are excellent pieces but I've never used them personally. Leading on a camless rack isn't bad, just different and you need to know what to look for. I've seen a lot of new climbers do placements that just lift out because they don't expect the upward force. The placement looks great (and is for a purely downward force) but when the rope goes taut from a fall or pulling the rope up the piece comes right out and heads for the belayer at high speeds... You really have to see it to understand how it happens...


sspssp


Jun 30, 2003, 11:12 AM
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Learning to place passive pro isn't such a bad idea. Tri-cams are actually very versatile. The biggest problem with tri-cams is that they take some fiddling, especially if you are new to placing them. However, if you are starting out trad leading, you are probably in the ~5.8 and under range. For most climbs in this grade, you can place a lot of your gear from very relaxed stances (climbs in this range tend to be blocky and have good ledges/stances for feet) which makes it easier to get tri-cams in.

Gear is actually very arbritrary. You can safely climb in just tennis shoes (no rack, no rope). It just means that what is a "safe" route for your experience and gear is going to be lower (like fourth class, for instance). So if you have a limited rack, you might have to be a little more choosy in what you get on.


Partner rrrADAM


Jun 30, 2003, 11:17 AM
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While I have about 30 cams, I still rarely use them. 95% of my placements are stoppers, I own well over 60. I even bought hexes recently, as I preffer passive over active pro.

Pros:
-Develope keen eye at placing pro quicker.
-Save $$$
-Not subject to machanical failure (rare though)
-Save weight
-Bomber
-Will not walk

Cons:
-Restricted to shape and size of weekness in rock
-May zipper from bottom up if belayer in not directly under piece during a fall. (first piece should be multidirectional)


reborne


Jun 30, 2003, 11:38 AM
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if you know anyone that works in a shop and can get the pro deal from black diamond that they are offering right now you can get like 4 cams for like a 100 bucks


knuckles


Jun 30, 2003, 11:59 AM
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I have to say that learning to lead without cams has some plusses...
-passive pro takes longer to place, sure, but this will keep you easier routes for a while... which is a good thing.
-passive pro tends to be lighter, which means you can carry more, which means you can sew up your line and get lots of practice setting protectition.
-passive pro, while perhaps harder to set, is easier to inspect... bad placements are more evident with simple pro.
-nothing beats a good stopper placement. I'd rather huck onto a good #9 or 11 than some suspect bolt any day.
Generally speaking, I think that the skills you develop placing stoppers and hexes will make you better with active cams... but not the other way around. Cams are great, don't get me wrong, but too many people get out on the sharp end with them without really learning how to place them. Whatever you decide, spend some time on the ground practicing before you ever tie in. Do some practice leads on toprope with someone more experienced checking your stuff. Don't be ashamed to be back at the bottom of the difficulty ratings because you are starting over, playing an entirely different game.

....and tricams, I love 'em.... but for some reason they always look weird. Get dialed with the hexes first.


davidji


Jun 30, 2003, 12:10 PM
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In reply to:
Hey, i was talking to one of my friends ond i told him that i was going to start doing trad climbing, but the thing is I'm a little short on cash(only being 14) so he told me about some of his friends that don't have cams in their rack just nuts chocks and hex's(and some tricams) and was wondering what the pros/cons would be of such a rack
Whether or not you need cams depends less on the difficulty of the climbing, and more on the type of pro it takes. If you know a climb can be protected with passive gear, then great--you don't need cams. Certainly people often take only passive pro for alpine routes or routes with long approaches, in order to save weight. In cases like that it's often understood that they're planning to run it out a bit.

Note the comment on the hexes being "nearly useless" in this trip report from Brutus, for a long, classic 5.7 route.

Passive pro is great and all that. Few things are more solid than a nut in a keyhole slot. But there are reasons most of us carry cams.


pico23


Jun 30, 2003, 12:17 PM
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14? I wish I had gotten started in climbing and leading that young. Thats awesome. Looking at you screen name "alpine rock" I assume you have alpine aspirations. If that is the case less cams can be a good thing. I don't really believe you need to learn to place passive pro first but thats the way I learned and for a while I only trusted nuts for a fall (and those are still the only pieces I have fallen on). I think learning to place the best piece for a given option is the best way to learn. However, I think people recommend learning passive first because it can get easy to fall into a pattern of placing an SLCD in every situation and never learning good passive pro placement. SLCD's aren't magic though and just because there is a crack (bigger then a #13 nut) doesn't mean they are the best piece. They also don't magically place themselves in perfect position and it's often hard to evaluate the lobes of the smaller cams (stuff in the blue TCU, green alien range). Sometimes you need to fiddle with SLCD's, cam and recam, flip them over for a better fit, and you have to factor in walking. Unless, I'm placing in a perfectly even/paralel crack I usually have to mess with a SLCD almost as much as a tri-cam (but I really like tricams so I guess I am more proficient at placing them). I see a lot of people placing SLCD's in flares and pockets where the cam just looks terrible and is begging for a tricam conversely I have a partner that likes to place tricams in a perfectly parralel cracks and save the SLCD's for belays (weird!!!) but he learned to lead on tri-cams and nuts only so he feels comfortable with tricams in most situations.

So you can definitely lead without SLCD's and in the end you will probably be a better leader and have a better eye for placements learning to lead on a completely passive rack and you'll also be better set up for alpine routes where you can really save some weight if you take tricams over SLCD's. The best part is with some careful shopping a passive rack with a full set of tricams (.5-7 $255) and hexes (1-11 BD $125) and 2 sets of nuts ($100) will probably only set you back about as much as a full set of BD Camalots.


rockprodigy


Jun 30, 2003, 12:18 PM
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I too was once a teenager eager to get into trad, but with limited fundage. I recommend saving all your paper route money, and buying a little bit of gear at a time. Start with stoppers...you could get some hexes too, but I think they're a waste of money.

Don't skimp either. Eventually, you might get good and you'll have an entire rack of crappy trango cams you spent hundreds of $$ on that you have to replace with camalots. Just start getting camalots from the get-go. It will take you longer to build a whole rack, but in the end you'll be glad you did.

Oh and to pre-empt...everyone who says camalots are too expensive are the suckers that wasted all their paper route money on forged friends and are pissed they have to keep saving money so they can get the camalots.


rockprodigy


Jun 30, 2003, 12:24 PM
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Wait a second, I made some assumptions here without asking you first:

Do you want to be a good trad climber, or are you just interested in climbng 5.7/5.8?


pico23


Jun 30, 2003, 12:30 PM
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In reply to:


Oh and to pre-empt...everyone who says camalots are too expensive are the suckers that wasted all their paper route money on forged friends and are pissed they have to keep saving money so they can get the camalots.

Thats funny. Seriously, camalots are great in the .75-3 size range above or below that I'd rather have Friends or Aliens or save the the cash and go with Trango flex cams and take an extra road trip. Take a look at the range of the bigger Camalots vs. bigger friends, there isn't much difference aside from the fact the Camalots are less stable and weight a lot more. On the smaller end they are terribly wide for there size and still walk more then aliens.

EDITED to note: Camalots also have the cheapest wires of any cam and need frequent replacement at $8 a pop.


tradklime


Jun 30, 2003, 1:41 PM
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In reply to:
Oh and to pre-empt...everyone who says camalots are too expensive are the suckers that wasted all their paper route money on forged friends and are pissed they have to keep saving money so they can get the camalots.

Or they had a full set and sold them because they are too heavy and bulky.

Consider looking for deals, such as acmeclimbing.com. You won't end up spending that much more money and will be happier in the end to have some cams.


rockprodigy


Jun 30, 2003, 1:58 PM
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Thats funny. Seriously, camalots are great in the .75-3 size range above or below that I'd rather have Friends or Aliens or save the the cash and go with Trango flex cams and take an extra road trip.

In reply to:
Or they had a full set and sold them because they are too heavy and bulky

Yeah, you guys maybe right...I'm still waiting for a response to this:

In reply to:
Wait a second, I made some assumptions here without asking you first:

Do you want to be a good trad climber, or are you just interested in climbng 5.7/5.8?

If the answer is the latter, listen to those guys, since I only know about being good.


alpnclmbr1


Jun 30, 2003, 2:01 PM
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First off save your money for a while and just go climbing with someone with a good rack. Play with their gear and see what appeals to you.

Also understand that alpine routes are "very" unforgiving of mistakes. Falling on lead (and often following to) in the mountains is almost always a bad idea.

If you have a regular climbing partner with a rack, then your going to want to supplement his rack so that between the two of you your set with an ideal rack.
Buy cosmetic seconds.

Learning with stoppers first is a good idea.
I hate hexes, (my first rack was roped stoppers and hexes so I may be biased)
Tri cams are a little better then hexes
Donít think much of complete sets of anything.
Agree with pico on .75 to 3 for camalots, aliens below, 1 #4 tech friends for above.
The large majority of the time I donít carry anything above a #2 camalot.

My suggested beginners rack(building towards an ideal rack with no waste)
20 caribiners
10 shoulder slings
A set and a half of stoppers, knock off the largest one and the smallest two.
Yellow and red aliens
.75, 1, 2 camalots


bandycoot


Jun 30, 2003, 2:39 PM
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i think that one of the best deals on nuts is found at www.rei.com Click "climbing" and "rock protection" and look at the smiles. They are the exact same size as the BD nuts except they are colored which is mildly convenient at times. Do not get the 1-4 since they are for body weight only and so small that you really shouldn't be placing them on trad lead. This should cost you less than $40/set.

Josh

edit:

Here's the link:

http://www.rei.com/online/store/CategoryDisplay?catalogId=40000008001&langId=-1&storeId=8001&categoryId=22000167

The 5-13 cost 39.37 without tax and shipping. If you're getting a full set of tricams, don't get two sets of nuts. If you aren't then just invest the money now.

If you climb with only passive pro, long slings are your friend!


ptone


Jun 30, 2003, 3:02 PM
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Wait a second, I made some assumptions here without asking you first:

Do you want to be a good trad climber, or are you just interested in climbng 5.7/5.8?

For a second I forgot that for some, 'good' means how good your toys are, not how good you are with your toys...!

For me, my partner/mentor got me started with only passive gear, cause it forced me to pay more attention to the placement, the fit, the rock on hand etc, and as things got stiffer, learning to look at a crack et al and have a fair guess at the size I'm going to need to save energy!

I've led some 5.10 with just nuts and hexes, most of our climbs here have a bolt or two on face linkups, but that usually doesn't really make anything safer but that move or two.

I may get burned for this, but IMO buying a whack of cams, even the best ones isn't gonna make you a better climber. Getting to know yourself and the rock, and then pushing the envelope is.

peace,
-p


alpinerock


Jun 30, 2003, 7:32 PM
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Do you want to be a good trad climber, or are you just interested in climbng 5.7/5.8?

Lol, more than anything I want to take up trad to have fun and to me having fun includes improving.

Thanks guys for all the input(especially bandycoot)I think that right now I will stick with passive pro, and as it becomes nessacary I will buy cams fortualy I have a couple of friends who could at least get me a discount


pico23


Jun 30, 2003, 7:50 PM
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In reply to:
In reply to:
Thats funny. Seriously, camalots are great in the .75-3 size range above or below that I'd rather have Friends or Aliens or save the the cash and go with Trango flex cams and take an extra road trip.

In reply to:
Or they had a full set and sold them because they are too heavy and bulky

Yeah, you guys maybe right...I'm still waiting for a response to this:

In reply to:
Wait a second, I made some assumptions here without asking you first:

Do you want to be a good trad climber, or are you just interested in climbng 5.7/5.8?

If the answer is the latter, listen to those guys, since I only know about being good.


Good is a meaningless term. Who are you competing against? Are you getting paid for "being good"? You do realize the routes you consider test pieces today might only be considered moderates in 50 years? Most of us climb for fun (blanket statement that you can choose to pick apart as you wish). This guy is 14 so maybe he has a chance at being sponsored and paid to climb but chances are he won't be one of the top 100 climbers in the world that make a living off climbing. It's nice to spray about your #'s but who really cares?? I don't. Anyway, alpinerock has to start somewhere and starting at the bottom and working your up isn't a bad thing. He shouldn't be jumping on routes he can't handle. Remember the first rule of Pruess "One should not only be equal to any climb that one undertakes, but be more than equal to it." Thats definitely good advice for a beginning leader.


pico23


Jun 30, 2003, 8:06 PM
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Just as a word of advice. The smileys are good so keep this a secret because I haven't had time to by a second set yet and I got my set my set last year to replace my standard BD's. The colors are nice to have I oftnen look at a crack and say "thats a red #6" or a blue #7. And as a side note ABC (same sizes) use the same colors. I only noticed that while using my partners ABC's.

The only thing I don't like about the ABC's is they have a longer stem then smileys. This appears good at first but I lost a #11 the other day because the wire is so long it didn't provide any stiffness as I tried to work it out of a crack it fell deeper into. It was probably removable but I couldn't work in the corner so I gave up. I don't think this would have been a problem with the BD's or Smileys shorter cables.


rockprodigy


Jul 1, 2003, 8:06 AM
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...buying a whack of cams, even the best ones isn't gonna make you a better climber....
peace,
-p

I never said it would. However, on harder stuff you can't use both hands to place gear which eliminates tri-cams, trango flexcams (too torsionally flimsy), and most of the bigger hexes.

In reply to:
Lol, more than anything I want to take up trad to have fun and to me having fun includes improving.

Right on, man. Have fun out there...take the advice of these other guys, they probably know where to get the good deals.

In reply to:
Good is a meaningless term. Who are you competing against? Are you getting paid for "being good"?

You confirmed my suspicions. I'm competing against myself and the rock. I don't get paid, I don't want to get paid, but I get a great deal of satisfaction from pulling of a hard lead. I also get the respect and admiration of my peers, which is also very satisfying.

In reply to:
You do realize the routes you consider test pieces today might only be considered moderates in 50 years?

How true. To me, right now, it is still a great challenge, and isn't that the whole point of sport? To challenge ourselves beyond the ho-hum of everyday life?

In reply to:
chances are he won't be one of the top 100 climbers in the world that make a living off climbing

Who said anything about that? If he got sponsored, he wouldn't need to worry about buying cams! He'd get them for free. I'm just talking about pushing yourself on difficult rock versus going out to have fun on moderate stuff.

In reply to:
nice to spray about your #'s but who really cares??

Who's spraying numbers?

In reply to:
Remember the first rule of Pruess "One should not only be equal to any climb that one undertakes, but be more than equal to it." Thats definitely good advice for a beginning leader.

I don't know who "Pruess" is, but obviously he wasn't very good. Good advice for a beginner for his first 5 or so leads. However, that is a guaranteed way to ensure you never progress, for if you can't ever lead anything harder than what you've done before, you can only go down. That must have been penned in the days of hemp ropes and soft iron pitons. Sounds like a good way to keep someone down...to ensure that you are always the mentor, and he the student.

"Don't try that route, young grasshoper...it's much too difficult for you! You don't want to get hurt do you?"

Alpinerock:

Go have fun. Learn to place gear, and if you decide you like it, and want to get better, go try stuff that's over your head, take falls. Make your earn its keep.


tradklime


Jul 1, 2003, 8:38 AM
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[quote="rockprodigy"]
In reply to:
Yeah, you guys maybe right...I'm still waiting for a response to this:

In reply to:
Wait a second, I made some assumptions here without asking you first:

Do you want to be a good trad climber, or are you just interested in climbng 5.7/5.8?

If the answer is the latter, listen to those guys, since I only know about being good.

What a joke :roll: . Ya, you're right if you want to be good you have to climb with camalots.

Rockprodigy, I'm sure you are every bit as good as you pretend to be. Most people who front such an attitude usually are.


rockprodigy


Jul 1, 2003, 9:42 AM
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What a joke.

Yes, it is a joke. You people are un-freaking-believable. Why don't you chill-out for five seconds, stop being so serious, and LAUGH every once-in-awhile.

Just because there are retards on this site who say $hit like that and mean it, doesn't mean that everybody does.

You must be the people that think Eminem really wants to rape his mother!

C'mon, my screen name is "rockprodigy" for crying out loud! You think I'm serious??


petsfed


Jul 1, 2003, 10:29 AM
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Do not get the 1-4 since they are for body weight only and so small that you really shouldn't be placing them on trad lead.

Just because you wouldn't want to fall on one does not make it useless. As a directional, the little nuts are great. They serve no purpose other than to keep a piece from flying out to due to rope drag (I like to place them in the direction the route turns whilst the load bearing piece points in the likely direction of pull). You don't need two sets of the little nuts, and certainly not a dedicated micronut set, but having a few little stoppers is always very useful. Think rope guide and it will work out.


bandycoot


Jul 1, 2003, 10:50 AM
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Interesting point petsfed. I haven't really thought about this due to the fact I often use cams and they hold the rope in line even from an outward or upward pull (when placed well of course).

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